The Santa Clarita Community College District board of trustees, which oversees College of the Canyons, swore in recently elected board members, elected its new officers, received recognitions for service, and set its 2023 meeting schedule at the board’s business and organizational meeting held on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
At the beginning of the meeting, COC Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook, board members and local government representatives recognized trustee Michael Berger, who retired from the board after 13 years of service.
“When someone introduces me as part of College of the Canyons, the pride that I have is unbelievable,” said Berger, who is a COC alumnus, former member of the COC Foundation board of directors, and past winner of the foundation’s Silver Spur Award for Community Service.
“People recognize College of the Canyons because it’s such a great place,” he said. “It’s such a great place because we have world-class faculty, the greatest administration possible, and the best CEO/chancellor in the world. It is my honor and privilege to have served the district for 13 years and also the foundation for 20 prior to that.”
Berger received resolutions and certificates of commendation honoring his leadership, dedication and service to the college, and speakers complimented his integrity, generosity, care for students and commitment to Santa Clarita.
Berger was replaced on the board by Chuck Lyon, who ran unopposed during the general election in November, to represent Trustee Area 1.
Lyon brings to the board 35 years of experience within the California Community College system, having served 12 years as a faculty member/coach at Pasadena City College and 23 years at COC as a teacher, coach, athletic director and dean.
“It is an honor to serve College of the Canyons as a board member,” said Lyon. “The college means so much to me. I look forward to working alongside my fellow board members to ensure that COC continues to provide every student with a high-quality and affordable education.”
Before moving to the dean/athletic director position in 2017, Lyon served as COC’s athletic director from 2007 to 2016. He served various roles while a faculty member at the college from 1998 to 2007, including head football coach and department chairman of the Physical Education Division.
Prior to becoming the college’s athletic director, Lyon led the COC football program from 1998 through the 2006 season. He helped the program win its first and only national and state championships in 2004, while going a perfect 14-0. Following that season Lyon was named the National Community College Football Coach of the Year.
In 2017, Lyon’s 2004 national championship team was inducted into the COC Athletic Hall of Fame. Lyon also holds the honor of being the first player to score a touchdown in Cougar Stadium as quarterback of the COC football team, 1973-1974.
Lyon earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific University. He lives in Valencia with his wife, Gabi, and has two children, Tiffany and Tyler.
The board also selected its officers for 2023. Edel Alonso, who led the board the past two years through the aftermath of COVID-19, a successful accreditation process, and the issuance of Measure E bonds, was selected by her fellow trustees to serve an unprecedented third year as president of the board for 2023.
A retired COC counselor and professor, Alonso has resided in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1986. She was first elected to the board in 2016 to represent Trustee Area 2.
“My main goal continues to be to provide instruction and services that ensure student success,” said Alonso. “I am honored to be selected for a third year as president of the board and look forward to continuing to work with my fellow trustees, administrators, faculty and staff to meet the needs of the students and our community. It is a pleasure to be part of such a dynamic institution.”
The board voted to select Sebastian C.M. Cazares as vice president. The youngest elected official in L.A. County, Cazares was a student leader at COC and is now pursuing a master’s degree in public policy from UCLA. He was elected to the board in 2020 in Trustee Area 3.
Joan MacGregor, who is the longest-serving public official in Santa Clarita, having served on the Sulphur Springs Union School District board prior to her election to the COC board in 1993, ran unopposed in November and was sworn in at the meeting to represent Trustee Area 5. MacGregor was selected to serve as board clerk.
Van Hook was selected by the board to be secretary-parliamentarian.
Lastly, the board set its calendar for 2023. Meeting dates are available online at canyons.edu.
The board meets at the Valencia Campus in the University Center (Room 301), unless otherwise noted. Open sessions are usually scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. However, board meeting start times will be adjusted as needed. Any special meetings or study sessions that may be scheduled will be added to the board’s website.