A Gadsden State Community College employee has been recognized by a national magazine as one of the most inspiring leaders in the country.
Dr. Cheryl Sington, director of the Cheaha Educational Opportunity Center at Gadsden State, was among the Top 10 Inspiring Leaders list in IE Magazine. The magazine’s target audience includes industry leaders, executives, investors and entrepreneurs.
“I am humbled for this honor but it’s not just about me,” she said. “It’s a testament to the incredible team at Gadsden State who has joined me on the journey to help adult learners complete their secondary education and pursue post-secondary education. I am reminded that true leadership is about igniting the spark of inspiration in others, guiding them to their full potential and collectively achieving remarkable success.”
Sington is the only Alabamian, the only educator and one of only three females on the list. Other honorees include Jay Feilen, CEO of ERC Benefits; William Rubio, CRO of CallTower; Madison Whitcher, CEO of MDZN Studio; Bret Webb, CEO of Sentry Protection and Investigations; Tony Coder, executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation; Pedro Langa, vice president of finance for Space Perspective; Christopher Miller, CEO of Freedom Warranty; Timothy Witucki, CEO of Omada One; and Lori Moriarty, VP of operations for Michael Management.
“These people are truly remarkable,” Sington said. “I find that their stories fuel my own journey. They have become a source of my own inspiration. I try to always surround myself with inspirational people. They are a reminder that greatness is not achieved in isolation but through shared energy and aspirations of those who dare to dream.”
Sington came to Gadsden State in 2021 to start the EOC in Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne and Etowah counties. The goal of the EOC is to increase the number of adult participants who enroll in college.
“We provide opportunities for academic development and assistance in applying for college enrollment and financial aid among other services that will motivate them and lead them to complete their high school equivalency and their postsecondary education,” she said.
Sington has had a long and varied career. A Gadsden native, she earned a double bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama in theatre and dance; a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Middle Tennessee State University; and a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy from California Coast University.
Sington has spent a lot of time in the performing arts and has a resume that includes appearances in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” and the sitcom “Roseanne,” to name a few. She currently teaches a theatre class at Gadsden State, and she assists with performances by the Gadsden State Theatre Department. She will be directing a commissioned play, “Engendered Species,” for Gadsden State in February.
While she continues to work in the arts, she transitioned from performing to academics in 1990 when she was named the director of performing arts at The Cate School in Carpinteria, Calif. She then became the director of performing arts and director of Girls Residential Life at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tenn. From there, Sington moved to New Mexico where she developed the performing arts department for Sandia Prep School and was the director of social sciences and director of faculty development.
Moving forward in her career, she opened Sington Consulting, a college consulting business that assisted students nationwide with continuing their post-secondary education. She worked for several years at Florida Gulf Coast University as the director of outreach programs overseeing all grant programs.