Gaston College recognizes staffers for 25 years of service

Three Gaston College employees were recognized for 25 years of service at the College’s annual Employee Appreciation and Recognition Celebration in February. Each of them received a certificate and a $150 gift card. Those recognized were Donna English, Gail Hoyle, and Ed Stroup.

Donna English is the Chair of the Industrial Systems Technology program. Prior to joining Gaston College, she worked 13 years in industry and taught part-time as an adjunct instructor at Isothermal Community College for approximately six years. She then attended Western Carolina University to continue her education, earning her Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s in Technology. She also received her Ed.S. in Higher Education from Appalachian State University. In her program of study at Western Carolina, she met some instructors from Gaston College who told her about an opening for an instructor. She applied and was hired.

Her first position at Gaston College was as an instructor for Mechanical Drafting and Design Technology. After about six years she moved to the position of instructor for Industrial Maintenance.

At the College, English has served on the faculty senate, multiple hiring committees, and the curriculum committee. She served as the Industrial Division’s student success coach from 2014 to 2015 and attends yearly career fairs at local middle schools to promote the trade and industrial programs at Gaston College. Those activities contributed to her being named the 2006 Instructor of the Year for the Engineering and Industrial division, one of her proudest accomplishments.

She also takes pride in being active with the College’s Apprenticeship 321 program and, through that activity, “seeing students succeed and knowing [she] was a part of that success.”

English has seen Gaston College evolve in her 25 years there. “I have seen many changes in technology in the classroom setting,” she said. “On-line and hybrid classes are a big part of my program now. I have seen many accomplishments, new programs, expanding the Gaston campus, and apprenticeship programs.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way she teaches her courses, English said. “I have changed my class format using more of an on-line approach. We have started classes this summer and are meeting in class for labs. It just seems to be a new standard for masks and social distancing when you are in close setting for labs.”

For 25 years, English has been a tremendous supporter of her students and her colleagues. “The best part of being a teacher is the interaction with the students,” she said. “So often, they do not see their talent or do not know how to direct it. It takes just a few suggestions to see your students bloom into professionals. I really enjoy the mentorship aspect of teaching. It is very rewarding at the college level. I also enjoy working with the great people here at the College. I love my job because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the mission of Gaston College.”

Gail Hoyle was a stay-at-home mother and wanted to start back to work part-time. At the suggestion of her husband Reggie, who worked at Gaston College as a part-time GED instructor, she joined Gaston College as a part-time secretary for the GED and Adult High School coordinators on the College’s Lincoln campus. She became a full-time employee in 1994. In 1996, she joined the Continuing Education department under the supervision of Dr. John Merritt, then the Director of Continuing Education.

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From 2002 to 2004, Hoyle represented Gaston College as a member of the planning committee for the biannual North Carolina Community Colleges Adult Educators Association and helped plan workshops for spring and fall conferences. She joined the Economic Workforce Development division on the Dallas campus in 2011.

Like so many others, Hoyle is working more hours from home than she did before the COVID-19 pandemic. “It takes me longer to gather paperwork when out of the office and to get it where it needs to go,” she said.

Hoyle considers Gaston College to be one of the best places she has worked. “The people I work with are like extended family,” she said. “Everyone is so kind. It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here 25 years, and I plan to be here for at least 30 years before I retire.”

As a Grounds Technician, Ed Stroup performs all the necessary tasks to maintain the grounds at the College’s main campus and satellite locations. This includes maintenance of lawns, plants, trees, parking lots, roadways, and other areas of the campuses. He has been in the Grounds Department since he joined Gaston College in 1994.

Well known for his consistency and commitment, Stroup is one of the many staffers who “wakes up the campus” every morning, regardless of weather or other conditions such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stroup has seen many changes on the College’s three campuses in 25 years, such as new construction, expansions, and upgrades. Through it all, he has gone about his job not looking for recognition or attention and preferring to be a “get ‘er done” type of person.

His quarter-century of hard work and dedication have made him a valuable, important, significant and appreciated staff member and his service has great meaning to the staff, faculty and students at Gaston College.





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