Tom Dierckman | Watson and Jenkins a Winning Combo

Letters to the Editor
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As a longtime resident, businessman, Santa Clarita Valley community leader, parent of a College of the Canyons student, and current member and past chairman of the COC Foundation board, it’s a privilege to encourage you to vote for Michele Jenkins, Area 4, and Tony Watson, Area 2, for the COC board of trustees on Nov. 3. 

I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Michele and Tony for many years to the benefit of our community and the entire region served by COC. Both have a demonstrated passion for community college education born out of their own experience as COC students. 

As a current trustee with many years of experience, Michele Jenkins has proven her insight and leadership as the college has grown from 4,000 students in the 1980s to more than 25,000 students. She has been instrumental in guiding the change that helped to transform COC into a highly recognized and frequently awarded higher educational institution. From athletic expansion, to the Performing Arts Center, her efforts to secure the University Center and Culinary Institute, waiving tuition for high school students to get a jump start on their education at COC, establishing the Academy of the Canyons, being actively involved in advocating for funds from the state that have increased the college’s budget from $8 million to more than $100 million, and visioning and realizing the Canyon Country campus, Michelle is proven. She is endorsed by educators, teachers, student leaders, law enforcement, our K-12 and business partners. She listens and puts students and their education first. 

As a result of Michele’s work, COC stands out from the rest in transfer success, work force training, leadership of community college initiatives, and sets an exceptional standard for other colleges to follow. 

As an honored COC Distinguished Alumnus and having grown up in Santa Clarita, Tony Watson has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the college and community. He is an accomplished local businessman, deeply committed to his family, and exceptionally passionate about serving others on numerous levels. Tony has served on the board of the SCV Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club, Child & Family Center, William S. Hart Baseball and Centro de Amor Cristiano. Tony brings his sincere passion for education, his exceptional work ethic, and a thoughtful approach to opportunities and problem solving to the COC board of trustees. His proven leadership skills coupled with his integrity and ability to achieve consensus separate him from others running for the trustee seat in Area 2. Tony brings a vibrant, experienced perspective that will facilitate COC’s ability to provide the highest-quality education benefitting students and businesses alike. Tony’s work will help enable COC to anticipate and meet the region’s wide-ranging educational needs well into the future. 

Today, a great education is more important than ever in securing the future of our community, our country, and the world at large. Our continued success in providing the highest quality, yet affordable education is clearly a function of the people we elect to lead us forward. Michele Jenkins and Tony Watson are proven, experienced and highly capable leaders we can trust to take COC forward. I urge you to vote for Michele and Tony on Nov. 3.

Tom Dierckman

Valencia

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