Manheim Township Names 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

In May of 2021, the Manheim Township Alumni Association named the newest recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award. The 2021 award winners are Aaron M. Pallas, class of 1975; Suzanne E Landis MD, MPH, class of 1970; and Maribeth N. Bisienere, class of 1979.

Each year, the winners are invited to speak to the graduating class during commencement rehearsal. However, due to COVID restrictions, the committee and high school administration determined it would be best for the winners to submit a video message that could be shared with the students.

We hope that this year’s winners can join us next year for an in-person reception. If you would like to make a donation in honor of one of the candidates, please forward it to MTAA, 450A Candlewyck Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

Maribeth N. Bisienere, ‘79 is the senior vice president of Resorts, Transportation, Premium Services, Security and the Food & Beverage line of business, creating one-of-a-kind Disney experiences for millions of guests every year at the Walt Disney World Resort. As part of her role, Maribeth leads a team that offers premium experiences, including Disney Signature Services with unique tours and specialty offerings, the legendary Club 33 and the Golden Oak community which features luxury, custom single-family homes.

Before assuming her current role, Maribeth was the senior vice president of Walt Disney World Parks and Animals, Science and Environment, overseeing all four theme parks. She was closely involved in the redevelopment of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (including opening Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy Edge), the multiyear transformation of Epcot, the strategic expansion of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the re-imagining of Disney Springs, the development of the Guest Experience Team, and the launch of the “Be Well, Be You” Cast wellness program. 

During her more than 20 years with Disney, Maribeth has held leadership positions in diverse businesses across the organization, including Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Merchandise Operations line of business, Cast and Guest Experience Strategy, Diversity and Inclusion, New Business Development, and Operating Participants and Corporate Alliance Development. Maribeth also dedicates her time to various resource groups within the company. She has served as executive champion for the Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN), Diversity Resource Group and launched the inaugural International Women’s Day conference at Walt Disney World Resort. 

With a passion for community service, Maribeth serves the Central Florida community as a board member for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and Enterprise Florida. She also sits on the Board of Trustees for Johnson & Wales University. She attended Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania, she completed the Hotel General Managers Program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Johnson & Wales University in 2018.

 

Suzanne E Landis MD, MPH, ’70 professional passion is achieving universal access to high quality health care that meets the needs of every person. She has worked tirelessly to train young physicians, to reorganize primary care services to better suit the needs of elderly patients and their families, and to design and implement a structured charity care program for low-income uninsured persons called Project Access.

Dr. Landis graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1978, completed an Internal Medicine residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981, worked in the Tennessee mountains and West Palm Beach Health Department from 1981-1984 for the National Health Service Corps, obtained a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in 1986, and completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship in 1986. She started on faculty at UNC in 1986 and transferred her work of caring for patients, teaching, conducting community-based research, and improving access to care to Asheville, NC in 1987. Dr. Landis is a tenured professor emeritus with UNC and currently is working part-time with the new Internal Medicine residency program at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, a branch of UNC Health Sciences, in Asheville, NC. She is also lending her expertise to the grants committee of the Dogwood Health Trust, a community foundation newly formed to improve the health of the people of Western North Carolina.

Dr. Landis is married to William McKenna MD, an infectious disease physician. She has three children Margaret Adams an analyst with the Government Accountability Office in Washington DC, Lizzie Cozart a development officer with the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville NC, and Andrew McKenna an analyst with The State Department in Washington DC. She has four grandchildren and tries to see them as often as possible! She enjoys cycling, tennis, pickleball, hiking in the Asheville mountains, and reading.

 

Aaron M. Pallas, ‘75 is the Arthur I. Gates Professor of Sociology and Education and Chair of the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has also taught at Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Northwestern University, and served as a statistician at the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. 

In high school, Pallas was the involved with National Honor Society, Hi-Lite and Cross-Country. He attended the University of Virginia and received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University.

Professor Pallas uses a variety of research tools to inform the public about the relevance and usability of educational research for policy and practice. He educates stakeholders—including representatives of the media—about the complexities and unexpected consequences of accountability and resource distribution policies in public schools. His current work, taken up by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and a variety of media reaching local political leaders, policymakers, parents, and voters, illuminates these dynamics across New York City, New York State and beyond.

Pallas’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of research to enhance educational discourse in the public sphere draw on his studies of the linkages between education policy and inequalities in life chances and the role of schooling in the course of human lives. His research has also addressed the sociology of teaching and teachers' work and careers, including teacher accountability systems, undergraduate teaching improvement, and the preparation of education researchers.

A former editor of the American Sociological Association journal Sociology of Education, he is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and an elected member of the National Academy of Education and of the Sociological Research Association, the preeminent honorary society of sociology scholars. He has also served as Chair of the Sociology of Education and Sociology of Children and Youth sections of the American Sociological Association.