Long time Juneau campus English faculty Sara Minton passed on Thursday, April 2, 2015 due to complications from ALS disease at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, her husband Bruce Twomley at her side.
Sara Minton truly was an indelible person. She was a familiar sight and sound in the Juneau campus corridors, with her suitcase full of books on wheels and hearty laugh. Sara was a fixture in the UAS English program, from coordinating lower-division writing assessment to serving on the board of Tidal Echoes to serving in either adjunct or term positions until her retirement at the end of 2014. Sara was a staunch supporter of UAS, making time to attend numerous events and functions. Her presence among us will be deeply missed.
Sara taught a number of composition courses for the English program, but her concentration was in ENGL 092 and ENGL 110, both on the developmental level. She taught developmental studies, reading, and composition at UA’s Anchorage and Juneau campuses for more than 30 years.
Sara earned her B.F.A. in Secondary Art Education, at the University of Denver in 1970 and her Masters in Education in Reading, Adult Learners from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 1976.
Prior to moving to Juneau, she was a full-time faculty member at Anchorage Community College, beginning in the early 1980s. While there, she distinguished herself through her strong and passionate devotion to adult learners, providing them with Adult Basic Education and reading instruction through the campus's Learning Center as well as the UA System's "University within Walls" prison program. After transferring to the Juneau campus, she taught ABE and reading classes both at the Lemon Creek prison facility and at UAS's Learning Center, where she helped to coordinate an intensive remedial support program for the campus's at-risk students.
In the early 1990s, Sara relinquished her tenure-track position so she could focus on adopting and raising two brothers from Honduras, Christopher and Jonathan. Although motherhood had become her primary focus, she continued to serve UAS as an adjunct, transitioning into the teaching of developmental composition courses. During this period, she functioned for a number of semesters as the regional coordinator of UAS's lower-division writing assessment program and, among other things, represented UAS in statewide meetings to ensure that cutoff scores for the system's placement tests were aligned across its many campuses.
According to her good friend and colleague Nina Chordas, she helped countless students gain the writing proficiency required for advancing to college-level writing courses, acting by turns as taskmaster and cheerleader. Her sense of humor and ready laughter were a hallmark of her personality, both in the classroom and outside; she could be sharp and funny at the same time.
Former colleague Don Cecil wrote, "Those English faculty who knew Sara the longest remember how much she loved Adult Basic Education and how passionately she spoke of what it could do for those students in real need of a helping hand, especially those who were returning students or members of underrepresented minorities. However, all English faculty will remember Sara's devotion to the people in the department and how much she contributed to the life of its meetings and many social gatherings. She was a joy to be around, and her unexpected passing comes as a terrible shock to those of us who loved her."