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Washington college president and instructor win Pacific Region trustee awards

August 04, 2015 by Katie Rose

Contact: Katie Rose, 360-704-4367,

OLYMPIA, Wash — Two Washington state community college educators received regional honors from the Association of Community College Trustees on July 29.

Dr. Linda Kaminski, president of Yakima Valley Community College, was named 2015 Pacific Region CEO award winner. Dr. Ryann Leonard, psychology and criminal justice faculty at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, earned the 2015 Pacific Region Faculty award. The ACCT Pacific Region consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and the Pacific Islands, and British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in Canada. Kaminski and Leonard will be honored at the ACCT Congress in San Diego, Calif. on Oct. 16.

“This national recognition is a great honor,” said Kim Tanaka, director of the Washington State Association of College Trustees. “We’re proud of the work Drs. Kaminski and Leonard do every day in service to the Yakima Valley and Big Bend communities.”

Dr. Kaminski has served as Yakima Valley Community College’s president since 1995. ACCT recognized her efforts to increase the college’s student retention rate across a range of learners, from literacy to baccalaureate degrees. Kaminski implemented High School 21-Plus, a competency-based high school equivalency program for adult learners without a high school diploma. YVCC joined the Achieving the Dream (AtD) student success initiative in 2006 and has been an AtD Leader College since 2010, mentoring other colleges that join the program.

YVCC launched a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business Management in fall 2014. The degree, the first of its kind at the college, responds to local industry needs and is geared toward working adults.

Under Dr. Kaminski’s leadership, YVCC also created undergraduate research opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, and research assistant jobs in the college’s psychology department.

Dr. Leonard has taught psychology and criminal justice courses at Big Bend Community College since 2005. She uses multiple ways of teaching in her traditional and online classrooms, adopting distance learning platforms and training her colleagues on those methods of teaching.

Her leadership of the BBCC Assessment Committee has strengthened assessment work on the campus. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr. Leonard works within the community and region to reduce alcohol and substance abuse-related deaths and injuries by collaborating with emergency agencies to stage mock crashes, active shooter scenarios, and community and college workshops.

As regional award winners, Drs. Kaminski and Leonard will now advance as candidates for national ACCT awards.

ACCT is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern more than 1,200 community and technical colleges in the United States and beyond.

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Last Modified: 6/18/18 3:43 PM
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