An Olympian, Emmy Award winner, architect and school board trustee: Meet Thomas Jefferson’s most distinguished alumni

Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD

From an Olympian to an Emmy Award winner, several Thomas Jefferson graduates saw success after they left the Dallas public school.

Four of these former students were honored as distinguished alumni at Thomas Jefferson Alumni Association’s annual awards ceremony.  They weren’t the only ones recognized at the event, however. Parent and longtime staff member Annette Elliott received the Distinguished Service Award for her volunteer efforts.

The graduates that were honored are:

  • H. Russell “Rusty” Brutsche, who graduated from the North Dallas high school in 1963. He won three Emmys for outstanding achievement in engineering after he created the Vari-Lite, a computer-controlled stage lighting system. As the founder of the audio systems company Showco, Brutsche’s first customers were Three Dog Night and Led Zeppelin.
  • Michael Carter, who earned a silver medal in the shot put at the 1984 Olympics and a Super Bowl ring with the San Francisco 49ers that same year. As a member of the Class of 1979, Carter set a national high school record in the field event.
  • Craig Melde, who co-founded Architexas, an architecture firm that specializes in historic preservation. Melde also helped establish the Dallas Historic Preservation Program and the Dallas Arts District.
  • Audrey Pinkerton, a Dallas ISD trustee and president of the commercial construction firm Forward Concept, LLC.

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