President’s Award for Leadership and Innovation Winners Announced

Dr. Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College, is pleased to announce the eight recipients of the 2012 President’s Award for Leadership and Innovation, which annually recognizes college faculty, staff and management who have demonstrated the spirit of leadership and innovation throughout the year. Dr. Burnett recognized the following employees: Renee Bangerter, professor of English; Kim Branch-Stewart, professor of human services; Abigail Astley, counselor; Brock Schermerhorn, real estate instructor; Deborah Armstrong, library technician; Donna Pribyl, senior graphic designer; Jon Ginnaty, senior lab technician; and Christian Alvarado, director of financial assistance.

Dr. Burnett stated, “Congratulations! Each award recipient has gone above and beyond to find new and innovative ways to meet the increasing demands of our students. I am very proud to have such exemplary employees at Saddleback College and they are indicative of the tremendous efforts made by all of our faculty, staff, and management.”

Dr. Bob Cosgrove, president of Saddleback College’s Academic Senate, stated, “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘The choice you don't know is the choice you can't make,’ and I think this can be said about the award winners--they discovered choices and shared them with others so that better decisions can be made.”

Don Mineo, president of Saddleback College’s Classified Senate, stated, “Being innovative and serving as effective leaders is an everyday occurrence in the life of classified employees and it’s exciting that individuals are recognized for the savings and better working conditions they bring to our college. With decreasing funding to education, innovations in technology are needed more now than ever before. Congratulations to the 2012 award winners and nominees!”

2012 Award Recipients

Faculty: Renee Bangerter

Bangerter co-chairs the English Professional Learning Council, through which she established a partnership with high school teachers from the Capistrano, Saddleback Valley, and Laguna Beach Unified School Districts. The council partnered with to write six common core rubrics that are now used by teachers throughout the nation. 

Faculty: Kim Branch-Stewart

Branch-Stewart led human services faculty in identifying core courses needed by all human services students and encouraged students to complete those courses, which has increased student readiness along with the number of students completing certificates and has aided students in completing multiple human services certificates.

Associate Faculty: Abigail Astley

Astley proposed and piloted a new Applied Psychology 1 course for international students, helping them through the matriculation process and creating their academic plans.  The class provides information to international students about various aspects of the U.S. educational system and the campus resources that are available to them. 

Associate Faculty: Brock Schermerhorn

Schermerhorn is commended for helping to elevate Saddleback’s real estate program as one of the top two programs in the state. His successful outreach efforts have focused in part on newly-discharged veterans at Camp Pendleton who have pursued careers in real estate after earning their certificates and degrees at Saddleback.

Classified Manager: Christian Alvarado

In Alvarado’s short tenure, he has transformed the slow, paper-heavy financial aid process into an efficient, automated system. The process for awarding financial aid used to take three months but, under Alvarado’s leadership, awards are approved in 30 days or less.

Classified Staff: Deborah Armstrong

Through collaborative efforts, and while library faculty were mostly off-site, Armstrong overcame several challenges to re-open the library in its new location in the LRC on the first day of fall semester classes.  In very limited time, she found solutions to shelve the textbook collection, ensured that all technology was up and running.

Classified Staff: Donna Pribyl

Pribyl is commended for moving the college brand forward by creating high-quality graphic design work that is seen throughout our college campus and community in the form of banners, printed marketing materials, web design work, special event pieces, and other marketing collateral.

Part-Time Classified Staff: Jon Ginnaty

Over the past year, Ginnaty worked extensively with Keenan and Associates to develop safety standards for the college’s art programs, and has been instrumental in coordinating several activities that bring the community to our campus, including the Printmaking Steam-Roller party, Happening/Unhappening, the Veterans Chili Bowl fundraiser, and the student holiday art sale.