What a Terrific Welcome Back Week!


Last week I had the opportunity to reunite with faculty, associate faculty, classified staff and management to share the highlights of my annual State of the College report and share goals and updates for the upcoming semester.

Over the course of the week, I presented my State of the College report titled, “A Culture of Excellent.” The title for this year’s report was inspired in-part by being named the number one community college in California by Schools.com. Saddleback’s collegewide commitment to excellence is also clearly stated in our vision, “To be the first choice of students who seek a dynamic, innovative, and student-centered post-secondary education.” To be the “first choice” we must excel, and our culture of excellence is led by one of the most talented, driven, results-oriented, and student success-focused teams of faculty, staff and management in the college’s history.

With that, I would like to share with you the Top 10 Projects for the 2015-2016 academic year:

1. Enrollments
2. Institutional Effectiveness
3. Accreditation
4. Economic and Workforce Development
5. Instruction, Student Services, and Administrative Services Operating Guidelines
6. Title IX Coordinator
7. Reinventing Student Services
8. Employee Training and Development Survey
9. Disaster Preparedness Training
10. Governance and Organization Manual

One of my favorite parts of Welcome Week is the welcoming of the new staff and full-time faculty. This year I had the pleasure of introducing the following individuals who join the Gaucho family:


New Faculty Introduced at the Faculty Breakfast

New Faculty
Jacqueline Bloink – Assistant Professor, Health Information Technology – Health Sciences and Human Services
Hollis Casey – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services
Sheryl Christensen – Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services
Evan Enright – Assistant Professor, Mathematics – Mathematics, Science and Engineering
Karla Frizler – Assistant Professor, ESL Instructor – Liberal Arts
Michelle Gustafson – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services
Kathleen Lunetto – Assistant Professor, Culinary Arts – Advanced Technology and Applied Science
Jonathan Luque – Assistant Professor, Mathematics – Mathematics, Science and Engineering
Nicole Major – Assistant Professor, Gerontology/Sociology – Social and Behavioral Sciences
Julie McGirr – Assistant Professor, ESL – Liberal Arts
Aimee Mucciaro – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Articulation & Generalist) – Counseling Services
Pete Murray – Assistant Professor, Humanities – Liberal Arts
Jacqueline Novak – Clinical Specialist, Nursing – Health Sciences and Human Services
Timothy Posada – Assistant Professor, Journalism – Liberal Arts
Lisa Tran – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services

New Academic Administrators & Managers
Israel Dominguez – Director of Economic and Workforce Development – Economic & Workforce Development and Business Science
Partick Higa – Chief of Police – Office of Safety and Security
John Jaramillo – Dean, Economic & Workforce Development and Business Science
James Rondeau – Director of College Broadcast Services – Fine Arts and Media Technology

New Classified Staff Introduced at Classified Luncheon

New Classified Staff Introduced at Classified Luncheon

New Classified Employees
Sonja Arnak – International Student Program Specialist – International Students Center, Admissions, Records and Enrollment Services
Samuel Caroll – Utility Custodian – Facilities, Custodial Services, Office of Physical Plant
Rick Chan – Senior Matriculation Specialist – Matriculation, Counseling Services
Stacy Demore – Front of House Assistant – Administration, Fine Arts and Media Technology
Rosane Faanes – Publications Technician – Graphic Services, Office of College Publications
Darline Guillen – Disabled Student Program Specialist , Disabled Students Programs and Services – Transfer, Career and Special Programs
Leslie Haugen – Senior. Administrative Assistant, Administration – Advanced Technology and Applied Science
Albert Lao – Network Systems Technician I, Innovation Technology Center – Office of College Technology
Heather Larson – Scheduling & Enrollment Planning Analyst, Administration – Office of Instruction
Diana Lloyd – Office Assistant, Career Center – Transfer, Career and Special Programs
Jeffrey Long – Senior Matriculation Specialist, Matriculation – Counseling Services
Emily Maynard – Student Development Office Assistant, Administration – Office of Student Development
Janet Miller – Senior Administrative Assistant, Community Education – Community Education, Emeritus Institute, and K-12 Partnerships
Alex Prado – Utility Custodian, Custodial Services – Office of Physical Plant
Felissa Silva – Child Development Specialist, Children’s Center – Office of Student Services
Christine Swanson – Senior Administrative Assistant, Administration – Athletics
Karen Ullrich – Child Development Specialist, Children’s Center – Office of Student Services
Patrick Webster – Counseling Office Assistant, Career Center – Transfer, Career and Special Programs

To further the culture of excellent, we will continue Spirit Tuesday, where staff and faculty are encouraged to wear cardinal and gold or Saddleback gear every Tuesday. May the Gaucho Pride shine in everything you do on campus this semester. Wishing you a terrific 2015-2016 academic year!

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President

Saddleback College Ranked First Among California Community Colleges by Schools.com

Mission Viejo, CA – Saddleback College was ranked first among California’s 112 community colleges in an article recently released by Schools.com, which praised Saddleback’s high graduation rates, affordability, and student distance education participation. Ranked second and third were Santa Monica College and Cypress College, respectively.

The report covers California’s community colleges specifically because of their importance not just to the state, but to the nation as a whole: One in every five community college students in the United States is enrolled in a California community college. As such, the economic success of the state and nation relies heavily on the success of California’s community college students.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “It is an honor to be ranked first in a system of wonderful colleges that all provide outstanding programs and services to students. Here at Saddleback, we have worked over the past several years to increase completion rates and provide flexible programming, such as online classes, to the multitude of students who require options beyond the traditional day-time schedule. It is a real pleasure to see our efforts pay off and get this kind of recognition from Schools.com.”

Schools.com, a resource for career-minded students, features information about growing careers and different educational programs — both online and on-campus. The site helps job-seekers and students alike identify potential pathways to success.

To view the article in its entirety, visit http://www.schools.com/articles/top-25-community-colleges-in-california.


Power Week Session Offers a Transition into College For Kids

College For Kids Power Week will kick off on Monday, June 22nd with classes running from 9 am to 3 pm, Monday through Thursday. “Kids and teens will get an opportunity to see what college is all about,” says Dr. Estella Castillo-Garrison, dean of community education, emeritus institute and K-12 partnerships.

Students might start the day learning chess or keyboarding before moving to the science lab to study forensic anthropology, CSI-style, or dig into an archaeological investigation,” she explains. “Budding physicists and engineers can explore classes in rocketry, physics, and chemistry while young mathematicians and tech-inspired students design 3D games, explore robotic systems, and conquer computer code.”

College For Kids Power Week offers a perfect transition between end-of-school activities and the full two-week CFK sessions that span the summer at Saddleback: Session 1 starts June 29th and ends July 9th; Session 2 runs from July 13th to 23rd; and Session 3 kicks off July 27th and wraps up August 6st.

CFK offerings run the gamut — there are academic classes like reading, writing, math, science, and STEM, as well as foreign language offerings in Spanish and Mandarin. In addition, kids from 5 to 17 years of age can explore acting, art, and dance. CFK even offers two extensive theatre programs. Kids who love playing in the summer sunshine will enjoy swimming lessons, lifeguarding, and water polo. Golf lessons, and track, tennis, soccer and volleyball clinics round out the outdoor activities.

College For Kids is just one of several Saddleback College Community Education programs being offered this summer. The Summer 2015 Gaucho Guide features classes that appeal to lifelong learners — from preschoolers to centenarians. In addition to College For Kids and Adult classes, Saddleback College partners with Capistrano Unified School District to present its “Summer Experience” program at 11 local elementary and middle school sites.

Registration for College For Kids, Summer Experience, and adult programs is available online. Register now, or explore the Saddleback College Community Education offerings at www.saddleback.edu/ce.


Congratulations to Classified Employee of the Year, Mark Sierakowski

Mark surrounded by him family and Dr. Tod Burnett, Saddleback College President.

Mark surrounded by him family and Dr. Tod Burnett, Saddleback College President.

Mark Sierakowski has been named the 2014-15 Saddleback College Outstanding Classified Employee of the Year. I and the Board of Trustees had the opportunity to recognize him at last night’s Board of Trustees Meeting.

Mark has served as the college’s network systems administrator for 30 years. In this role, he has helped to design and implement network upgrades throughout the campus and has a role in making sure the college’s central heating and air conditioning server is working properly. Mark and has contributed his service to college governance, having served as president of the Classified Senate and the college’s chapter of the Classified School Employees Association. I thank him for his terrific service and unique dedication to Saddleback College.

Speech and Debate Team Honored at Board of Trustees Meeting

Dr. Tod Burnett flanked by members of the Saddleback College Speech & Debate Team.

Dr. Tod Burnett flanked by members of the Saddleback College Speech & Debate Team.

At last night’s Board of Trustees Meeting, I had the privilege of recognizing the Saddleback College Speech and Debate Team for their fourth place finish at the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament.

The team was entered in the Large School Division Sweepstakes, the most difficult competition level, with 59 other colleges. The top three spots were taken by Orange Coast College placed which placed first overall, Moorpark second, and Mt. San Antonio College third. Students from four-year universities also compete in this competition, including UCLA and Cal State Northridge.

The students in attendance last night are those that placed in individual events:

Kate Rochefort
Gold, persuasion
Bronze, prose
Silver, Readers Theatre

Patrick Leahy
Bronze, prose

Scott Lankford
Bronze, prose
Silver, duo interpretation
Gold, Readers Theatre

Maggie Shephard
Silver, duo interpretation
Silver, Readers Theatre

Alex Sherwood,
Bronze, informative
Silver, International Public Debate Association

Each year I am thoroughly impressed by the caliber of our forensics team and know that the guidance they get from our wonderful coaches – Heidi Ochoa, Larry Radden, and Lucas Ochoa, will only lead them to great things here at Saddleback and beyond.

Congratulations to Our Newly-Tenured Faculty


Dr. Tod Burnett is joined by the newly tenured faculty staff, SOCCCD Chancellor Gary Poertner, and board of trustee members Dr. James Wright and David Lang.

Dr. Tod Burnett is joined by the newly tenured faculty staff, SOCCCD Chancellor Gary Poertner, and board of trustee members Dr. James Wright and David Lang.

Yesterday, I was delighted to welcome the 13 members of our college faculty approved for tenure by the Board of Trustees during a reception held in the Fine Arts courtyard. If you were unable to make it, please join me in congratulating the following faculty to our tenured faculty ranks:

Teresa Bear, Chemistry
Christina Bowles, Nursing
Ryan Even, Photography
Kirill Gliadovsky, Music
Lawrence Grihalva, Emergency Medical Technician
Safiah Mamoon, Health Information Technology
Maria Mayenzet, Screen Acting and Video Production
Patricia McGinley, Nursing
Jedrek Mularski, World History
Lucas Ochoa, Speech
Penelope Skaff, Matriculation and Counseling
Deanna Valdez, Mathematics
Kolin Williams, Counseling (Veterans and Generalist)

Tod A. Burnett, Ed.D.

Saddleback College to Offer Six, Eight, and Ten-Week Summer Class Sessions

Summer class sessions at Saddleback College begin Monday, June 1st and will include more than 800 classes, with 34 additional classes added since last summer. Six, eight, and ten-week sessions will be offered. The start dates for each are as follows:

June 1st
Six, eight, and ten-week classes

June 15th
Six and eight-week classes

June 29th
Six-week classes

Applications are being accepted for the summer session. To attend, visit saddleback.edu to submit an application and review our schedule of classes. Classes are just $46 per unit.
For more information, visit Admissions and Records in SSC 102 or call (949) 582-4555.

Saddleback College to Recognize 51 Nursing Graduates at Pinning Ceremony

The Saddleback College Nursing Program will honor 51 graduating nursing students in a symbolic candle lighting and pinning ceremony to be held on Tuesday, May 12th at 7:00 pm in the McKinney Theatre. Each graduate will receive a time-honored pin, a symbol of a nurse’s service to others, and their induction into the nursing profession.

Nursing Program Director Tamera Rice, MSN, RN, CNE, will welcome the graduating students, their family members and friends, dignitaries from the South Orange County Community College Board of Trustees and the Chancellor’s office, college administrators, faculty members, and staff. A “Remember When” speech will be delivered by graduating students Brian Le and Anthony Wilkinson. Professor Christina Bowles, MSN, RN will then present the spring 2015 graduating class.

Each graduate will receive a symbolic pin from Professors Esther Gravis, MSN, RN, and Linda Gleason, MSN, RN, FNP, CNE. The class pledge will be read by graduate Melanie Tongren. Graduating students Emily Bateman and Jordan VanDurme will give the “Farewell to Class speech. Professors Candy Nelson, MSN, RN, and Loretta Niccola, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, and graduate Michelle Saldana will assist in the lighting of the individual candles, symbolizing the “passing of the flame” from Florence Nightingale to each nurse. The Class of Spring 2015 will be formally dismissed by Professor Diane Pestolesi, DNP, RN, CCRN, CNE.

The Graduating Class of Spring 2015 includes:

(All listed in alphabetical order)

  1. Basal Assaf – Mission Viejo
  2. Karin Barrow –  Mission Viejo
  3. Emily Bateman – Trabuco Canyon
  4. Kristine Bisceglia – Mission Viejo
  5. Maya Bowe –  Mission Viejo
  6. Dianne Bruck – Irvine
  7. Danielle Carman – Aliso Viejo
  8. Jennifer Conzone – Irvine
  9. Mariel de Guia – Placentia
  10. Morissa Garrett – Lake Forest
  11. Danielle Gavin – Dana Point
  12. Suzanne Graham – Lake Forest
  13. Jeremy Halbmaier – Cypress
  14. Corinne Hoelscher – Oceanside
  15. Amy Houlihan – San Clemente
  16. Tanecia Hunn – Dana Point
  17. Nino Ketskhoveli – Laguna Hills
  18. Brian Le – Orange
  19. Rebecca Margeson – Laguna Hills
  20. Jennifer Miller – Laguna Beach
  21. Korey Moritz – Mission Viejo
  22. Kindel Noel – Laguna Niguel
  23. Ariel Pamulaklakin – Santa Ana
  24. Kristina Pearson – Ladera Ranch
  25. Tanya Perez – Aliso Viejo
  26. Jill Polfer – Dana Point
  27. Alyssa Prestel – Lake Forest
  28. Sue Prosser – Mission Viejo
  29. Casey Raring – San Juan Capistrano
  30. Tannaz Razavi – Mission Viejo
  31. Nazly Reyes – Lake Forest
  32. Alexandra Rider – Carlsbad
  33. Suzanne Rodriguez – Ladera Ranch
  34. Jennifer Roecker – Trabuco Canyon
  35. Michelle Saldana – Lake Forest
  36. Leslie A. Sandoval – Lake Forest
  37. Chad Sheppard – Newport Beach
  38. Michelle Speetzen – Mission Viejo
  39. Landa Tan – Laguna Hills
  40. Eunice Tapia – Mission Viejo
  41. Melanie Tongren – Irvine
  42. Josephine Trueblood – Lake Forest
  43. Crystal Turner – Camp Pendleton
  44. Jordan Van Durme – Laguna Beach
  45. Wendy Velez – Orange
  46. John Vitasa – Irvine
  47. Thomas Ward – Dana Point
  48. Anthony Wilkinson – Mission Viejo
  49. Tané L. Wise – San Juan Capistrano
  50. Allison Wiseman – Trabuco Canyon
  51. Katherine Yoshida – Trabuco Canyon

Congratulations graduates!


Saddleback College Welcomes Dr. Barbara J. Jay to the SOCCCD Board of Trustees

On behalf of Saddleback College’s students, faculty, staff, and management, I would like to congratulate Dr. Barbara J. Jay for being named as the provisional (interim) trustee for area 3 representing Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Dana Point and party of Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, San Clemente and unincorporated areas until December 2nd, 2016. The decision was made by the SOCCCD board at the Monday, April 27th board meeting to fill the vacancy due to the passing of Trustee William O. Jay.

Dr. Jay brings a wealth of experience to the board, having owned, operated and managed a local business in south Orange County.  She has a D.D.S. from the University of Southern California.   Her top priority as a trustee is to protect the educational quality at the colleges because she considers that to be the key to better lives for the South Orange County Community College students.

Dr. Jay is the wife of the late Trustee William O. Jay of the South Orange County Community College District.  Trustee William O. Jay was also a former administrator, dean and professor for Saddleback College.  Both of their children attended and graduated from Saddleback College.

Dr. Jay will make a terrific interim for the board of trustees and we welcome her to the district.