2018 Alumni Hall of Fame Biographies
Our next Hall of Fame Inductee is Ms. Libby Callaway, Class of 1988. A fashion editor and journalist, Ms. Callaway lives in Nashville where she founded and runs The Callaway, a communications company with an international roster of clients in the areas of fashion, beauty, and hospitality.
As for her greatest memory of high school, Ms. Callaway fondly remembers the people—fellow students but also the inspirational teachers and faculty who supported and encouraged her to try new things and develop existing interests. She often thinks about the time she was told by Ms. Nancy Reiser, her senior English teacher, to “go out and do inspired writing”. As writing has been a common thread throughout all of her career evolutions, Ms. Callaway says that she hopes she has made Ms. Reiser proud!
Ms. Callaway took the lessons she learned at Cleveland High and used them to build a career that is based on her reputation, a reputation of being fair, responsive, thorough, and kind. She hopes to serve as an example to others who work in media that despite this industry’s reputation as shallow and back-biting, you can still rise to a prominent leadership position by being nice.
Ms. Callaway holds a Bachelor’s degree from UTK in English Literature and a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communications from New York University. In addition to running her company, Ms. Callaway has contributed to some of the country’s most wide-regarded magazines and newspapers including the New York Post where she was employed as a writer and editor from 1997 to 2004. She has also done freelance work for Elle, The New York Times, Style.com, Travel + Leisure, and Glamour. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors and works with volunteer organizations such as the Nashville Sexual Assault Center Board of Directors
Mrs. Valerie Capps, Class of 2000, is well-known to the Cleveland City Schools community and especially to Cleveland High School. Mrs. Capps has fifteen years of teaching, all at Cleveland High School. She serves today as a math teacher at CHS, an adjunct professor at Lee University, and an ACT prep instructor with Koontz Cram Course.
During her high school years, Mrs. Capps was very involved in athletics. She wore the blue jersey for four years as a member of the Lady Raiders basketball and track teams, and ran cross country her senior year. Her athletic talent brought her many honors including competing on the state cross country team her senior year. Mrs. Capps was also a member of the Anchor Club, Beta Club, Key Club, and National Honor Society.
Mrs. Capps’s greatest memory of high school was getting to share every aspect of it with her twin sister, Stephanie. They were in the same classes, competed on the same teams and were members of the same clubs. Getting to share high school with the person you are closest to is a unique experience and Mrs. Capps enjoyed it, although she didn’t necessarily enjoy being called “Huttenhoff twin” when people couldn’t tell them apart.
Prior to her 2004 graduation from Bryan College, Mrs. Capps made it to the NAIA national basketball tournament her junior and senior years. She has enjoyed a very successful teaching career, earning many distinctions and honors such as Teacher of the Year at the building and system level, UTK Math Teacher of the Year, and SE Bank Teacher of the Month. Mrs. Capps is active in her church (South Cleveland Church of God) and service organizations and she loves getting to do a job she loves every day. Mrs. Capps is mom to Audra, a CMS 6th grader, and Adelynn, a 1st grader at Yates, and the wife of Robert Capps.
Mr. Scott Carroll is a member of the 1980 graduating class of Cleveland High School. This former CHS athlete currently serves his hometown as the assistant principal and athletic director at Cleveland Middle School.
Mr. Carroll was an active member of Cleveland High School during his time here. A very busy athlete, he played football and wrestled, as well as being a member of the Interact, Letterman, Junior JCs, FCA clubs. His successes on the fields and courts carried over into the classroom, however, as he wrote for the CHS newspaper and also served his class as a member of student government.
Coach Carroll credits the influence of coaches, teachers and CHS faculty who encouraged, challenged, and taught him so much more than academic abilities or athletic skills, but also how a team must work together to reach goals. He learned to love education from teachers like Mrs. Jeanette Schlaeger, Mrs. Martha Wattenbarger, and Coaches Al Miller, Richard Shaw, and Danny Carson. His greatest high school memory was defeating Bradley his senior year, 7-0, to win the district championship.
A graduate of Lee University with degrees in Business Administration and history and a Master’s degree from Carson Newman in Educational Leadership, Mr. Carroll has won various coaching and leadership awards. He has coached baseball, football, and wrestling at CMS at various points for the past 28 years. He also served as the voice of the Raiders on WCLE radio, and has held leadership positions on many local and state level athletic boards and organizations.
Ms. Elizabeth Dale graduated from Cleveland High School in 1997. From the CHS Model United Nations delegation to Vanderbilt medical school, Ms. Dale has enjoyed an illustrious career in the medical field as an academic plastic surgeon.
Ms. Dale was a member of the soccer team as well as the track team. Athletics was only part of Ms. Dale’s involvement, however, as she was also a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, theater, Model UN, student government, and Girls’ State.
Mr. Hixson’s physics and chemistry classes are among Ms. Dale’s greatest memories of high school. She states that in his classes, students had to work hard to excel, work together, and have a lot of fun at the same time. Mr. Hixson taught her that when you fail—you get back up. Cleveland High School prepared Ms. Dale to work hard and for the bigger goals that came after high school.
A graduate of MIT, Ms. Dale then graduated from Vanderbilt School of Medicine. She became a Plastic and Burn Surgeon and is currently the Director of the Burn Center at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Ms. Dale is also a published author and researcher and teaches medical students and residents daily.
Our next CHS Hall of Fame inductee from the Class of 1980, Mr. Brian Green, is a TONY Award nominee for Best Actor in a Musical. From the CHS stage as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”, Mr. Green is now a renowned and accomplished actor, recording artist, director, producer, and writer.
Mr. Green’s favorite memories of high school center on the teachers who made an impact on him. These memories include Mrs. Lemons trying her best to teach him the importance of punctuation and Coach Shaw calling him out for not paying attention in class when he had a host of other things on his mind. He credits Mrs. Maxine Hughes and Mrs. Wanda Dent for directing the spring musicals “South Pacific” and “Fiddler on the Roof” and allowing him to be in them. Mr. Green says that their belief in him gave him the confidence to believe in himself.
Mr. Green’s Broadway debut was Huck Finn in “Big River”, then he followed that performance with roles in “Starmites” and “The Life”, one of which earned him a TONY Award nomination. He toured nationally as Joseph in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and has had numerous regional theater roles including Tony in “West Side Story”, Che in “Evita”, and Marc Antony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”. His television career includes roles on “All My Children”, “Another World”, and “Days of Our Lives”, in addition to guest roles on “Matlock”, “Highway to Heaven”, “Hotel”, “Murder, She Wrote”, and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”. Mr. Green has many recording credits on his resume as well as solo CD’s. Today, Mr. Green is writing and directing and has several new projects in the works.
Mr. Drew Helmstetter is our Hall of Fame Inductee from the Class of 2003. From the halls of CHS to sales, Mr. Helmstetter has been with the same employer for the past 8 years which, in his words, is “no small feat for a Millennial, let alone one in the staffing industry with an average tenure of 12 months”.
Mr. Helmstetter’s high school years were filled wrestling meets, football and soccer games, and meetings with Beta Club, NHS, Interact, and Quiz Bowl. Mr. Helmstetter is part of a storied tradition of Blue Raider life; he was in Student Government for four years, ending his tenure as president of the senior class. He was in the inaurural class of the “We the People” Constitutional Debate club and won the state tournament in the first year, gaining a trip to the national competition in Washington, D.C.. His greatest memory from high school is the World Studies class with Coach Shaw and Mrs. Schlaeger, a class he credits with invaluable preparation for a high achieving college that required writing 10-30 pages of essays a week for four years. Cleveland left a lasting impact on Mr. Helmstetter in the form of the lifelong relationships and the importance of participating in a very broad cohort of friends.
Upon graduating from CHS, Mr. Helmstetter attained a Bachelor’s Degree from Centre College, then an Ed.S. in School Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is very actively involved with volunteer work with various local organizations including Junior Achievement, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, and the CTE Council for Cleveland City Schools. Mr. Helmstetter also launched a mentoring program sponsored by his company and used it to craft a specialized program. Mr. Helmstetter is married to Claire and they have two children, Beck (3 ½) and Charlotte (2).
From the Class of 1980, our next Hall of Fame inductee is Mrs. Tanya Mazzolini! Mrs. Mazzolini is very well-known to many in Cleveland through her volunteer work and her presence in the corporate community.
Mrs. Mazzolini spent her high school years performing halftime shows with the CHS Band Color Guard where she was co-captain and participating in activities with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Drama Club, National Honor Society, Anchor Club, Yearbook Staff, Political Awareness Club, and Interclub Council. Winning the Orange Bowl Band Competition and marching in the Orange Bowl parade on New Year’s Eve in Miami under the direction of Mr. Crill Higgins is one of her favorite high school memories, followed by winning 3 first place awards in Physics at the Regional Science Fair.
Cleveland High School and its influence have remained with Mrs. Mazzolini throughout her very successful career. She says that the teachers at CHS had the biggest impact on her because they gave encouragement and guidance as well as excellent teaching. From them, she learned perseverance and to always strive for excellence.
After graduation, Mrs. Mazzolini graduated Summa Cum Laude from Lee University with a degree in accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and worked at Life Care Centers of America for 32 years where her most recent position was Vice President of Accounting. She is currently Chief Financial Officer at United Way of the Ocoee Region. Mrs. Mazzolini stays very busy with volunteer work, having volunteered frequently with United Way in the past, serving as Team Leader and Board Member for Samaritan’s Place Orphanage in the Philippines, Operation Christmas Child Ambassador to Peru, Barista at First Baptist Church Go Café, and on the Lee University Business Advisory Council. A recipient of many awards, Mrs. Mazzolini is a valued member of the business community in Cleveland.
Mr. Jon Souders, Class of 2001, is no stranger to Cleveland High School. He serves today as Digital Media Instructor here at CHS and as a Marketing and Communications manager for Cleveland City Schools.
Mr. Souders’s greatest memory of Cleveland High School also explains the work ethic for which he is known. At CHS, he learned not to take the easy way out. He had a very challenging chemistry teacher and he wasn’t excited about being in his class. In fact, he was jealous of his friends who had an easier teacher. However, after finishing the class, Mr. Souders walked away having experienced the value of productive struggle, learning much more than the periodic table and chemistry formulas. The same lessons benefitted him as a member of the cross country team, FCA, building a broadcast studio in the Dome basement, and graduating as an honors and business honors graduate.
Many doors were opened to Mr. Souders after graduation and he sees them as a direct reflection of his time at CHS. While at CHS, Mr. Souders learned to be himself and try to accomplish as much as possible. CHS taught him how to plan and prepare for the future knowing that the daily deposits of learning and failing were all part of developing his future. The teachers at CHS would not accept anything but his best which continually made him strive to achieve more. The years Mr. Souders spent as a student here prepared him for college, career, and ultimately to be a business owner and educator.
A 2015 graduate of Lee University, Mr. Souders obtained his Master of Fine Arts in Motion Pictures and Television from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He has had a very successful teaching career, earning numerous awards for digital media advisor, was a finalist for NFHS Best National Teacher of the Year, Career and Technical Education Program of the Year, and Teacher of the Year for Cleveland City Schools. Mr. Souders has taught adjunct classes at Lee University and MTSU as well as starting a successful media production company. Mr. Souders is best known at CHS for having developed and expanded the Digital Media Program known as CHSLive into a National Award Winning Program.
We would like to welcome back Mr. Brian Tucker, a member of the 1991 graduating class of Cleveland High School. Once awarded “Best Actor” in the 1990 class playoffs, today he is employed as an engineer and fleet manager at Bell.
An active student in the arts and humanities, Mr. Tucker was a valued member of the Toss-Up (quiz bowl) team, Thespians, the literary magazine, and various other subject-specific clubs. He was in the show choir and also named a National Merit Scholar and Co-Valedictorian.
Mr. Tucker credits his time at CHS for having broadened his view of the world. His public speaking class taught him to communicate, drama allowed him to become more comfortable speaking in front of crowds, AP English and Calculus improved his ability to think critically, art and show choir gave him an appreciation of beauty and music, and Toss-Up gave him collaborative abilities. He fondly remembers national quiz bowl competitions and the production of the musical “Godspell”.
Mr.Tucker earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and followed those with a twenty-one year career in the aviation industry. Mr. Tucker is currently “Connected Fleet Manager” with Bell. He has had multiple technical publications, was an inventor or co-inventor on 12 granted US Patents with several patents pending. Mr. Tucker has presented at conferences around the world and is a member of multiple industry technical committees. He does volunteer service at his church and has done several mission trips and service projects. Mr. Tucker is a proud husband to Sherrie (22 years) and father to their miracle child, Nathaniel, who is almost six years old.