Faculty and Staff

Patrick Ralls

Department Head Speech
911 Boling Highway
Wharton, Texas 77488
Office: FA 104 – Main Campus
Email: RallsP@wcjc.edu

Mr. Patrick Ralls completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from Sam Houston State University in 2002. His M.A. in Communications was earned at the University of Houston. He taught Speech and Debate at Foster High School in Richmond, and Speech at Lone Star College – North Harris, prior to becoming full time Instructor of Speech at WCJC in the Fall of 2010. Patrick teaches our Intro to Speech and our Speech core courses at the Main Campus and Needville High School (dual credit).

James Conner

Instructor of Speech
Fort Bend Technical Center
5333 FM1640
Richmond, TX 55469
Ph: (281) 239-7562
Email: connerj@wcjc.edu

James Conner finished his B.S. degree from the University of Houston-Downtown in 1999. He received his M.A. from the University of Houston in 2008. He is also a graduate of Wharton County Junior College receiving his A.A. degree in 1989. 

As an adjunct instructor, Conner taught speech and mass communication classes at Houston Baptist University, Houston Community College, and the University of Houston. Prior to entering academia full time, he spent more than 15 years in the communications industry as a radio broadcaster, media relations director, and managing editor.

Cynthia Knox B.S., M.A.

Instructor of Speech
14004 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, TX 77479
Ph: (281) 243-8534
Email: cknox@wcjc.edu
URL: http://facultyweb.wcjc.edu/cknox/

Cynthia H. Knox completed her undergraduate training in Speech Education at Bradley University earning the B.S. degree in 1972. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1974 with a M.A. in Communication Arts. In 1989, she earned the M.P.H. degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health.  

In addition to teaching speech communication courses at Madison Area Technical College and at Texas Southern University, Mrs. Knox has worked with Xerox Corporation, The Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians, and the Fort Bend Museum Association. She is also on the Ft. Bend ISD Board. She currently enjoys reading and attending sports events with her family.

Mary Austin Newman B.S., M.A., Ph.D.

Instructor of Speech
Wharton County Junior College
911 Boling Hwy.
Wharton, TX 77488
Ph: (979) 532-6337
Email: maryn@wcjc.edu
URL: http://facultyweb.wcjc.edu/MNewman

Mary Austin Newman, Ph.D., Speech Communication, Pennsylvania State U.; M.A. Drama, University of Houston; B.S. Speech, Stephen F. Austin State University 

Representative professional positions: Director of Training, Defense Team, Booz-Allen and Hamilton, McLean, VA; Visiting Professor, Speech Communication, Oklahoma State University, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Professor of Speech Communication, Houston Baptist University; Professor of Systems Management, University of Southern California, University of Denver; Professor and Associate Director, International Management Master’s Program, Whitworth College, Spokane, WA; Associate Professor of Communication and Management, University of Maryland, Europe and Asia; Assistant Professor of Speech Communication, Pennsylvania State University. 

Professional Memberships: Alpha Chi (scholarship), Alpha Psi Omega (Drama), Delta Kappa Gamma (Education), Rotary International, Wharton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. 

WCJC Projects: Speak Out!, student speeches – historical presentation program each semester; Coordinator, President’s Lecture Series

Karen Prisner

Instructor of Speech
Wharton County Junior College
14004 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Ph: (281) 243-8537
Email: KarenPr@wcjc.edu

Karen Prisner completed her Bachelors of Art in Applied Arts at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, during the spring of 1999. In 2002 she earned her a M.A. in Public Relations from the University of Houston’s main campus. 

Karen has been with WCJC for several years where she primarily teaches Fundamentals of Speech. However, Mrs. Prisner has taught others courses such as Business and Professional Communication and Interpersonal Communication to name a few, while serving as adjunct professor at other educational institutions.

Pam Speights

Instructor of Speech
Wharton County Junior College
911 Boling Highway
Wharton, Texas 77488
Office: FA 103 – Main Campus
Email: pams@wcjc.edu

Pam Speights, ED.d, from the University of Houston.; M.S. Human Communication from Abilene Christian University, and her B.S.E.D in Speech Education from Abilene Christian University.


Part Time Faculty

Adrianne Bradford

Adrianne Bradford completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and her Master of Arts degree in Communications from Texas Southern University in 2003 and 2008, respectively. 

In addition to teaching Speech Communication courses part-time for Wharton County Junior College, Ms. Bradford works as a Family Conference Coordinator and Facilitator for The Children's Crisis Care Center. Prior to her current position, she worked as a Foster and Adoption Recruiter and Trainer for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Ms. Bradford enjoys reading, writing, and spending quality time with her family and pets.

Casey Killough

Casey Killough completed her B.A. in Organizational Communications from University of Houston and her M.A. in Business Communications with an emphasis in Leadership from Jones International University. 

Certifications Academic/Teaching Experience:

  • Texas Teaching Certificate for Speech Communications

  • Texas Teaching Certificate for English 9-12


  • Communication Applications

  • Debate

  • Oral Interpretation

  • English


  • TSCA, Texas Speech Communication Association

  • Chapter Member for the National Forensic League

Andra Allen McLarty

Email: mcLartya@wcjc.edu

Andra Allen McLarty received her B.A. in Theatre (with an emphasis in acting and directing) from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She also completed Master of Science degrees in both Theatre and Speech at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce.) Andra has taught several speech and introductory theatre courses at the college level. For the past twenty or so years, she has participated in educational and repertory theatre as an actor, designer and/or techie. If necessary, she can do it all at the same time!

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