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State trustees recognize 6 for dedication to state’s community and technical colleges

May 13, 2015 by Katie Rose

Contacts: Katie Rose, communications and marketing associate,
Kim Tanaka, ACT director, 360-704-4307,

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) announced today five people and one organization as the association’s 2015 ACT Award winners. The annual award recognizes dedication to Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges and the nearly 388,000 students they serve each year. The six awardees are:

The boards of trustees at each college submitted award nominations for consideration by ACT. The association will formally honor the awardees at its spring convention in Spokane May 14.

“Community and technical colleges touch the lives of thousands of people throughout our state. It’s impossible to count the ways the colleges affect students, graduates, employees, volunteers, employers and members of the community,” said Kim Tanaka, ACT director. “These awards are ACT’s way of saying ‘thank you’ for the fantastic job people do day in and day out in service to these colleges and their students.”

The 2015 ACT Award winners are:

  • Trustee Leadership Award: Greg Bever, trustee, Community Colleges of Spokane. Bever currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Community Colleges  of Spokane and is president of ACT. He retired in 2012 as publisher of Spokane’s Journal of Business. As an advocate for first-generation students, adult basic education students and veterans, Bever also works to streamline outdated statutes that add costs to higher education. Among lawmakers and opinion leaders, Bever advocates for students throughout the state on issues like federal financial aid, workforce funding, higher education tax credits, and stronger ties between colleges and business.
  • CEO Award: Dr. David Mitchell, president, Olympic College. Under Dr.
    Mitchell’s leadership, Olympic College was one of the first six community and technical colleges to offer an applied baccalaureate program. The college was a top 10 finalist for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The institute noted that 90 percent of Olympic apprenticeships complete their programs, and all of those students were placed in jobs. It also recognized that Olympic graduates earn 80 percent more than the region’s other new hires.
  • Partner of the Year: Samaritan Healthcare, Moses Lake, nominated by Big Bend Community College. Samaritan Healthcare has shared its resources with Big Bend for more than 50 years, donating more than $780,000 in supplies, salary, benefits and employee volunteer time. Locally, Samaritan encouraged, supported and helped launch three healthcare programs at Big Bend. Its officials continue to serve on college advisory committees, providing sound guidance and advice on new and existing programs. Samaritan’s scholarships enable students to overcome financial barriers as they train for high-demand careers in the healthcare industry.
  • Equity Award: Terry Kinzel, director of Title V, Big Bend Community
    College. Kinzel wrote and received federal grants that brought millions to the college to improve student access, completion, transfer and employment rates. She collaborated with faculty and staff to design and develop space for a campus Student Success Center, then obtained a federal Hispanic-Serving Institute STEM grant to fund part of the remodel. Kinzel also encouraged math faculty members to develop and employ an “inverted” instructional model that improved success rates for precollege math from 50 to 80 percent.
  • Faculty Member Award: Dr. Ryann Leonard, faculty, Big Bend Community College. Dr. Leonard teaches psychology and criminal justice courses at Big Bend Community College. She uses multiple ways of teaching in her traditional and online classrooms, adopting integrated and interactive online tools and training her colleagues on teaching methods. Her leadership of the Big Bend Assessment Committee has strengthened the process for gauging what students know and how well they’re learning. 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.
  • Professional Staff Member Award: Carl Young, executive director of college advancement, Skagit Valley College. Young developed and runs an event to fund scholarships for the college’s Champions of Diversity program and serves as a liaison to local and statewide Latino organizations. He represented the college on initiatives to create a law enforcement training center and raise funds for the McIntyre Hall Performing Arts & Conference Center. As director of the college’s foundation, Young oversaw the doubling of the foundation’s assets to $11 million and annual gift amounts. He is now working to improve student housing and develop additional housing options.

ACT is the statewide association of trustees of the 30 community and technical college districts. It supports and coordinates trustee efforts in education, communication and advocacy. Trustees serve five-year terms and are appointed by the governor with consent of the Washington state Senate.

Last Modified: 6/19/20 1:16 PM
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