Sharlene Coleal, assistant superintendent-vice president of Business Services for College of the Canyons, received the 2022 Association of Chief Business Officials Achievement of Excellence Award on Oct. 25 at the ACBO Fall 2022 Conference.
Formerly known as the Walter Star Robie Award, the ACBO award is presented to distinguished community college business administration professionals who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and exemplary service to California community colleges since 1988.
“I am honored to have been selected by my community college chief business official colleagues for this prestigious award,” said Coleal. “I credit Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook for her leadership, our COC board for their support, my COC colleagues for their collaboration, my managers and staff for their standard of excellence and my CBO peers for their shared expertise. This award acknowledges the culmination of professional accomplishments of a chief business officer, both at their college and at a statewide level, and to receive it at this point in my career is an incredible recognition.”
In her 21 years of service to the college, Coleal’s demonstrated fiscal acumen and business administration experience led to numerous milestones and achievements. Chief among them is providing fiscal oversight for more than $500 million of general obligation bonds that funded numerous projects at both COC campuses.
During Coleal’s tenure, the college’s annual budget grew from $82.5 million in 2001-02 to $361.5 million in 2022-23 as enrollment increased from 12,726 in 2001 to more than 32,000 in 2021-2022. Throughout that period of growth, the district achieved balanced budgets and clean audits year after year under Coleal’s leadership.
Van Hook considers promoting Coleal to the role of CBO in 2002 “an excellent decision.”
Van Hook added: “At College of the Canyons, we have a tagline: ‘If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can do it.’ We have done that due to the amazing team we have and because of Sharlene’s talents and care. I congratulate Sharlene for receiving the 2022 ACBO Achievement of Excellence Award. Her unique talents, ambitions, intelligence and accomplishments complement precisely the stellar community of past recipients and make her highly deserving of the honor.”
Coleal’s service to the district also includes serving as a mentor for district leadership programs and aspiring leaders. She provides administrative oversight for the district’s Budget, Payroll, Fiscal, Grants and, Contracts/Procurement departments and serves as the treasurer and board member for the COC Foundation. She has participated in numerous State Chancellor’s Office committees and workgroups and has been active in statewide advocacy throughout her years in the system.
After earning her associate degree from Antelope Valley College, Coleal earned her bachelor’s of science degree in accounting from California State University, Los Angeles, and her master’s degree in business administration from California State University, Northridge.
She has a 26-year-old daughter who received her associate degree from COC before transferring to UC Santa Barbara, where she graduated with an environmental studies degree in 2020 and is working in that field.