New BCC VP of Academics

Tom Nevill, DMA, officially began his duties as Butler Community College’s Vice President of Academics July 1, 2021 and brings years of academic, administrative excellence to college.

Dr. Tom Nevill, DMA, has been chosen to serve as Butler’s new Vice President of Academics.Dr

Nevill obtained his Bachelor of Music degree from Eastern Illinois University, and both his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). His musical focus is percussion.

Nevill replaces Lori Winningham who served for years as an academic dean for Butler before serving the past five years as vice president of Academics. She left administration to return to her passion — working with Butler students as a fulltime mathematics instructor.

Nevill is not new to the community college landscape. He most recently served as Dean of Arts & Digital Media at Austin Community Collegewhere he oversaw a division with more than 3,000 declared majors in 31 associate degrees and 23 certificate pathways. He also spent time as Dean of Arts & Humanities at Pima Community College in Arizona and as Division Chair for the Business, Creative & Performing Arts at Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina. He also served as the Music Department Chair at The University of Texas at Brownsville where he also founded the Percussion Studies Program.

While at Austin, Nevill lead a successful initiative to make Austin Community College the first community college in the U.S. to be designatedan Adobe Creative Campus. Nevill is now actively working to establish the same for Butler as the first in Kansas – an initiative which will provide full access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite for students at no cost as they prepare for success in the classroom and the modern economy.

“Everyone and everything at Butler are laser focused on students and their success,” said Nevill. “That became quite evident during the interview process. I’m excited to join the students, faculty, and staff as we build upon Butler’s history of success while engaging our students and communities in new and exciting ways.”

Nevill’s accomplishments include being a 2013 and 2010 finalist for the University of Texas Regent’s Outstanding teaching award. He also earned Exceptional Faculty Merit three times while at the University of Texas at Brownsville and was named a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award recipient in 2010.  

Nevill has taught a variety of percussion and music courses throughout his career and is still a member of the Percussive Arts Society. He has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Mexico, Canada and Japan.

But, Nevill says teaching and performing are now taking a backseat. Instead, he’s serving the community college mission through leadership and advocacy, while bringing to Butler a passion for diversity and inclusion, digital literacy for all, and community engagement.

“I am truly grateful that I have been accepted into the Butler family in this role because community colleges change lives in ways that cannot be matched,” Nevill said. “And the team at Butler has that same spark, determination, and culture of care that not only drives student success, but also promotes and encourages personal growth. . . I want to focus my energy and attention on being the best advocate I can possibly be for the students, faculty, staff, and the communities we serve.”

BCC ACBSP Business Student Leader Award

Butler DECA President, Mara Stewart, receives annual leadership award

EL DORADO, Kan. – This year’s Butler Community College ACBSP Business Student Leader Award recipient is Mara Stewart of El Dorado. Stewart was nominated by Marketing Department Chair Jared McGinley. 

Butler Community College Marketing student, Mara Stewart was recognized for the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Business Student Leader Award.

The Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) developed the Business Student Leadership Award to recognize excellence in business student leadership. Butler business faculty nominate students they feel exemplify business leadership. Faculty then review applications and select the recipient. Recipients are presented a plaque as well as have their name placed on a perpetual plaque on Butler’s campus.  

Stewart, a May 2021 associate degree graduate, was very involved at Butler. She entered Butler on a scholarship for singing and dancing with the Butler Headliners, worked as an intern for Butler’s College Relations & Marketing Department, was an Order of the Gold recipient achieving a 4.0 GPA, and served as President of Collegiate DECA, a professional business fraternity. 

Her involvement in school activities led her to attend numerous conferences and seminars to improve business and leadership skills, tour various businesses, and compete in business case competitions. Over the past two years at the Kansas Collegiate DECA State Conference, she placed first in Event Planning with partner Beth Walker, first in Business Ethics with partner Sophia Dawson, and individually placed third in Travel and Tourism.  

As President of Collegiate DECA, Stewart was active in fundraising, as well as organizing and leading weekly meetings. Stewart also organized and led a Leadership Development Conference for all the Kansas DECA college chapters in the state, and helped plan, organize, and lead a trip to Kansas City where the chapter met with the marketing team of Sporting Kansas City.  

In addition to her studies and involvement on the Butler campus, Stewart has worked at two additional jobs, and regularly volunteered at her church. Stewart plans to continue her studies to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Marketing at Oklahoma Christian University.  

Kansas Association of Broadcasters Awards

I want to highlight the Butler Community College Mass Communication program (I hope it doesn’t sound too much like bragging).

Pictured, from left to right, Madeline Reida, Tucker Ashburn, Ross Cole, Kameron Buss and Deanna Bonn.

We have amazing opportunities at Butler Community College for young (and not so young) people who want to learn about and/or develop their skillset in media production (or any field, honestly).

I graduated with a degree in Marketing in 1999. And spent much of my time in promotion for non-profit. I developed a passion for telling the stories of our community (in audio, video and written formats) partly as a way to improve my brain health after a difficult battle with memory loss and cognitive impairment.

When I returned to school in 2019, it was to help me improve those skills.In these past two years, I have had the privilege of working with faculty and staff both in and out of the radio and television stations. Not only did I receive hands on training but the confidence to get out of the classroom and make my mark on the world through the stories I tell.

This post isn’t about me, while I am proud of my work and will continue to grow and improve, my heart lies in helping our next generation find their voice and tell the stories that resonate with them.

My goals have always aligned with giving them a platform and a megaphone through whatever medium(s) they choose. My love of El Dorado gave me a unique perspective of the need for industry that will recruit and retain those voices in our community.

Everyday El Dorado was my answer to that void. The Mass Communication program at Butler provides students with real-world experience and the confidence to pursue their dreams. Please feel free reach out to me if you (or someone you know) are interested in learning more about the program, how you can improve your story telling through multi-media, or if I can assist you in telling those stories. I would love to help you!

Congratulations, to all the students for their great Kansas Association of Broadcasters accomplishments, but more importantly, to the program and the instructors who pour their hearts into it.

Butler Community College Life Enrichment Presentation to Explore Rural Entrepreneurs

Life Enrichment will host Ron Wilson on Tuesday, March 2 at 9 a.m.

El Dorado, Kan. – Butler Community College’s Life Enrichment will host Ron Wilson on Tuesday, March 2 at 9 a.m.

Wilson will present “Ruralpreneurs: Tumbleweeds and Talents in Kansas Communities.” Ruralpreneurs are innovative entrepreneurs who built successful enterprises in small town Kansas. This presentation highlights real-world examples of Kansas entrepreneurs who have built businesses and created jobs and opportunities in a rural setting. Additionally, this presentation honors the emerging role of diversity, technology, and telecommunications that have brought profound changes in society.

Ron Wilson will present “Ruralpreneurs: Tumbleweeds and Talents in Kansas Communities.”

Wilson is director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University. He has served as a legislative assistant; a staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and as vice president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. He produces a weekly radio program and news column about rural Kansas called Kansas Profile.

“Ruralpreneurs: Tumbleweeds and Talents in Kansas Communities” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.

Life Enrichment is meeting virtually on the first Tuesday morning of the month during the school year. Meetings take place online via Zoom or YouTube. The link to access the meetings is available on the Butler website at Meetings are open to everyone and there is no charge to attend. Those who attend regularly are encouraged to register so they receive monthly newsletters announcing the programs. New members are always welcome.

For more information about Life Enrichment, contact Trisha Walls at 316-218-6355 or

Brandon Leach Named Construction Technology Lead Instructor at Butler Community College

El Dorado, Kan. – An exciting new program is coming to Butler Community College this August – Construction Technology. The program is in the new Manufacturing Engineering & Construction Technology building, just south of the newly renovated 5000 building in Andover on East 13thStreet.  

In January, Brandon Leach was named lead faculty for the Construction Technology program.

Brandon Leach, lead faculty for Construction Technology at Butler Community College.

In addition to teaching Construction Technology courses, Leach will be responsible for curriculum development, collaborating and partnering with high school technical education faculty and counselors, and creating and sustaining partnerships with four-year colleges as well as business and industry.

After receiving his Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Drafting from Cowley Community College, Leach spent a year working for a custom furniture maker before moving on to Nies Homes, where he worked for many years doing all their drafting and design. When the housing market crashed in 2008, Leach was moved to a contract role, which led him to start his own drafting and design business that he still operates today.   

Leach went on to further his education and received a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Teaching Instruction and Curriculum from Wichita State University.   

In addition to running his own drafting and design business, Leach has been teaching at the high school level for the past seven years, the last three at El Dorado High School. Leach believes the Construction Technology program will fill a much-needed deficit in local skilled trades education.   

“The Wichita area has been lacking a good construction program,” said Leach. “Most of the education in the area focuses on manufacturing and aircraft, but we forget all those people need houses and buildings to put their businesses in. The construction trades have been kind of struggling in the area, so this program will hopefully help builders in the area have more educated and well-trained employees.” 

Leach has seen first-hand the need for skilled workers in the construction industry. Having just finished building his own home, Leach recognized that his subcontractors across the board – from masons to electricians to plumbers – were struggling to find good, trained workers. He is happy to be working with industry leaders to create a program that will produce the skilled employees needed to fill that void.   

“I have my own connections, primarily in the residential industry over the last 25 years, but also companies like Conco Construction and Wildcat Construction have played a central role in developing this curriculum with Butler Community College,” says Leach. 

The Construction Technology program is supported by local industry leaders like Eby Construction, Conco Construction, Wildcat Construction and Beran Concrete. Butler was approached by industry to develop a curriculum that could meet the needs for skilled labor. The 62-credit hour Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree also includes a summer internship. The program will provide a breadth of knowledge across various areas of the construction industry and will prepare students to enter the workforce immediately or transfer to a Pitt State University’s four-year degree program in Construction Management.  

Although the program launches in August with its construction courses, students can start earlier by taking any required general education courses which are offered in the spring or summer.  

In addition, Rose Hill High School is completing a building to house a Construction Technology pathway through Butler’s Early College Academy. The program will train high school students for the industry as juniors and seniors and prepare them to graduate with their associate of applied science degree the same time they graduate high school.  

Leach feels strongly that technology and two-year degrees are a great option in pursuing a lifelong career.   

“I brag that my little two-year associates degree I got in 1996 is still what pays my bills today. My business is built off that associates degree. Granted, I went and got further education, but that two-year degree set my life on the course I’m on now.”   

With his background in both construction and education, Leach will bring a wealth of knowledge to the program as well as his optimism about the future of the industry. 

Says Leach, “Working with high school students, I definitely see a lot of kids that want to work with their hands and create something and make something. I’m encouraged about the next generation.”