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Alumni Council

Drury University > Alumni & Giving > Alumni Council

Drury Alumni Council serves as the leadership board and governing body of the Alumni Association, with members from a range of class years, including a member from the Drury faculty and a member from the administrative staff. The Council meets collectively six times per year to serve as the voice of all alumni, coordinate alumni communication efforts, plan activities and support alumni engagement and connection programs.

Alumni Council members also play an important role as representatives of Drury in their communities, as well as offering financial support to the Annual Drury Experience Fund, department programs and special projects to support the growth and success of the University.

Alumni Council Goals:

  1. Participation in local and regional University events
  2. Engagement with current students through increased mentorship, internship and community involvement opportunities.
  3. Increase engagement of Drury alumni with campus leadership, to promote opportunities in student recruitment and rollout of the campus master plan.

Interested in serving on Alumni Council?

Alumni Council accepts applications for new members each spring.  Each Alumni Council member serves a three-year term and has distinct responsibilities as part of their position.  If you are interested in becoming a member of the Alumni Council, apply with the online Alumni Council application.

Apply to the Alumni Council

Alumni Council Members

Portrait of Joel Alexander.

Joel Alexander '83, PresidentYear of Election to the Alumni Council: 2016

Joel Alexander earned his communications degree from Drury in 1983. Working not far from Drury, he serves as the Manager of Communications for City Utilities of Springfield. Currently he serves on local boards of the American Red Cross, Ozark Trails Council – Boy Scouts of America, Good Dads, Springfield Police Foundation, and assists with other community organizations. His wife, Lisa, is President of the CoxHealth Foundation.

Portrait of Jay Titus.

Jay Titus ’93, Vice President

Jay Titus has banking in his blood. He’s worked in the industry for 26 years and, perhaps surprisingly, at only three banking institutions during that time. Titus is currently Missouri division president for BancorpSouth Bank, where he’s served for 12 years – the longest stint of his career. He spent about seven years each at U.S. Bank and Bank of America. At U.S. Bank, he was a four-year recipient of the Pinnacle Award recognizing the top 10% of producers bankwide. Managing BancorpSouth’s operations in Springfield and St. Louis the past five years, Titus is responsible for commercial lending, credit administration, retail branch administration, private banking and strategic planning. He also leads the bank’s wealth management, mortgage and insurance lines of business. What most people might not know, the Drury University graduate came up through a Sam Walton scholarship and worked for Walmart and Sam’s Club stores for the first seven years of his career.

Portrait of Caron Parnell.

Caron Parnell ’99Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2019

Caron Parnell graduated from Drury University in 1999 with a degree in French and History. She moved to France after graduation where she taught English. Upon her return to the U.S., she went back to school for her Master’s in the Art of Teaching, which she obtained from Webster University in St. Louis. She has been a French teacher since 2006. She has taught at all levels (elementary, middle & high school).

Caron is a native of St. Louis and a lover of baseball and toasted ravioli. She is married to fellow Drury Alum Patrick Parnell and they have 2 daughters, ages 5 & 7. Caron serves as the Board president for her neighborhood association as well as Discovery Garden Montessori School. She also serves as Vice President of the Ozarks Foreign Language Association. In her free time, Parnell enjoys spending time with her family in the outdoors.

Portrait of Walter Haskins.

Walter Haskins ’77Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2018

Walter received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from Drury in 1977 and then attended the University of Kansas Law School receiving a J.D. degree in 1980. He began practice in 1980 in the field of civil litigation with the same firm with which he is now, Atkinson, Haskins, Nellis, Brittingham, Gladd & Fiasco, P.C. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and all federal courts in the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas. He and his wife, Nan Lea, have been married for 31 years and have three children. He has been active in Boy Scouts of America and numerous conservation organizations, being designated as Conservationist Landowner of the Year in 2018 by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He serves in a pro bono capacity as a Civil Service Commissioner for the City of Tulsa. He and his family live in Tulsa.

Portrait of Jane Sellars.

Jane Sellars ’70Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2018

Jane Sellars considers attending Drury to have been one of the most proactive and positive decisions she made in her life. “Moving into McCullough Cottage, meeting new friends, pledging Alpha Phi and starting classes just a week later was a pivotal point in my life,” she says. After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education, she continued to be active as a chapter rush advisor. She ended her 37-year teaching career at Central High School, just across the street from Drury. Over the years, she has been active in civic and professional groups including Springfield Alpha Phi Alumni, P.E.O. International, Relay for Life, the Executive Committee of LAD of Southwest Missouri, the Alzheimer’s Association, ALS of Southwest Missouri, Southwest Missouri Museum Associates, and Drury Women’s Auxiliary. Jane is thrilled to be a part of Drury’s future and looks forward to her time on the Alumni Council.

She and her husband John are grandparents to seven grandchildren and enjoy the interaction they have with them and their adult children.

Portrait of John Mark Stillwell.

John Mark Stillwell ’67Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2018

Mark Stillwell, a native of Springfield, is a graduate of Central High School, Drury University and the U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. After graduating from Drury in 1967, he served on Navy active duty for three years with assignments in the Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton and in Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan. He returned to Springfield in 1970 as Sports Information Director and Publications Editor at Drury, and did radio play-by-play of Drury basketball for a year before moving to become SID at Missouri State in 1972. Stillwell spent 37 years with the Bears, receiving more than 60 publications and writing awards. He is the recipient of a CoSIDA 25-Year Award and a CoSIDA Lifetime Achievement Award and has been inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference, Missouri State Athletics, Springfield Area Sports and Missouri Sports Halls of Fame. His sports information career has been paralleled with more than 28 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve, with his retirement from the Navy in 1991 with the rank of Captain.

Portrait of Joel Thomas.

Joel Thomas ’06Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2019

Joel received his BA in Architecture from Drury University in 2006. His entire architectural career has been rooted right here in Springfield MO. Licensed in Missouri, Joel has found his place as a Studio Leader at the Lamar Johnson Collaborative, working on projects here in Springfield as well as across the country. He served on the board of the Harmony House, was a member of the Landmarks Board, is a founding member of the Springfield Identity Project and currently has a seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. His wife Amanda is a Senior Manager at BKD and they have one daughter, Bradley.

Scott Moore ’00 BS ’17 PSSL ‘22Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2021

With nearly 30 years in public safety, Scott Moore has dedicated his life to serving his community. Scott is the Fire Chief of the Battlefield Fire Protection District in Southwest Missouri. Scott is also a Reserve Corporal with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office in Ozark, Missouri, and CFO of the Southwest Missouri Incident Management Team. Having a diverse background, and a need for a quality education, Scott found several opportunities with Drury University. Scott graduated from the Drury Law Enforcement Academy in 2000, Columbia College with an Associate’s in Fire Service Administration in 2011, Drury University with a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management in 2017. Currently, Scott is attending Drury University working to complete his Master’s in Public Service and Safety Leadership with an expected graduation date of 2022.

Scott is the Chair of the Springfield/Greene County 911 Advisory Board, Director At-Large for the Fire and Life Safety Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and volunteers for numerous conferences, committees, and associations centered around public safety across the country. His wife Gretchen has a background in early childhood education and bookkeeping. Scott and Gretchen have two children, Sarah and Isaac.

Juan Franco ‘14Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2021

Juan Franco earned his bachelors of arts in international political studies and multimedia production & journalism from Drury in 2014. After graduation he worked for digital journalism outlets for several years, including roles with the Springfield News-Leader, the Washington Post and news organizations in Europe. Since then, Juan has transitioned to working in higher education – a field he has been in for the past 5 years. Currently he serves as the Associate Director of Residential Life & Explorations at Rollins College in Winter Park Florida. Outside of work, Juan is passionate about traveling, Formula 1, emerging technology, social justice and civic engagement.

Portrait of Natalie Precise.

Dr. Natalie PreciseFaculty Representative

Dr. Natalie Precise is an Associate Professor of Education in Drury University’s School of Education and Child Development. Her classes focus on literacy instruction including language development, reading and writing instruction, and literacy integration. She teaches many undergraduate and graduate courses including Methods of Teaching Language Arts and Content Area Literacy. She also teaches Professional Preparation in Teacher Education and the Student Teaching Support Seminar.  

Dr. Precise comes to Drury University after serving eight years in the public-school system where she taught fifth grade for seven years and math intervention for one year. Dr. Precise’s certifications include Elementary Education grades 1-6 and an Elementary Principal certification.  

Dr. Precise’s research includes a thesis focused on job sharing in the regular education classroom and a dissertation entitled, “Leadership Implications for Teaching Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the General Education Classroom.” She was also a finalist for the 2012 Dan Cockrell Dissertation of the Year Award. She maintains a literacy-focused blog and has published several articles from her dissertation research.  

Dr. Precise was recently named the Dean of the School of Education and Child Development in 2021. She was also a 40 Under 40 honoree for Springfield Business Journal in early 2021.

Jamie KidderDirector of Alumni Relations

Jamie Kidder is a transplant to Springfield, having relocated from Tulsa, OK in 2018 to be closer to family. Jamie attended the University of Massachusetts Boston where she received her Bachelor of Arts in History and the University of Southern New Hampshire, receiving her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership. Jamie is a higher education professional with a passion for students, the student experience, staff teams, and institutional success with a rich professional history spanning the student lifecycle and beyond.  Her career in higher education began in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at UMass Boston and has since included executive leadership roles in the areas of admissions, student affairs and retention, and non-profit market development.  She is an excellent communicator with the ability to connect with audiences quickly, building and maintaining lasting relationships. When she is not in her office, she can be found spending time with her nieces and nephews, serving her community through her church, and in her backyard gardens. 

Mitchell Greer '21Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2022

Mitchell Greer earned his bachelor of arts in accounting from Drury in 2021.  Since graduation, he has been working at Elliott, Robinson and Company, LLP as a staff accountant.  Mitchell is excited to help his alma mater as much as possible and is looking forward to helping other recent graduates do the same. 

Natasha Peebles '15Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2022

I graduated from Drury in 2015. I married my Drury Sweetheart in 2018, and we had our first daughter, Lula, in 2021. After graduating, I worked for several startups, but have found my niche in Customer Experience and was recently promoted to CXO of Swipesum located in St. Louis. 

Kristen Wannenmacher Bright '03Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2022

Kristen joined BKD, now FORVIS, LLP in 2005 and provides audit and consulting services for real estate developers with historic and low-income housing tax credit properties and audit services for colleges, universities, utilities and governmental and not-for-profit organizations.  She is a member of FORVIS National Not-for-Profit Group, FORVIS National Governmental Group and FORVIS National Higher Education Group and serves as an industry team leader for FORVIS’ Southern Missouri practice unit.  She also is a member of FORVIS National Construction & Real Estate Group.  

Her experience includes Single Audit requirements, including student financial assistance, new Governmental and Financial Accounting Standards Board pronouncement implementations and accounting and reporting issue assistance.  She has been designated as one of FORVIS ‘ top Single Audit reviewers.  She also is knowledgeable in historic and low-income credit consulting and cost-certification services.  She has served as a reviewer for the firm’s interoffice inspection program and on external peer review teams in the real estate, government and not-for-profit areas.

Kristen has served as a firm instructor for new audit in-charge training and the firm’s annual government and not-for-profit accounting and auditing training.  She also has presented at the local chapters and conferences of The Institute of Internal Auditors, Association of Government Accountants and American Public Power Association.

She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and Missouri Society of CPAs. 

Kristen is a former treasurer on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, former treasurer for Junior League of Springfield, Inc. and Treasurer on the board of directors for The Summit Preparatory School.

She is a cum laude graduate of Drury University, Springfield, Missouri, with a B.A. degree in business administration and accounting.

Shawn Usery '04 MA '18Year of Election to the Alumni Council: 2022

SHAWN USERY, MD, MBA, SFHM, is the system Chief Medical Officer and VP of Medical affairs for CoxHealth, a private not-for-profit healthcare system operating 6 hospitals.  Dr. Usery joined the organization in 2008 as a family medicine resident.  While in residency Dr. Usery served as the Chief resident for the family medicine residency.  Dr. Usery joined CoxHealth’s hospitalist group in 2011 where he served as the program’s assistant medical director.  In 2017 he was given the opportunity to serve as Chief Medical Officer for Cox Medical Center Branson.  In 2019 he was promoted to Chief Medical Officer for CoxHealth’s Community Hospital Group which is 3 of the system’s hospitals across southwest Missouri.  In April, 2021, Shawn moved into his current role as System Chief Medical officer and VP of Medical Affairs where he has responsibility for provider and hospital quality as well as medical staff services. 

Dr. Usery completed his undergraduate and MBA degrees at Drury University in Springfield.  He received his medical doctorate at St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.  He completed his internship and residency at CoxHealth Family Medical Residency.

Outside of work Shawn spends his time mentoring undergraduate students at his alma mater, Drury University.  He is an avid hunter and fisherman.  He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Blair, and their three boys.