Featured People @ TNCC


LeAnn Taylor: Passion for Thomas NelsonTNCC Student LeAnn Taylor discusses her love for Thomas Nelson and the change it brought to her life by getting involved.
Jessica Valencia: Working for her futureTNCC Student Jessica Valencia discusses her success at Thomas Nelson and dreams for the future
Jerry Van Harris: Volunteer and StudentTNCC student Jerry Van Harris discusses his involvement at Thomas Nelson, what he has gained from being involved in diverse clubs and groups on campus and his future.
Victoria Frianeza: Mother, Veteran and StudentTNCC Student Victoria Frianeza discusses her future, her success at Thomas Nelson and her dreams for the future.

More Featured People @ TNCC


Jacqueline A. Blackwell, English Department» Virginia Keithley, TRiO Student Support Services» Michael Sundblad, Music Department» Kelly Williams, Dental Hygiene»

Jacqueline Blackwell: English Department

Tell us about your educational background?

I’ve lived in Hampton Roads for most of my life. I attended Hampton High School and Hampton Institute (now known as Hampton University). I had a full scholarship and earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Arts. I graduated in the top ten of my class, got a full fellowship at the University of Virginia (UVa) and earned a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature.

How did you become part of Thomas Nelson?

I taught for nearly eleven years Hampton University after graduating from UVa. I was looking for another position and saw that TNCC was hiring English instructors. In 2000, Linda Eanes, then dean of Nursing, Communications and Humanities, hired me as an assistant professor. I was ecstatic. I could still work in my hometown. I could still teach English and Thomas Nelson appeared to be a warmer place to work.

What motivates you?

As a teacher, I’m moved by my students’ needs. I love talking about literature with young people. They come up with the most amazing interpretations. These are the motivations that send me to work every day.

What are your passions?

I am passionate about relationships — familial, collegial, student-professorial.  So I value greatly the one-on-one time in all of my relationships. I devoutly believe that we are most effective when we make connections.

Tell us about your program at TNCC?

Our program prepares students to communicate effectively in writing. This skill is increasingly becoming the gauge by which intelligence and proficiency is measured. So our program begins at the developmental level and then raises students to 200-level literature and writing courses, challenging their skills, at higher and higher levels, in logic, clarity and focus.

What is the single thing about TNCC and the community college?

TNCC offers members of our community the opportunities to excel in the areas that Hampton Roads needs — technology, medicine and the arts. TNCC is a relatively inexpensive means by which students and members of the workforce can immerse themselves in a real college experience at the pace at which they function best.

Virginia Keithley: TRiO Student Support Services

Ms. Keithley has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Christopher Newport University and Master’s and Educational Specialist Degrees in Counseling from the College of William and Mary.  Virginia was hired by Thomas Nelson in the fall of 2005 to be the Director of their new TRiO – Student Support Services, a Federal grants program.  Ms. Keithley had previously worked as director of several TRiO programs and was thrilled when a position became open that was closer to her hometown of Hampton.

Student Support Services targets students who are first-generation, low-income and/or disabled who are planning to graduate and transfer to a four-year college or university.  The goal is to retain the maximum number of students each year, at the highest academic level possible and then assist them with the transfer process, beginning approximately a year before they graduate from Thomas Nelson.

Assisting students in finding a career field that is congruent with their personality and seeing the validation that comes with such a discovery is what motivates Ms. Keithley.  Unlocking that secret and finding the correct major in college is one of the main keys to a successful college journey.

Ms. Keithley’s passion is students.  The highlight of her year is seeing students walk across a graduation stage to receive their diplomas.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Michael Sundblad: Music Department

Tell us about your educational background?

I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Music from North Central College as well as a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Illinois State University.

How did you become part of TNCC?

I applied for the position in 2007 because I sensed a real potential for growth in performing arts at the college. Thomas Nelson will be able to reach thousands of people in Hampton Roads as performers, students and audience members.

What motivates you and what are your passions?

Obviously, a passion for music, but also a love of collaboration. I have spent more time conducting in the orchestra pit than any other activity in my career – I love live performance and working with dozens of people in orchestras, operas and theatrical performances.

Tell us about your program at TNCC?

We are working to develop our offerings in Music and Theatre and are expanding all the time. Right now we offer several music appreciation courses on campus and online, music theory classes, chorus, acting classes and theatrical performances. We are very proud of what we have built at Thomas Nelson and the impact that it can have on our community and our students’ lives.

What unique opportunities does it offer students and the community?

Our expanding performing opportunities will allow students and community members to perform on our stage as musicians, actors and dancers.

What is the single greatest thing about TNCC and the community college?

The best part of Thomas Nelson (and the community college in general) is the ability to collaborate with students, other faculty and members of the community. Community Colleges have real impact; music and the arts enrich and change lives. Thomas Nelson can connect with our community through the arts and through our teaching.

Kelly Williams: Dental Hygiene

Ms. Williams joined the Thomas Nelson Community College faculty in August 2010 as TNCC was preparing to launch a new Dental Hygiene Program at the Historic Triangle Campus in Williamsburg. The Dental Hygiene program is rapidly developing into a regionally recognized leader in training and development.

Tell us about your educational background?

I obtained Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in dental hygiene from Old Dominion University. My specialization in the Master’s program was in management and administration. I have been a registered dental hygienist for 15 years.

How did you become part of Thomas Nelson?

I served on the Advisory Board for the dental hygiene program during its development at TNCC and learned about the integrity of the program. I was hired as a full-time faculty member when the program began in August 2010.

What motivates you?

Empowering, supporting, and developing other people.

What are your passions?

I believe it is important to challenge our thinking and to be visionaries in our chosen profession. Working to continually improve my community leaving things better than how I found them drives me. It’s important that we invest time and efforts in the future of this profession. I am active in my professional organization, the Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association. I have served as President, Council Chair of Governmental and Professional Affairs and am the Association’s current Virginia Student Liaison and Virginia Board of Dentistry Liaison.

Tell us about your program at TNCC?

Many people have worked toward the success of our Dental Hygiene program. Program Coordinator Harold Marioneaux, DDS, provided the framework and with the assistance of my colleague, Brenda Armstrong, RDH, MDH, and our support staff,  program is able to offer students individualized one-on-one attention. Our facilities boast the best technology to facilitate individualized instruction in a simulated environment and the availability of digital x-rays. We are tremendously proud of what we have built at Thomas Nelson Community College.

What unique opportunities does the Dental Hygiene Program offer students and the community?

Principally we offer the ability to learn from award-winning faculty with the best technology available in the dental industry. Graduates will have a vast knowledge of emerging procedures and concepts that they will be able to apply immediately upon graduation.

What is the single greatest thing about TNCC and the community college?

The students. The students at TNCC have worked hard to be where they are in the dental hygiene program. I admire the balance they maintain between raising multiple children, working nights, and weekends, and they work well together to pull each other through challenges.

Questions about the Dental Hygiene Program @ TNCC?
Call: (757) 258-6598 or Email: DentalHygiene@tncc.edu