VCCCD would like you to get to know the staff and faculty who contribute their time, talent & education to the success of our students. We will regularly highlight employees across all four campuses, sharing their professional expertise, their educational path, and a few fun facts about them.
What does that entail?
I work with faculty, staff and the administration to improve and increase the staffing, services and equipment on campus for Moorpark College’s students.
How long have you worked for the District?
I started as a provisional grant director in the fall of 2018, becoming full-time the following spring. Prior to that, I helped write and facilitate the two-year MakerSpace grant on campus. [MakerSpace is a place for students and faculty to explore new technologies, to work on entrepreneurial and class projects and to gather with others who enjoy making things.] I have also taught journalism on campus since 2000.
Were you a student at one of the District’s colleges and if so which one? What was your major and your degree?
While I didn’t attend any of our district’s colleges, I did go through the two-year journalism program at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). That was after I had already earned my bachelor’s degree from U.C. Berkeley. The SBCC training helped me get my first daily newspaper job at the Tahoe Daily Tribune in South Lake Tahoe and fostered my love for the transformational work done by community colleges.
Are you from the area and if not where are you from?
I am a native Californian, born in Los Angeles. I was reared in the San Joaquin Valley town of Clovis, near the Sierra Foothills. My wife, Joanna Miller, and I have lived in Ventura County since 1985. We currently reside in Simi Valley.
Share something personal about yourself:
The book that’s now on my end table at home is “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. Next up is “Harlem Shuffle,” the new book by Colson Whitehead. The best books I read last year were “Winter Counts” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden, a thriller based on the South Dakota Rosebud Indian Reservation, and “The Vanishing Half,” the racial identity story of twin sisters born in a small town in Louisiana.
On the screen, like much of America, I’m enjoying the comedy “Ted Lasso.” Joanna and I just started watching “The Morning Show,” the drama set in a network television show based in New York City.
For other hobbies, I’m trying to keep the insect pests off a couple tomato plants in the side yard at home.
What do you find rewarding about your job or career?
Categorical funding or grants are about using new sources of money to improve the college for our students. This job is about working with faculty and staff members to identify needs and opportunities and then finding ways to fulfill those needs. Once we get funded, the work shifts to making sure that the college effectively invests and uses the funds to meet our desired goals. I’m particularly enthused about the college’s STEM Impacto grant, which is designed to work with students in biotechnology, biology and computer network systems engineering. We are taking a very scientific approach to the work there, gathering data on student success that not only fulfills the grant’s objectives, but should also help us clearly see what tools and techniques help Hispanic and low-income students succeed in STEM fields.
A few words to describe yourself:
Work in Progress
Do you do any volunteer work? If so, what?
I’m currently serving on the board of the Moorpark College Foundation. In the past, I have served on the board of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce, including chairman of the Street Fair Committee. I have also served as past president of the Simi Valley Education Foundation and on the board of the Simi Valley Cultural Foundation.
While working at the Ventura County Star for a couple decades in a previous career, I served on the board and as president of the California Society of Newspaper Editors.
While my sons were growing up, I coached AYSO [American Youth Soccer Organization] teams for a half dozen years.