Saddleback College Ranked First Among California Community Colleges by

Mission Viejo, CA – Saddleback College was ranked first among California’s 112 community colleges in an article recently released by, 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”, 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


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


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 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.

Saddleback College Unveils Economic and Workforce Development Plan; Announces New Implementation Leadership Team

Today Saddleback College unveiled a model Economic and Workforce Development Plan and announced the appointment of three new administrators who will lead  implementation in collaboration with business and industry, education, government, and other strategic partners.

Saddleback’s 100 career technical education (CTE) programs form the foundation of the plan which identifies, realigns, expands, and proposes college programs and services that meet workforce demands of the present and future.  The plan is designed to assist all areas of the college to develop the infrastructure and strategies necessary to develop skilled and competent workers, and will require a close alignment of classroom and work-based instruction.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Our economic and workforce development plan is the culmination of more than a year-long campus effort focused on identifying and defining the role that Saddleback will play in responding to the technological advances, globalization of markets, and demographic changes that are transforming our regional and state economies.”

Reinforcing the college’s commitment to playing a leading role in addressing the challenges of ensuring an educated and productive workforce in the region, Saddleback has hired three new administrators who will play a vital role in the implementation of the plan: John Jaramillo, dean of economic and workforce development and business science; Anthony Teng, dean of advanced technology and applied science; and Israel Dominguez, director of economic and workforce development.

John Jaramillo is Saddleback’s new dean of economic and workforce development and business science.  Most recently he served for eight years as dean of applied sciences and business at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, CA.  In this capacity he provided leadership for the college’s business and career technical education programs, and served as the chief professional-technical administrator for the college responsible for the administration and development of Perkins, Career Technical Education, and Education and Workforce Development grants.  He also provided leadership for the college’s Public Safety Academy, which houses the POST Certified Police Academy, California Fire Marshall Accredited Fire Academy, and Emergency Medical Technician programs.  Previously, Mr. Jaramillo was director of the Bakersfield College Delano Campus, where he supervised all instructional, student services, administrative services, and foundation, and taught business courses.  Mr. Jaramillo earned an associate of arts degree in university studies at Las Positas Community College, a bachelor of arts in communication from the College of Notre Dame, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Anthony Teng will serve as dean of advanced technology and applied science, having served as interim dean of two divisions – advanced technology and applied science, and business science and economic and workforce development – since 2013.  Previously he was a full-time faculty member of the accounting department since 2007, and served as department chair for five years.  Mr. Teng has been teaching at California State University Long Beach since 1999, and started teaching in community colleges in 1988.  Mr. Teng earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration – accounting at California State University, Long Beach, and two Master of Business Administration degrees – one focusing on entrepreneurship from William Howard Taft University, and another focusing on advanced management studies from Trident University.

Israel Dominguez is Saddleback’s director of economic and workforce development, a new position at the college.  Mr. Dominguez comes to Saddleback from Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, where he served as director of the college’s Business and Entrepreneurship Center since 2007.  In this role he provided advanced business counseling services to businesses and industry sectors in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.  In his new role, he will serve as the college’s primary representative with south Orange County business, industry, and governmental agency-based organizations regarding economic and workforce development and training.  Mr. Dominguez earned two bachelor’s degrees in business administration – one focusing on accounting at the University of Texas at El Paso, and the other focusing on marketing management at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of La Verne.

To view the Saddleback College Economic and Workforce Development Plan, please visit