The committee will recognize Margo (McGowan) Barrows, James Markovich, John Tracy, Colonel Matthew Redding and Commander Heather Shattuck July 30, 2021 as new members of the Hall of Distinction. The ceremony, beginning at 6:45 pm, is open to the public, held in the Oxford Academy Performing Arts Auditorium (HS Auditorium), 50 S. Washington Avenue, Oxford.
Oxford Academy has had a large number of excellent female student/athletes and Margo ranks right at the top of this illustrious list. Growing up on a dairy farm and working with horses taught her how to work and apply herself in whatever she did. She demanded excellence from herself in the classroom and on the playing courts and fields. In high school Barrows was named to the Who’s Who Among American High School Students and selected to the National High School Honor Society. Additionally, she was active in the 4-H and showed and rode horses which resulted in her winning the 4-H Equestrian Award in 1993. Margo’s in your senior year playing basketball was named MVP in the Sus East League, in Chenango County by the Evening Sun and was selected to the All-Metro Team by the Binghamton Press.
She enjoyed a great academic and sports career in high school which carried over to her years at Ithaca College. At Ithaca in basketball she was a three time Empire Athletic Association All-Star, a two time ECAC Upstate All-Star and the EAA Player of the Year in 1998. Additionally, she helped to propel her team into a NCAA appearance which was the first time in the school’s history. In softball she was a First Team Academic All-Star and batted an astounding .389 during her senior year. All of these accomplishments resulted in her being inducted into the Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
However, the primary reasons for her induction into the Oxford Academy’s Hall of Distinction is what she does in her classroom and for the community that she loves. She is an exceptional teacher and coach which resulted in Margo being recognized as the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 2019 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. Margo has a genuine interest in her students and will go the extra mile to help them to succeed. She is sometimes “tough” but always with the goal of assisting to better them. Furthermore, what makes her an exceptional person is that she is humble and is always ready to pay tribute to those who have facilitated her in her remarkable career. It is for these reasons that we honor Margo McGowan Barrows with this tribute.
Jim graduated from Oxford Academy in 1994 as a distinguished student and athlete. He recalls that one of the lasting memories that he has pertaining to school is that his class was highly competitive but in a supportive manner. Additionally, he extols the virtue of having educators who demanded excellence and but who were also compassionate to their students.
Subsequently, he attended RPI and obtained a degree in mechanical engineering. Following a brief career in that field and after 911 Jim felt a duty to serve his country and joined the FBI. He attended the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and was assigned to the Washington, DC Field Office. There he was employed as a member of the SWAT Team, worked in dignitary protection, was involved in federal criminal investigations and numerous other activities that the FBI was engaged in to safeguard our country.
From Washington, DC, he transitioned to the Buffalo Field Office where he worked extensively in federal crimes involving the sexual exploitation of minors and the educating of our youth in proactive activities which would protect them from predators. In addition, his work entailed conducting training for state and local agencies in defensive tactic training, land navigation instruction and conducting training in interviewing and interrogating suspects. Presently, Markovich is working out of the Albany Field Office stationed in Ithaca. His main responsibilities include investigating federal crimes within the Ithaca area, conducting FBI polygraph examinations in support of criminal inquiries, national security probes, and employee matters. Jim has been working on providing online safety presentations for local schools and parent groups. Recently he performed such a training in the Oxford Academy and Central School. He stated that his main satisfaction is derived from feeling like he is making a difference in protecting the youth of the area. In addition, he feels a sense of fulfillment when he is able to eliminate a criminal from menacing the society. Jim and his wife, Bethany, live in Lansing and enjoy their two dogs. The Oxford Academy’s Hall of Distinction Committee feel honored and pleased to recognize Jim’s work and service to his community and country by placing him on our Wall of Fame.
John graduated from Oxford Academy in 1986. He is from a large family of six siblings. John’s dedication to his community started in 1986 when he joined the McDonough Fire Department and became an associate member of the Oxford Fire Department. John is currently the Chief of the McDonough Fire Department, a position he has held twice, currently and from 1993-1995.
At the age of 26, John had the desire to support his McDonough community and ran for the Town Board councilmen position. He was elected for the first time in 1993 and has held this position for 27 years. While on the Town Board he has worked through many challenging situations, including tough budgets. John continues to serve for the love of his community and has also offered to serve as the Town Supervisor when required.
Most of our community knows John from his ownership of Central Plumbing and Heating located in Oxford. He started this company in 1992 at the young age of 25. For the past 28 years John’s business has flourished, providing essential services to his hometown community. John receives phone calls at all hours of the night, Monday through Sunday, and is always available to those who need his assistance. If you have ever had a furnace go out, you know it never happens when the weather is sunny and nice. John always rises to the occasion to help his neighbors.
John Tracy embodies the definition of civic responsibility. It is no surprise as John is from a long line of individuals who have given back to their communities. He is a sixth generation decedent of Uri Tracy who was the first principal of Oxford Academy, the first sheriff of Chenango County, the first postmaster of Oxford and the first judge of Chenango County. Uri was also elected to the United States House of Representatives as a member from New York for the Ninth, Eleventh and Twelfth Congresses.
For John’s dedication to his community, including his time and financial support of organizations and programs and never wanting to be acknowledged for any of his actions, we honor John Tracy with this lasting tribute of being added to the Oxford Academy Hall of Distinction.
COLONEL MATTHEW REDDING
Colonel Matthew Redding, Class of 1986, is recalled by classmates as a go-to class leader, an exemplary student and athlete, and a friend who was respected by everyone. “To say Matt is a person of the highest integrity would be an understatement,” read one of the four nominations submitted on his behalf. “Great heroes are made because of leaders like Matthew Redding.” Considering his significant career arc, the Oxford Academy community can be proud indeed.
After graduation, Colonel Redding attended St. Lawrence University from which he was commissioned in the US Army. His education subsequently included two Master’s degrees from the University of Maryland and the US Marine Corps University, and a Certificate in Military Strategy from the US Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. His more than 30 years of military service included four strategic level joint duty assignments, three combat tours, and operation as the Joint Transportation Executive Agent for US Transportation Command in Europe and Africa as a regional Brigade Commander. A significant number of assignments were in critical operational roles overseas where his knowledge of coalition warfare was central to strategic goals. Colonel Redding performed demanding leadership position for soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division, 3D Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division, US Army Europe, NATO, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and Army Staff.
Recent assignments included Chief of Current Operations and Strategic Readiness, Department of the Army G4. His tour in the Pentagon included disaster relief operations and emergent strategic crisis action planning as the lead logistics planner for the Army Staff. His Army career culminated in service as the Army Service Chairperson and Assistant Professor of National Security and Resource Strategy at the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, where his wealth of experience helped shape the next generation of strategic leaders.
His service to the country continues in his current position as Director of the National Integration Center at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he works to ensure that federal, state, and local resources are aligned to deal with any number of emergency situations.
Colonel Redding’s exemplary values, impeccable qualifications, and superior service warranted significant awards and decorations including Legion of Merit Medals (3), Bronze Star Medals (2), US Army Combat Action Badge, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medals (7), and Army Commendation and Achievement Medals (7).
Another of his nominations reads, “I don’t think there is a more solid and deserving candidate than Matthew Redding. He is a wonderful example of hard work and self sacrifice as well as being a wonderful role model for younger generations.” It is a privilege indeed to welcome him to the Oxford Academy Hall of Distinction.
COMMANDER HEATHER SHATTUCK
Heather Shattuck graduated from the Class of 1997, and stepped from that foundation to continued achievement and a career in Active Duty military service through nursing. A Commander of the US Navy Nurse Corps now assigned to the Navy Leadership and Ethics Center, Dam Neck Detachment, in Virginia Beach, she is still committed to learning and leading. Commander Shattuck progressed from Niagra University to the University of Maryland and other Military Education course providers where she amassed an array of degrees, specializations, and certifications. There is no end to her commitment to advanced learning, demonstrated most recently by her earning a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Duke University in 2019.
Commander Shattuck has served on the USNS Comfort in Iraq, and in hospitals and medical centers in Bethesda, Camp Lejeune, Annapolis, San Diego, Fort Belvoir, and Sigonella, Italy. The kinds of service she’s provided demonstrate the depth and breadth of her commitment to leadership and service. She has served as Director of Medical Services, Emergency Department Head, and board-certified Nurse Practitioner. In her varying roles she has provided acute and chronic health care, fostered patient advocacy, supported innovation, and effectively managed systems and protocol to improve outcomes for patients. She taught clinical information and established programs during her varied assignments, and also volunteered in the MEDCAP program providing care to adults within the US Southern Command area of operations.
A constellation of awards and honors aligned with her advancing career. Degrees were won cum laude, and she earned the National Collegiate Nursing, Vincentian Service, and Excellence in Clinical Practice Awards. Commander Shattuck was invited into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, and Delta Epsilon Sigma. She also won the 2016 Geraldine B. Posner RN Memorial Award for Nursing Excellence (selected from among nominees across all services), the Society of Federal Health Professional 2016 Nurse of the Year Award, and The Daisy Nurse Leader Award in 2019.
The Military also decorated Commander Shattuck with two service medals, three commendation medals, three achievement medals, two overseas service ribbons, and a number of letters of commendation and appreciation.
Her warmth, intelligence, and powerful work ethic offered in the service of health care and this country show why Commander Shattuck is a welcome, worthy member of the Oxford Academy Hall of Distinction.