New Employees for the 2014-15 academic year

I am excited to welcome and introduce our new faculty, staff, and management to Saddleback College. Our new employees are all very impressive, with skills and expertise that will serve our college and students very well.


Shannon Alfaro – Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Ann Marie Breslin – Assistant Professor, Learning Disability Specialist/DSPS Counselor

Nicole Dupree – Assistant Professor, Nursing (Categorical)

Christina Ghanbarpour – Assistant Professor, History

Catherine Hayter – Assistant Professor, English Composition

Jason Hole – Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Sean Osborn – Assistant Professor, Human Services

Brenda Plascencia-Carrizosa – Assistant Professor, Child Development

Emily Quinlan – Assistant Professor, Business Law

Efren Rangel – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Generalist)

Brockton Schermerhorn – Assistant Professor, Real Estate

Carolyn Seaman – Assistant Professor, Librarian (Instructional)

Jacob Tracy – Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Erica Vogel – Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Jake Wiliams – Assistant Professor, English Composition

Academic Administrators & Managers

Patrick Higa – Police Operations Lieutenant

Gina La Monica – Dean of Advanced Technology & Applied Science

Daniel Predoehl – Director of Emeritus Institute Instruction Programs

New Classified Employees

Jason Allen – Senior Lab Technician

Lillian Bodane – Lab Technician

Jon Briggs – Graphic Designer

Katie Cagney – Development Assistant II

Chris Capener – Health Office Assistant

Jason Conway – Counseling Office Assistant

Emily Cramer – Program Assistant (Categorical)

Sharareh (Sherri) Dadsetan – Office Assistant

Kyle Fraiser – Dispatcher/Records

Ashley Griffith – Student Services Specialist

Zachary Guajardo – Accounting Assistant

Kenneth Harer – Police Officer

Marc Jackson – Senior Lab Technician

Jana Kaffer – Health Center Nurse

Alicia Kirk – Program Assistant (Categorical)

Tia Looney – Dispatcher/Records

Denise Ludes – Program Specialist (Categorical)

Ryan Maligie – Police Officer

Dennis Mastrangelo – Groundskeeper

Matt Miller – Office Assistant

Patricia Nutting – Admissions & Records Specialist I

Michael Parra – Program Assistant (Categorical)

Linus Phillips – Lab Assistant

Stephanie Reyna – New Media & Marketing Specialist

Arronlea Searcy – Program Specialist (Categorical)

Deborah Snyder – Administrative Assistant

Laura Sobchik – Senior Research & Planning Analyst (Categorical)

Jennifer Soto-Banks – Child Development Specialist

Jeffrey Tillotson – Network Systems Technician III

Natalie Thompson – Financial Aid Specialist (Categorical)

Larry Ward – Senior Lab Technician

When you meet them on campus, please give them a warm Saddleback welcome!



Looking back: Week of Welcome

Last week, I had the opportunity to welcome back our faculty, associate faculty, staff and classified staff by hosting a series of meals that allowed me and my colleagues to share updates and goals for the impending academic year as well as share highlights from the State of the College report titled, “Saddleback College. First“.

On Tuesday, August 12, we were honored to host Dr. Brice Harris, Chancellor of the California Community College System at the Chancellors Opening Session held at Irvine Valley College, who discussed current and future trends in our colleges. The morning also featured presentations on Irvine Valley College’s ESL program and Saddleback’s K-12 partnership initiatives, where I was joined by Leslie Humphrey, Director of Outreach and Recruitment, Dr. Estella Castillo-Garrison, Dean of Community Education, Emeritus Institute, and K-12 Partnerships, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, Dean of Liberal Arts, Kathy Werle, Vice President of Instruction,  Bruce Gilman, Instructor and Penny Skaff, Matriculation Coordinator/Counselor.

The title for this year’s report, was inspired by a marketing and research study conducted last year by Dr. Pam Cox-Otto to gauge our community’s perceptions of Saddleback College. The results of the survey were extremely positive and clearly indicate that Saddleback has made considerable strides in our community over the past several years. Some of the top points were:

  • 75 percent of respondents named Saddleback their “top of mind” college – a significant increase from the 2008 results of 36.5 percent and far surpassing UCI, which held the second spot at 16.7 percent.
  • There is greater awareness of Saddleback’s educational value in our community. When asked what programs, services, or events come to mind when they think of Saddleback, most responses focused on our degree and transfer programs.
  • Saddleback has made huge strides in the perception that we are THE transfer path for students, with 55.2 percent strongly agreeing that attending Saddleback for two years and then transferring to a four-year college is a smart choice. This is a 22 percent increase from 2008.

Included in the State of the College report are the following topics:

  • First. For Enrollments.
  • First. For Student Success.
  • First. For the Economy and Workforce.
  • First. For K-12 Partnerships.

Due to the outstanding work of our students, faculty, staff, management, and community, Saddleback is the college of first choice in south Orange County. Over the coming year we  will continue to tackle important issues, of which have made the list of Top 10 Projects for the 2014-15 Academic Year:

  1. Enrollments
  2. Economic and Workforce Development
  3. Strategic Planning
  4. Career Technical Education Collaboration
  5. K-12 Outreach
  6. Freshman Advantage
  7. 21st Century Workforce for Student Success
  8. Employee Training and Development
  9. Center for Innovation in Healthcare Education
  10. South Orange County Economic Forecast

As I mentioned before, Saddleback strives to be first in student success. During last week’s professional development events, student success, specifically student retention, was shown to help our college enrollments. All of us need to do all that we can to help our students persist and succeed with their goals. This year, the Student Success Committee, led by professors Bruce Gilman and Penny Skaff, and our deans, led by Vice President of Instruction Kathy Werle, are heading the College Pride Tuesdays program. All students, faculty, staff and management are asked to wear a Saddleback logo shirt or college colors (cardinal and gold) every Tuesday. If you’re caught wearing your college pride by members of the Student Success Committee, you could win a gift card! Another way we want to encourage student success is by becoming more familiar with our students. A way to do that is to wear your Saddleback name badge. Studies have found that the single most significant thing a college can do to help its students is for every student to make a connection with someone on their campus beginning with knowing their name. Be that someone, by wearing your name badge to work each day. If you need a t-shirt or name tag, please contact Bruce of Penny. We want Saddleback to become a place where everybody knows your name!

With that, I look forward to working with all members of the Saddleback community and thank you for your continued dedication and service to our college and community. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read the State of the College report, you can find a digital version here.

Wishing you a wonderful 2014-15 school year!


Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President



Orange County Awarded $15 Million to Create Career Pathways that Prepare Students for the 21st Century Workforce

SaddlebackcollegelogoOCDE-LogoBlueNoTaglineThe California Department of Education has awarded the Orange County Career Pathways Partnership (OCCPP) a $15 million California Career Pathways Trust grant to create a countywide, self-sustaining infrastructure that builds, supports, and expands rigorous and innovative career pathways for students from kindergarten through college.

OCCPP is the first countywide consortium comprised of fifteen Orange County school districts; nine community colleges; University of California, Irvine; California State University, Fullerton; four Regional Occupation Programs; three Workforce Investment Boards; VitalLink, and over 100 business and industry partners. Led by the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) and Saddleback College, OCCPP is one of twelve recipients awarded a $15 million grant and represents the largest regional consortium in the state.

OCCPP will make career pathway programs accessible to Orange County students from all academic, socio-economic, and achievement levels ranging from Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students, to alternative education students, foster youth, and students with physical and learning disabilities.These programs will also align career courses with rigorous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), California Academic Standards, and Career Technical Education Model Standards instruction that provide real-world application of career concepts, linking the content to industry needs.

Al Mijares, Ph.D., County Superintendent of Schools, stated, “This grant award is a recognition of the collaboration that has been forged among K-12 education, higher education, businesses, and community partners in Orange County. The funding will empower OCCPP to achieve the vision of a countywide infrastructure to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace and will provide a model for other counties and regional level programs. This initiative will further equip Orange County students to lead the nation in college and career readiness and success.”

Students in the pathway programs will participate in career exploration and on-the-job training that prepare them to earn certificates, associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, and advanced degrees in three target sectors: Health Care/Biotechnology; Engineering/Advanced Manufacturing/Design; and Information Communication Technology/Digital Media.  The goal of this initiative is to enroll 17,000 Orange County students in career pathways in these sectors by 2017-18.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President of Saddleback College, stated, “This partnership is an unprecedented effort to form an effective and lasting countywide partnership to improve career pathways for all students that strengthen our local economy.  We thank all of our K-12, college, university, business, and industry partners for their outstanding commitment to this effort.”

Andrew Munoz, Executive Director of the Orange County Workforce Investment Board, stated, “The business community is excited about the opportunity presented with this grant award. OCCPP has developed a true countywide approach to develop long-term strategies that will effectively prepare students entering the workforce.  Orange County businesses are eager to assist in creating real connections between the classroom and today’s workplace.”

Thank You Saddleback Team: $15 Million Career Pathways Grant Award

Dear faculty, staff, management, and other members of our Saddleback College family:

It gives me great pleasure to announce that today we learned that our efforts to secure a $15 million competitive grant from the state have been successful.  This award is particularly significant in that it is the first time that our entire county—all K-12, higher education, and business and industry—came together to partner on expanding career pathways for students throughout our region.  The press release below provides more information on the award, and the California Department of Education announcement can be viewed at:

I am especially proud of the leadership role that our college played in making this happen.  The origins of our partnership with the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) began back in December when Superintendent Al Mijares and I met to discuss educational opportunities, specifically common core and K-career pathways.  When the state announced the $250 million California Career Pathways Trust grant opportunity in February, OCDE and Saddleback immediately partnered to help lead an unprecedented effort for bringing together all K-12 schools, community colleges, universities, and business and industry to form the Orange County Career Pathways Partnership.  Our Saddleback team, along with OCDE and many other partners, spent hundreds of hours working on developing the consortium, writing the grant application, and making a final presentation to the selection committee in Sacramento.  And the results speak for themselves.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few of our colleagues who worked tirelessly on this effort, beginning with Dr. Kathy Werle, vice president for instruction, who was our lead person.  In addition, Roxanne Metz, Edward De La O, Catherine Arreguin, Tony Teng, Don Busché, and Mary Anstadt provided endless support, along with assistance from Professors Glen Stevenson and Penny Skaff.  We owe these colleagues a great deal of thanks for their outstanding work and in representing Saddleback and the South Orange County Community College District with great distinction.

As we have been discussing for the past few years, the future success of many of our students will depend upon our college’s ability to form viable and lasting partnerships with our many community partners, beginning with K-12 and business and industry.  Today’s impressive achievement with the California Career Pathways Trust is an excellent step in the right direction.  We are also taking many other steps in the right direction, thanks to our amazing faculty, staff, management, and community.

Congratulations to Saddleback and partners, and now let’s get started on implementing this program!


Tod Burnett

Chapman University Partners with Saddleback College in Transfer Admission Guarantee Agreement

Photo courtesy of: Chapman University.

Photo courtesy of: Chapman University.

Saddleback College is the first community college to partner with Chapman University in a formal transfer admission guarantee (TAG) agreement for students in the sciences. The agreement will give Saddleback students the opportunity to transfer after two years of coursework from Saddleback College’s science programs to Chapman University’s Schmid College of Science and Technology majors and Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences majors.  Students interested in this program may contact Chapman University’s Office of Admission or Saddleback College’s Transfer Center. For more information visit Schmid College Blog. 


Saddleback College’s Class of 2014 to be Recognized at Commencement

commencementSaddleback College will recognize its 2,541 graduates and 1,186 certificate of achievement recipients at its annual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 23rd at 9:00 a.m. in the gymnasium. The event will feature the traditional processional and reading of the graduate’s names, and will feature Jonathan Mooney, president of Project-Eye-To-Eye – a mentoring and advocacy non-profit organization for students with learning differences – as commencement speaker. The student speaker is Shayan Akhavan, who is transferring to the University of California, San Diego this fall as a psychology major.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Commencement is a special time at Saddleback College where we celebrate student completion and the accomplishments of our graduates. I am very proud of our students and the faculty, staff, and administrators who played an integral role in helping them reach their goals. Congratulations to the Class of 2014.”

During the ceremony, special recognition will be given to Professor of the Year, Dr. Alannah Rosenberg (economics), Associate Professor of the Year Fariba Vatandoust (chemistry), and Emeritus Institute Professor of the Year Collette Chattopadhyay (art history).

Students participating in commencement are candidates for Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees and certificates of achievement. More than 2,000 students will also be transferring to four-year colleges and universities to pursue their baccalaureate degrees. Since 2008-2009, there has been a 28 percent increase in total transfers, including a 23 percent increase in transfers to the UC system and an 11 percent increase to the CSU system, and a 32 percent increase in out-of-state and private college transfers. This year’s graduates will be transferring to four-year institutions such as USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton, San Diego State University, and Arizona State University, among many others.

South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees President T.J. Prendergast will lead the conferral of degrees along with Trustees Timothy Jemal, David B. Lang, Marcia Milchiker, and Nancy M. Padberg, and South Orange County Community College District Chancellor Gary Poertner.

Of the students who are graduating from Saddleback College this year, 287 are receiving honors, including 10 summa cum laude (4.0 grade point average), 105 magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.99 grade point average) and 172 cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 grade point average). Showing the diverse range of ages at the college, the youngest graduate is 16 years of age, and the most senior graduate is 75 years of age. More than 430 graduates are age 20 or younger, and 73 graduates are over the age of 55.

$720,000 in Scholarships Awarded at Saddleback College Ceremony; Bill and Sue Gross Named Donors of the Year

IMG_6416A record-breaking $720,000 in scholarships was awarded to more than 400 deserving students at Saddleback College’s 38th Annual Scholarship Ceremony on Friday, May 16th. More than 800 were in attendance to honor both the scholars and the donors, including family, friends, and Saddleback College faculty, staff, and administrators. The scholarships were donated by business, organization, and community members; additionally the Saddleback College Associated Student Government donated $69,500 in scholarships and underwrote the expenses for the ceremony.

PIMCO founder Bill Gross and his wife, Sue, were named Scholarship Donors of the Year for their generous $240,000 donation to establish the Sue and Bill Gross Scholars Program to help students in the “forgotten middle” – students who have an unmet financial need yet are ineligible for a full Pell Grant or other government assistance – successfully complete education and career training at Saddleback College and secure skilled jobs. With the initial donation, Saddleback expects to support a minimum of 40 students over a two-year period to students in select CTE programs (automotive technology, cinema/television/radio, medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, and nursing).

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “On behalf of our students, faculty, staff, and administrators, thank you to Bill and Sue Gross for their generous donation that will help deserving students pay for college while training for gainful employment.  I congratulate all of the students who were recognized with a scholarship for their academic achievement, service to the community, leadership, and talent. The generosity of our donors made the entire event possible, and I thank them for their support of Saddleback College and our students, who benefit greatly from the kindness of those who give so much to our college.”

The ceremony continued with a presentation by honors student Lydia Natoolo, who thanked donors for their invaluable help to Saddleback students. “You never know whose life you are about to change forever. I am a witness to your kindness,” Natoolo said. Born in Uganda, Natoolo, the youngest of 28 children, was awarded the Gillian Marie Sabet Memorial Scholarship, given to deserving underprivileged students with interests in cancer research.

Awards were presented by Michelle Brough, Saddleback College Foundation treasurer; Dr. Christopher S. McDonald, dean of mathematics, science, and engineering; and Dr. Barbara Cox, professor of business and management.  Music was provided by the Saddleback College Jazz Ensemble. In addition to the presentation of scholarships, Jacqueline Gabert and Matthew Nunnally, alumni of the college, shared their personal stories.

The Saddleback College Scholarship Ceremony is an annual event that started in 1976, when 45 donors contributed just over $12,000 to some 60 students. Over the past 37 years, the foundation has awarded more than $4.8 million in scholarships to deserving Saddleback College students.

PIMCO Founder Bill Gross, and Wife, Sue, Make Donation to Saddleback College for Scholarships to Students in “Forgotten Middle”

Saddleback College has received $240,000 from Sue and Bill Gross to establish the Sue and Bill Gross Scholars program for scholarships to help students in the “forgotten middle” – students who have an unmet financial need yet are ineligible for a full Pell Grant or other government assistance to pay for college – successfully complete education and career training at Saddleback College and secure skilled jobs. The scholarships will not only provide much-needed funding to help students pay for their college education, but will also address the profound increase in available jobs that require education or training beyond high school, but often less than a bachelor’s degree.

“Ideally, students should have the freedom to learn and train for gainful employment without dealing with the stress of finding the money to pay for college,” said Sue Gross, Gross Family Foundation President. “These scholarships are an investment in our students and an investment in our regional economy by supporting the need for a skilled workforce.”

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “We are very grateful to Sue and Bill Gross for this generous donation that will help our students acquire viable skills that help them succeed and contribute to the economic vitality of our region.  Saddleback looks forward to implementing this scholarship program that we believe will be a model in our state to strengthen the Career Technical Education pipeline to Orange County employers and beyond.”

The scholarships will cover the cost of attendance in a Career Technical Education (CTE) program at Saddleback College, which can be completed in two years or less and provide an opportunity to earn a living wage in Orange County.  During the two-year demonstration phase of the Sue and Bill Gross Scholars program, students in the following CTE programs will be eligible for scholarships: automotive technology, cinema/television/radio, medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, and nursing.  With the $240,000 initial donation, Saddleback expects to support a minimum of 40 students over a two-year period.

Scholarships will be available to current Saddleback students, veterans, displaced workers, and other adult learners who possess a high school diploma or general education development credential and are currently enrolled in one of the selected CTE programs.  High school seniors with a 2.5 or better grade point average will also be eligible if they have completed at least one course in a defined CTE career pathway through a Regional Occupational Program, a CTE program at Saddleback College, or a local high school academy.  Scholarship recipients will be required to maintain a 2.5 or better GPA.

Recipients of the Sue and Bill Gross Scholars program will be named at the annual Saddleback College scholarship ceremony on May Friday, May 16, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. in the Saddleback College Gymnasium.

Orange County Social Entrepreneurship Competition Showcases Global Solutions with Local Innovations

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The nation’s first county-wide social entrepreneurship competition culminated in presentations from 11 finalists at a showcase on May 10th before a packed house at the University of California, Irvine.  The finalists pitched their business plans that seek to address complex social problems utilizing sustainable funding models.  The top three presenters were awarded cash prizes for their business plans, with all 11 finalists having the opportunity to pitch their business plans to social impact investors in September.

The panel of judges selected the first, second, and third place presentations:

First Place ($10,000):
Prakash Bista
Modern Model Resident School (Aliso Viejo, CA) provides education to poor students in extremely remote areas of Nepal, with special focus to girls.  The model is launching a second school where families volunteer on site to help pay for their children’s tuition.

Second Place ($5,000):
Adam Comenzuli
KARIBU Solar Power (Tanzania) produces the first modular solar lamp (solar panel + rechargeable battery + light) that is sold to local merchants and then rented to the community, providing the benefits of solar lighting and energy.

Third Place ($2,500):
Justine Porter
Della (Culver City, CA) is a Southern California fashion line that empowers women in Ghana, West Africa through employment and education to sell to customers in the United States, included Apple.

The competition also gave a special award selected by members of the audience.  The People’s Choice Award went to Joe Palacios of K9 West Kennels (Lake Forest, CA), which seeks to reduce the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide epidemic affecting our veterans through engagement with dog training.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Congratulations to our top presenters and all the finalists who shared visionary business plans that address clear social problems.  Every presentation was truly remarkable and it was inspiring to see the innovative ideas that seek to create lasting social change.  Thank you to all the contestants and we look forward to seeing your pitch to social impact investors in September.”

Prakash Bista of Modern Model Resident School said, “It was a great experience to be a participant of OC Social Entrepreneurship Competition 2014 as a student of Soka University of America. This competition means a lot to our team in Nepal and the people who believe in our work. This is the first award and financial support we have ever received for Modern Model Residential School from outside our local community. This competition has made our spirits higher and our beliefs stronger.”

The five judges were: Rich Tafel, Founder and President, The Public Squared; David M. Ochi. Executive Director, UC Irvine Antrepreneur Center; Cathy Margolin, Associate Dean, Brandman University; Andrew Munoz, Executive Director Orange County Workforce Investment Board; and Michael Potter, Social Entrepreneur and Vice Chairman, Manna Energy Foundation and Geeks Without Frontiers.

The keynote address was presented by Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal, an attorney and founder of the Esse Law Group, which empowers social entrepreneurs and start-ups to make a positive social impact while remaining profitable.

All finalists will be provided investor assessment and coaching services valuing more than $20,000 to help prepare for their final pitch to social impact investors in September, with funding possibilities upward of $125,000.  The additional finalists are:

Robert Charles
Back to Native Orange County, Irvine, CA – Back to Native Orange County service providers and affiliates will provide a landscape design, installation, and maintenance service focused on replanting with low-water usage native plants.

Mahour Lellat-Parast
Bio-Adhesive Alliance, Greensboro, NC – Bio-Adhesive Alliance has developed and patented a process technology to provide an economical solution to transforming swine waste into a marketable asphalt binder.

Taylor Cheeley
Entourage Red, Orlando, FL – Entourage Red LLC is a consumer goods manufacturer specializing in innovative personal care products for women.

Anna Sontag
Full Life Programs, Corvallis, OR – Full Life Programs will shift the paradigm of senior care, providing sustainable, person centered care in a climate of safety, health, and wholeness.

Shawn Wehan
Givsum, Aliso Viejo, CA – Givsum is an online application that: (1) gives individuals the ability to track and promote their charitable interest; (2) provides charities with an effective fundraising and volunteer recruitment platform; and (3) allows businesses to efficiently administer their charitable donation policies.

Sophia Lin
A Hundred Tiny Hands, Irvine, CA – A Hundred Tiny Hands is to “invent inventors” by fostering playful learning and imagination; enabling children to discover, create, and invent.

Emily Quinlan
Saddleback Café, Mission Viejo, CA – The Saddleback College Culinary Arts program will create a nationally recognized culinary institute that will serve one of the most dynamic hospitality industries in the world.

For more information visit

View the Orange County Social Entrepreneurship Competition Showcase in its entirety at

Special recognition and appreciation to the evaluation team that chose the 11 finalists: Helen Eckman, Faculty, Brandman University; Elizabeth Garlow, Executive Director, Michigan Corps; Timothy Jemal, Trustee, South Orange County Community College District; Cathy Margolin, Associate Dean, Brandman University; Marcia Milchiker, Trustee, South Orange County Community College District; David Ochi, Executive Director, Antrepreneurship Center at UC Irvine; George Powell, Founder and CEO, ReUSE Jeans Social Entrepreneur; Maricela Sandoval, Deputy Sector Navigator, Small Business, CA Community Colleges; Daniel Scott, Faculty, Irvine Valley College; and Richard Tafel, Founder and President, The Public Squared.