Any SACAC member may nominate another member for a SACAC award. To nominate a SACAC member for a SACAC award, complete and submit an Award Nomination Form.

Award winners will be named at the general membership meeting during the annual conference. Current members of the SACAC Board or the Governance and Nominating Committee are not eligible to receive awards.

LARRY WEST AWARD (Leadership):

The highest award given by the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling, the Larry West Award is based on longevity of service and dedication to SACAC, outstanding contributions to the admission counseling profession, leadership within that profession, and dedication to the students we serve. Through his work at Guilford College and DePauw University, Larry West was the consummate professional with a lifetime devoted to helping students reach their potential. He served our profession well with his eye on the ethics of college admissions, making certain that others were well versed. Larry served SACAC in many capacities including as chair of the Admission Practices committee, NACAC delegate, President-Elect and President. He was a strong negotiator and mediator who listened to every voice. His sense of humor and his dedication to the profession made him a great choice as a leader within our organization and an example for all in his service to students.

  • 2023 – Janet Schneider, Retired, University School of Nashville, Nashville, TN
  • 2022 – Leonard Satterwhite, Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA
  • 2021 – Lee Ann Backlund, Sewanee: The University of the South, Sewanee, TN
  • 2020 – Ed Graf, Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, LA
  • 2019 – Neil Clark, The Walker School, Marietta, GA
  • 2018 – Tommy Griffin, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
  • 2017 – Robert Barkley, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • 2016 – Craig “Rusty” Allen, Randolph School, Huntsville, AL
  • 2015 – Janice Finney, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • 2014 – Edward Gillis, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
  • 2013 – J. Carey Thompson, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
  • 2012 – John “Buck” Rogers, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
  • 2011 – Nancy Beane, Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA
  • 2010 – Sherry Brouillette, Catholic High School, Baton Rouge, LA
  • 2009 – Richard Powell, Oak Hall School, Gainesville, FL
  • 2008 – Marcia Hunt, Pine Crest School, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • 2007 – Susan McCarter, Girls Preparatory School, TN
  • 2006 – Randy Giarraputo, Casablanca American School, Morocco
  • 2005 – Lee Albright, Athens Academy, Athens, GA & Phyllis Gill, Providence Day School, Charlotte, NC
  • 2004 – Bill Kolb, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • 2003 – Missy Church-Smith, Center for Advanced Technologies, St. Petersburg, FL
  • 2002 – Sam Moss, Darlington School, Rome, GA



Bill Starling taught all who worked with him the true purpose of work. He worked hard for many years at Wake Forest University, where he set an example of integrity and trained himself to see and shape the best in people. He always saw beyond the day-to-day, whether it was encouraging his staff to further their education or showing constant interest in their families (for he himself was a family man). He inspired rather than demanded quality. In two ways especially, he valued his employees: 1) He gently, consistently, and purposefully educated his employees on standards of the profession, and he was loyal to the people he invested of himself, and 2) He corrected those who made errors, but also defended them rigorously to the family or administrator who felt underappreciated or misunderstood.

  • 2023 – Ginny Maddux, Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville, TN
  • 2022 – Ryan Riggs, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL
  • 2021 – Pamela Ambler, Pace Academy, Atlanta, GA
  • 2020 – John Hawkins, Lausanne Collegiate School, Memphis, TN
  • 2019 – Zaire McCoy, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL
  • 2018 – Lien Linero, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 2017 – Mary Alice Katon, Davidson College Advising Corps, Davidson, NC
  • 2016 – Angela Connor, Ravenscroft School, Raleigh, NC
  • 2015 – Shari Salmon, Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, AL
  • 2014 – Phil Hooper, Episcopal Collegiate School, Little Rock, AR
  • 2013 – Lee Ann Afton-Backlund, University of the South, Sewanee, TN
  • 2012 – Neil Clark, Walker School, Marietta, GA
  • 2011 – Dave Wottle, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
  • 2010 – Barry Bradberry, Elon College, Elon, NC
  • 2009 – Victoria Englehart, Lake Highland Prep School, Orlando, FL
  • 2008 – Margaret Gandy, Hillsborough County School District, FL & Kathleen Stevenson, Davidson College, NC
  • 2007 – John Barnhill, Florida State University, FL & Susan Street, The College Access Center, TN
  • 2006 – Nancy Beane, The Westminster School, Atlanta, GA
  • 2005 – Sam Blair, Little Rock School District, Little Rock, AR


GARRETT KLEIN AWARD (Mid-Career Level Service):

Garrett Klein began his professional career in the undergraduate admissions office at Vanderbilt University. During the decade he worked in that office, Garrett impressed all with whom he worked, and he was promoted three times. Garrett demonstrated complete commitment to students and unyielding loyalty to Vanderbilt. He approached all he did with energy, enthusiasm, and wit. He was ambitious in the best sense of the word — always wanting to learn more and to become more effective. Garrett was committed to contributing to the development of others by sharing his experience and knowledge through conference presentations and by serving on the faculty at SACAC’s Dry Run workshop. He was incisive, analytical, and incredibly intelligent. His capacity for long hours and hard work was equaled only by his ability to laugh.

  • 2023 – Kate Massey, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
  • 2022 – Loudine Louise, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL
  • 2021 – Tara Nelan, Muhlenberg College, Allenstown, PA
  • 2020 – Jessica Freed, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
  • 2019 – Christopher Briggs, Duke University, Durham, NC
  • 2018 – TJ Walker, Get2College Center/Woodward Hines Education Foundation, MS
  • 2017 – Serge Desir, University of South Florida St. Petersburg
  • 2016 – Joyce Mai, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
  • 2015 – Ivy Brewer, Darlington School, Rome, GA & Sheena Reed, Sci Academy, New Orleans, LA
  • 2014 – Jeff Schiffman, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
  • 2013 – Jason Hamilton, Arkansas Commitment, Little Rock, AR
  • 2012 – Claudia Goldbach, Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga, TN
  • 2011 – James Onwuachi, Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA
  • 2010 – Brandi Smith, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • 2009 – Vern Granger, North Carolina State University
  • 2008 – Rob Alexander, Tulane University, LA
  • 2007 – Daphne Vagenas, The Bolles School, FL
  • 2006 – Melinda DeMaria, University of Georgia, Athens, GA & Brian K. Smith, The Baylor School, Chattanooga, TN
  • 2005 – Garrett Klein (posthumously), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN



Myron Burney’s passion was preparing and helping young people identify and access higher education. Through his work at North Carolina State University, the University of Georgia, and as Director of Student Success and Outreach at the University of North Carolina and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Retention at Elizabeth City State University, Myron helped many underrepresented students realize their dreams to attend college. He provided support to parents, increasing their understanding of the value of a college education, and he assisted them in identifying multiple opportunities available to help their children reach that goal. A dedicated educator, Myron was inspired to build bridges to higher education for underrepresented young people. Myron’s big smile, willing attitude and sincerity were beloved among his friends and colleagues in SACAC and made him a natural connecter for professionals focused on helping students access educational opportunities. Tragically, Myron lost his life in a traffic accident in July 2014. Commitment, empathy and inclusion were key components of the work he produced within our profession, and this award honors a SACAC member who, like Myron, has made a significant impact in our field promoting inclusion and access.

  • 2023 – Jahleese Hadley, Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, NC
  • 2022 – Abey Dessie, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • 2021 – Leri Argueta, University of North Georgia, Oakwood, GA & Rebeca Figueroa, YES (Young Eisner Scholars) Appalachia, Warrensville, NC
  • 2020 – Erin Almond, KIPP Jacksonville Schools – KIPP Through College Program, Jacksonville, FL
  • 2019 – Sarbeth Fleming, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA
  • 2018 – Tela Thigpen, Sugar Creek Charter School, Charlotte, NC
  • 2017 – Ashley Young, Drew Charter School, Atlanta, GA & Yolanda Keith, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2016 – Stacy Lightfoot, Public Education Foundation, Chattanooga, TN
  • 2015 – Myron Burney (posthumously), Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC



This award is designed to be flexible in the number of recipients chosen in a given year and the kinds of outstanding contributions being recognized. Recipient(s) come either from the high school or college/university side.

  • 2023 – Rachel West, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA
  • 2022 – Rick Funk, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL & Steve Frappier, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA
  • 2021 – Shannon Grimsley, Woodward Hines Education Foundation – Get2College, Jackson, MS
  • 2020 – Djiara “DJ” Meehan, Saint John’s School, San Juan, PR & Bartley Sides, Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville, SC
  • 2019 – Lauren Sefton, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
  • 2018 – Marie Bigham, Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, LA
  • 2017 – Rick Clark, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
  • 2016 – Debra Landesberg, My College Resource, Sarasota, FL
  • 2015 – Phil Kimrey, Samford University, Birmingham, AL
  • 2014 – Mimi Bradley, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland, MS & Brent Shropshire, North Cobb High School, Kennesaw, GA
  • 2013 – J. Robert Spatig, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL & Jack Whelan, Providence Day School, Charlotte, NC
  • 2012 – Jennifer Thibodeaux, Catholic High School, Baton Rouge, LA
  • 2011 – Missy Sanchez, Woodward Academy, College Park, GA
  • 2010 – Ann Hendrick, Education Services Foundation, Jackson, MS
  • 2009 – Linda McMullen, My Educational Horizons, NC
  • 2008 – Bill Dingledine, Educational Directions, SC
  • 2007 – Anthony Clay, Durham Academy, NC & Ingrid Hayes, Georgia Institute of Technology, GA
  • 2006 – Ed Graf, Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, LA & Pam Little, Fayetteville Academy, Fayetteville, NC
  • 2005 – Paulette Pearson, Hoover City Schools, Hoover, AL


RISING STAR AWARD (Less than five years experience): 

The Rising Star Award honors individuals and programs that exemplify excellence and dedication to serving the needs of students in the transition from high school to college. This award encourages state and regional affiliates to look within their associations, identify and nurture those new members and programs that are deserving of this honor, and encourage the honorees to continue their professional development through membership in NACAC. All SACAC members are invited to nominate candidates.

  • 2022 – Alex Murphy, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • 2021 – Kayla Hubbard, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
  • 2020 – Jade Domingue, Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, GA
  • 2019 – Max Bielke, Centenary College, Shreveport, LA & Owen Knight, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
  • 2018 – Julia Hodge, University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • 2017 – Stephen Brown, Woodward Hines Education Foundation (Get2College Center), Jackson, MS
  • 2016 – Stephen Karafa, Mercer University, Macon, GA
  • 2015 – Carina Lindsey, Education Services Foundation, Jackson, MS
  • 2014 – Brett Carr, Hendrix College, Conway, AR
  • 2013 – Megan Starling, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
  • 2012 – Jonathan Earnest, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
  • 2011 – Jessica Jaret, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  • 2010 – Casey Hampton, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
  • 2007 – Debra Landesberg, Manatee High School, Bradenton, FL