College presents Service Awards to honor personnel

College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook shares a story about how a vision for the campus was developed in the 1980s and 1990s during a ceremony marking the completion of a parking structure on campus. Austin Dave/The Signal

College of the Canyons presents its Service Awards every year to honor the staff, faculty members and administrators who have provided years of service to the college and helped make it what it is today.

“It is often said that people make the places, and that is certainly true about College of the Canyons since the start,” Chancellor Dianne Van Hook said in a news release. “We are honored to attract and retain such talented and passionate people who make our college a better place in every way.”

Among the 75 staff, faculty members, administrators and board members who were recognized with Service Awards this year, Gary Peterson, Stephanie Paglia and Michele Jenkins have served the longest, with each marking 35 years at the college.

Michele Jenkins

As the longest-serving COC board member, Jenkins’ connection to the college dates back to the beginning, according to a news release from the college. Jenkins was a COC student when the college opened for its first semester in fall 1969. 

Having been a board member since 1984, Jenkins has also provided leadership at the state level by serving on the California Community College Trustees board of directors, where she remained from 1994 to 2005.

“Michele Jenkins was a member of the board of trustees that hired me in 1988. She took a chance on me, and it has been an honor to work alongside her for the past 31 years,” Van Hook said.

Stephanie Paglia

Paglia is a Bronx native and administrative assistant who has worked in the Academic Affairs Office for the past 35 years. 

Like so many of her peers, she is also a former COC student who graduated with an associate’s degree in office automation before joining the college’s classified staff in 1984.

In addition, Paglia is co-chair of the Classified Staffing Committee and a member of the Emergency Preparedness Plan Committee, according to the news release. She received the California School Employees Association Member of the Year Award in 2017.  

Peterson has worked in many different roles during his 35-year tenure at COC, including as the coordinator of student activities, division chair, faculty association president, coach of cross country and golf teams, communications instructor, cinema instructor and department chair, according to the college.

“His golf teams are highly successful, winning nine state championships with the men’s team and three with the women’s team, making him (the) winningest coach in California Community College Athletic Association golf history,” the news release stated. He is a two-time COC Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee with 25 Western State Conference Championships for men’s golf and nine for women’s golf.

“An avid cinephile, (Peterson’s) ‘Guido Santi Friday Night Film Program’ ensures that ‘the best films never seen in the Santa Clarita Valley’ are shared with the campus and local community,” the release added.

Other Service Awards honorees include:

30 years of service

  • Dr. Bernardo Feldman

25 years of service

  • Reynaldo Briones
  • Gary Dickinson
  • Fred Escalante 

20 years of service 

  • Kevin Anthony
  • Anna Avila
  • Thomas Bilbruck
  • Danielle Butts
  • Kerry Carlson
  • Kelly Dapp
  • Lonnie Davis
  • Robert Dos Remedios
  • Christopher Ferguson
  • Kathy Flynn
  • Collette Gibson
  • James Glapa-Grossklag
  • Mike Harutunian
  • Susan Hinshaw
  • Victor Jadaon
  • Belinda Kane
  • Luong Le
  • Sherrill Pennington
  • Patricia Robinson
  • Phylise Smith
  • David Stevenson
  • John Varga

15 years of service

  • Pete Acevedo
  • Tammy Bathke
  • Carol Bean
  • Kathy Benz
  • Diane Fiero
  • Jamie Page
  • Wendy Trujillo

10 years of service

  • Michael Berger
  • Gladys Cordova
  • Rachel Houghton
  • Sharon Kramer
  • Fernando Martinez
  • Aivee Ortega
  • Adrian Perez
  • Tina Rorick
  • Lolesio Takapu
  • Thomas Thompson

5 years of service

  • Diana Barahona
  • Cecilia Bravo
  • Ronald Bricker
  • Lindsey Ceo
  • Hencelyn Chu
  • Dean Currie
  • Joe Flores
  • Joni Giberson-McMahon
  • Jeremy Goodman
  • Melinda Gray
  • Tim Honadel
  • Julie Hovden
  • Virginia Hutchens
  • Travis Kalusa
  • Jenna King
  • Brett Lahey
  • Jerry Langham
  • Sherrell Lewis
  • James Maldonado
  • Rian Medlin
  • Michael Monsour
  • Juan Renteria
  • Erika Rodriguez
  • Lein Smith
  • Diane Stucker
  • Gina Thompson
  • Susan Tuminaro
  • Howard Yamamoto
  • Lauren Yeh

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