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Employee Awards

Recognizing TCC's outstanding employees.

Bob Thaden Faculty Excellence Awards

Named after a long-serving TCC English Professor and administrator, the Bob Thaden Faculty Excellence Awards recognize instructional excellence and innovation. Professors are nominated for the award by staff, faculty, students, and community members. Descriptions of awardees are taken from their nominations. 

2020

Anne Hafer 

 Mathematics Professor 

Anne Hafer deserves to be recognized for her exceptional career. In addition to her work in the classroom, Anne has positively contributed outside of the classroom, and consistently goes beyond typical duties. Colleagues remember her contributions as union treasurer, helping craft TCC’s first Family Leave policy in the 90s, and developing the first faculty mentoring program. Anne is highly committed to fostering collaborative environments with her emphasis being learning over grades. To further support student’s learning, she helped create the MARC to provide students free math tutoring and advising services. Colleagues also note Anne’s commitment to supporting equity efforts on campus, and especially in STEM classes. She continually modifies course structures to make it equitable and inclusive for all TCC students.

Kim Lee

Health Information Management Professor 

Kim Lee has helped countless students be successful in her time at TCC. Kim has specifically shown exceptional commitment to student learning and innovative instruction in the online environment. Students describe Kim as very compassionate and understanding, and credit her with providing them with different avenues for success. Kim has worked tirelessly to create the curriculum for the very first bachelor degree at TCC. Colleagues share that the HIM BAS program has become a reality in large part due to Kim's vision and ongoing efforts.

Diana Marre

Communication & Transitional Studies Professor

Diana Marre genuinely considers what is best for each student that comes into her classroom. One student noted that Diana “seems to have the rare ability to know intuitively what it is that each individual needs from her the most, whether it’s positive reinforcement, someone to hold them accountable, or an extra touch of patience.” Diana also presents material in multiple ways so that students of all learning types can benefit as much as possible. Students also note that Diana goes above and beyond, for example welcoming her Saturday morning students with a warm smile and even breakfast. Her encouragement and support gives students the confidence and motivation needed to succeed even when they encounter challenges.

Mary Pedersen

Counselor 

Mary Pedersen cares deeply about her colleagues, her department, and most of all our TCC students. Mary’s colleagues value her contributions as a teacher, scholar, and counselor, and call Mary a compassionate leader and innovative change-maker. As she consistently rises above the regular functions of a counselor, Mary volunteers to staff health and information tables representing counseling; she visits classes to introduce counseling services; and provides larger workshops on topics such as "Stress Management" or "Beating the Winter Blahs". Mary’s contributions across campus have provided enormous benefit to students, staff, and other faculty.

Latoya Reid

Communication & Transitional Studies Professor

Latoya Reid is a highly skilled and innovative educator, and has had an enormous impact on the lives of many at TCC. At the heart of Latoya’s work are her students, many of whom come from marginalized, underrepresented populations and struggle with a system that was not designed for their success. From the very first day of class, she easily establishes a personal connection and unique rapport with students.  One colleague notes that Latoya “is relentless in her quest to design student experiences that not only welcome and respect their multiple rich identities but that help empower students to affect change in their lives and those of their communities.” Outside of the classroom, Latoya has worked as the Faculty Lead on the Learning Communities Advisory Council, the co-chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council, the chair of the Diversity Film Festival Committee, the Co-Chair of the Black Student Union, the Co-Advisor from the Inside Out Club. Many students and fellow faculty have benefitted from Latoya’s incredible efforts.

2019

Alice Di Certo 

Art Professor

Professor Di Certo is a dedicated adjunct and cares deeply for her students and our success. I took her Art Appreciation class and she helped me greatly in succeeding in the class. She is a terrific and is well connected in the campus and community. She has partnered with Write253 program at Remann Hall and she has infused art in the program and not just the writing, book club and homework help that already exists. In addition she has completed the SafeZone training (which is appreciated and I was glad but surprised that she took the initiative to do that as an adjunct). Most adjuncts are not as active as her as she is involved with equity and safety concerns devoting hours to helping the campus with these efforts on the safety committee and Equity Diversity and Inclusion Council (formerly EDC but now EDIC).

Blaine Hunt

Communication & Transitonal Studies Professor

 

There were times before I started school that I didn't value my own opinion because I have been told very often that my thoughts didn't mean anything and that they weren't important, but yet Professor Hunt continuously boosted my confidence to a point where I finally realized that I was wrong. I did add value to whatever it was that I spoke about, and that my feelings on an issue should be heard and that maybe there were other people who needed/wanted to hear what I had to say. That I wouldn't know who would agree or disagree unless I spoke up, and that if someone did disagree, that it would open up dialogue to communicate our feelings about an issue openly while seeking common ground, or a place where we both could respect the others opinion and stay cordial with each other.

Paul Landry

Paralegal Professor

 

As a teacher, Professor Landry has an engaging style that pulls students into the material. He does this in spite of the large generational gaps that fill his classrooms which creates more demand to find creative ways to engage the returning student and students who may be more used to a technology centered learning environment. He is able to connect to and teach the student by engaging with a variety of teaching methods: lecture, board notes, videos and case studies. I have both a Bachelors and Masters degree and Professor Landry standouts as a master teacher from all my years of siting in a desk as a student.

Sonia Llacer

World Languages Professor

 

I was intimidated at my age to be returning. She was the first professor I had at TCC and on the first day of the quarter, her warm and encouraging words brought tears of joy to my eyes. She gave me hope and inspiration. She really cares about her student's success. She made my transition back to college enjoyable, just to know there's someone who cares and believes in her students meant the world. I nominate Professor Llacer because she was a pivotal part of me pursuing my dreams of a college degree. Also, I had taken Spanish before at BCC and high school and she was the first teacher to really spend time teaching her students with her unique effective teaching curriculum, I learned more Spanish than ever before. Her hands-on approach, and caring style catered to each student in their own way. Professor Llacer is a wonderful professor and a gem at Tacoma Community College.

Monica Monk

Communication & Transitional Studies Professor

 

Monica Monk is a master of the art of helping others acquire language, a considerable feat worthy of this award in and of itself. She enthusiastically engages all of her students who are as diverse as any who our faculty teach. She is currently teaching a combined level 1, level 2, and level 3 EAP class and is able to successfully engage students across all three levels, something I have never seen done successfully before. As these are also international students and she is the only faculty member teaching these levels, she is also the face of our college, and to some extent our nation, to this group of students. Many of these students had concerns about coming to our country given the current political climate. She has been an advocate for the group in their interactions across campus and helped us to do justice to an important facet of campus diversity.

Tahoma Excellence Awards 

The Tahoma Excellence Awards recognize outstanding work by TCC employees. Descriptions of awardees are taken from their nominations. 

2020 

Classified Staff 

Sakura Moses

Senior Graphic Designer, Marketing + Communications

Sakura is an outstanding, committed professional who works hard to ensure her graphic design deliverables are intentional, impactful, and effective. She is one of those rare graphic designers who not only has a fine eye of good design, but understands the role of content, and how both design and content fit together. Her work has an agency-level of quality. 

Kristen Lawson

Administratvie Assitant, Organizational Learning & Effectiveness

 Kristen supports the entire College with helpfulness, hard work, and a smile. She goes out of her way to improve and always accepts constructive ideas as opportunities for learning more and getting better. Her stretch work on the PD opportunities during COVID-19 is commendable, to say the least. When she helps plan travel, everyone always comments that she’s so amazing. People rave about her to me a LOT and I see it in the support she directly provides me and the OLE team. She is in one of her first professional jobs and no one would ever know. She’s smart, friendly, picks up new things quickly and is always willing to help. She supports all of us in our drive towards mission fulfillment and I can’t imagine working here without her. Pure bliss.

Hourly Staff 

Stuart Drake

Interim Program Assistant, Writing & Tutoring Center

Stuart is a thoughtful and instrumental colleague.  Though he is part-time and hourly, his contributions to the college are not.  He volunteers on Safe Zones to challenge and educate our community in the way that we serve, partner, and work with LGBTQ+ campus colleagues and students.  Additionally, he is always willing to support equitable projects.  For example, he worked with multiple departments and students to make sure that students were checked on during our COVID-19 outbreak.  

Patricia Skiffington

Advisor, Gig Harbor Campus

Pat regularly visits the local high schools to answer student and advisor questions and to share information about TCC and the Gig Harbor Campus.  Her enthusiasm and belief in TCC has convinced many students to start their educational career here with us. Pat works with our instructors each quarter so the students have the opportunity and are encouraged to spend some time learning about 4 year institutions in the area. Her tireless support ensures students have the best and most current information to be able to make a wise choice in the next step of their educational goal. Students respond positively every quarter; providing the information to them is so valuable because many of the Gig Harbor students have limited access to main campus due to the bridge toll. 

Exempt Employees

Katie Gulliford

Interim Dean of Math, Science & Engineering

She is not only responsible for representing our division and working with the Leadership Team, she has modeled the TCC values of Community, Integrity, Equity/Diversity/Inclusion while working with Math, Science, and Engineering staff/faculty and our students. I have always been impressed while observing her interactions with students, faculty, (full time and adjunct) and staff as she has always been respectful, personal, supportive, and caring. She takes care of herself and is fully present when she comes to work so it is not uncommon to check in with any staff or faculty member walking down the hall. For example she will ask “How are you and then proceed to ask a pertinent question that relates to them (how is Nutr& 101 going, how is your research project with the students going, how are you doing when addressing new adjuncts?). Her door is open, and she is friendly and approachable. 

Shannon Pressley

Math Advising Resource Center Director

 

Team Award

Building 15 Lab Technicians Team

Susan Bennett, Diane Valdez, and Adrienne Scarcella

 During the power outage, the lab techs worked directly with instructors and the dean to assess any damage or loss of items that a critical to successful labs and instruction. The lab tech team came to campus during the outage to rescue any temperature sensitive lab supplies and fish. The team worked together to help each lab tech's floor and problem solve to minimize loss of supplies to reduce the impact on student's learning and instructor's ability to teach. This quick response from the lab techs also saved the college money from replacing most items. Thanks to the teams diligence and commitment to student's learning, supporting instructors and the college as a whole, no labs were unable to proceed once school was reopened.

Classified Staff Awards 

2020

The Classified Staff Awards recognize Classified Staff who have gone above and beyond to exemplify leadership and live the college's mission. Descriptions of awardees are taken from their nominations. 

Achieve Equity: Sarah Lewandowski-Noble

Interim Bookstore Manager 

 

Sarah Lewandowski-Noble has gone above and beyond to ensure all the students receive all the books and supplies they need while the main campus has been closed due to COVID-19. She was recently promoted to be the Bookstore Interim Manager, and while learning about this new role and maintaining Book Buyer duties, she has thoughtfully planned and executed a new Bookstore operation plan that would allow students to purchase books virtually. In just two weeks of operating the Bookstore Drive-Up, she has processed over 650 online orders and 170 reservations for agency funded accounts. These numbers do not include the number of walk ups the Drive-Up has processed within 15 minutes of a student’s walk up request. On top of processing orders, Sarah has also been coordinating with departments all across campus to ensure we have the correct books in stock or on order that reflect their new online class syllabus. After hours, Sarah personally drives and drops off order packages for shipment at the FEDEX office to support students in getting their packages as soon as possible. With all of these tasks, relentlessly overlapping each other, she continuously maintains a positive and motivated attitude at work. Even with her limited staff, her employees come to work ready and eager to help in any shape or form. This is a true reflection of her amazing leadership qualities and compassion to assist all the Tacoma Community College students in a time of crisis.

Create Learning: Aaron Tran

eLearning Help Desk Specialist

 Aaron Tran has been a relied upon E Learning professional. He is always courteous with staff, faculty and students. He always picks up the phone unless he is in a meeting. He has assisted Kim Harrington and I with the pulling of data for a grant project. In the last couple of years, Kim Harrington, biology instructor, and I have utilized Access software for our data reporting with many types of queries and cross tab queries while exporting it to a variety of Excel sheets. While Kim Harrington and I are known to be self-reliant in this project, we have always feel relieved when a few times we knew we could receive software support from Aaron Tran. In all my observations and interaction with Aaron, I have noticed him to be equitable in providing support equally to students, staff, and all faculty. He is courteous, supportive, and goes out of his way to help everyone. We are lucky to have him at TCC and as a fellow classified staff member.

  

Embrace Discovery: Tatyana Jinxx Jones

Fresh Start Program Assistant

 

Jinxx is an outstanding TCC employee. As a former Fresh Start student and TCC graduate, she has experienced what it is to be a student and looks at everything through this lens when serving our population. She is creative, equitable, a team player, has a thirst for knowledge, is kind and dependable. She is a natural leader, both with the team of Fresh Start Peer Advocates she supervises but also as a team member. Jinxx has wonderfully creative and innovative ideas which have brought the Fresh Start Program to a new and exciting level. Above and beyond her job duties, she has implemented Restorative Justice Circles which allows our students to have a safe space and feel a sense of community belonging.

Engage Community: Daniel Garcia

Program Assistant, Student Engagement

 Daniel goes above and beyond his position to ensure that students have the support and information they need to be successful at TCC and beyond. Daniel has great sill in connecting to students in a way that makes them feel affirmed for where they are at, who they are, and encourages them to see the possibilities of where we could go. Daniel's door is always open and in addition to leading the OSE team, he works tirelessly to be available to clubs and has opened new opportunities for them to connect with the campus and the broader community. Daniel is a creative and innovative student services professional who combines his lived experience with professional skills to provide to welcome and engage students in a way that resonates in a meaningful way.

 

Leadership: Will Howard

Security Sergeant, Campus Public Safety

 

He always goes above and beyond for not only everyone in this department but he also tries his best to be fair with all faculty, staff and students. He helps them out and treats them all like family which make it so much fun to work for him. He sees everyone as an equal and is one of the most approachable bosses I have ever worked for and makes it easy to work for and with him.

Leadership: Kim Rigg (Part Time Hourly)

Lab Technician, Math, Science & Engineering

Last year, there was a time frame where there was no lab tech for the second floor. Kim stepped-up and filled that role until the new lab tech was hired. Her leadership allowed the new lab tech to walk in to her position with a smoother transition. Kim also helped train the new lab tech. Kim has worked for the college for 10+ years and continues to show her dedication to the department and college through her work. If there are issues, Kim takes the time to research and troubleshoot to resolve issues. To me, this demonstrated her commitment to the department, school and students. Kim assists with prepping the micro and molecular labs. Her prep and attention to detail is crucial for students and instructors to have productive and successful labs. Kim has truly grown into her position and is of great support to the biology department and its students.

 

External Awards

Recognition for the college and individual employees given by outside organizations.

2020

 

Respiratory Care Society of Washington Award: Greg Carter 

Respiratory Therapy Program Chair 

TCC Respiratory Therapy Program Chair Greg Carter and the TCC Respiratory Therapy Program were recognized with the Respiratory Care Society of Washington Award at their 2020 conference. 

Association of Community College Trustees "ACT" Faculty Award: Latoya Reid 

Latoya reid with an award in front of a tree near building F1

Communication & Transitional Studies Professor 

English Professor Latoya Reid was recognized with the ACT Faculty Award for her demonstrated instructional excellence and commitment to equity.

“As an instructor, Professor Reid has high expectations for her students, and consequently provides high support,” reads her nomination. “In her role as an English instructor who teaches both pre-college level and college-level courses, she is critical in helping students (who are often from systemically non-dominant populations) persist and succeed in our institution and beyond.”

In addition, Reid is noted for applying the equity lens by placing attention on race and ethnicity in analyzing problems, looking for solutions and defining success. She brings this focus to the classroom and to the wider academic arena, from college committees and meetings to statewide initiatives.

Read more about the ACT Awards here

Association of Community College Trustees "ACT" Equity Award: Ivan L. Harrell, PhD and TCC Board of Trustees

 

The TCC Board of Trustees and TCC President Ivan L. Harrell, II, PhD, were recognized with the ACT Equity Award.

“The Board and President have committed to equity and its importance in increasing access to underrepresented and underserved populations in our college,” reads the nomination.

This commitment led the Board to make the counterintuitive decision to support a program that promotes economic mobility and stability for women. It has also led to innovations such as the expansion of TCC’s Bachelor of Applied Science programs, which were designed to provide pathways to higher-wage jobs for students working in health information, community health, and business.

The Board put placed a commitment to equity at the forefront of the process that resulted in President Harrell’s hiring. President Harrell has made it equity a primary focus since his first day at TCC, and he ensured that a focus on equitable outcomes for students was embedded in the college’s recently adopted Strategic Plan.

Read more about the ACT Awards here.

NISOD Award: Iyad Alaqrabawi, Information Technology 

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. Each year NISOD provides Excellence Awards.

NISOD Award: Nigeria Bell, Counseling 

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. Each year NISOD provides Excellence Awards.  

NISOD Award: Kim Flack, Communication & Transitional Studies 

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. Each year NISOD provides Excellence Awards. 

2019

NAFSAn of the Year Award: Namiko Bagirimvano

Photo of Ivan Harrell and Namiko Bagirimvano with award

TCC International Programs Assistant Director of Housing and Short-Term Programs 


NAFSA: Association of International Educators recently recognized TCC International Programs Assistant Director of Housing and Short Term Programs, Namiko Bagirimvano, with its “NAFSAn of the Year” award. This award recognizes someone who has contributed significantly to the organization at the regional or national level.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. NAFSA's 10,000 members are located at more than 3,500 institutions worldwide, in over 150 countries.

Faculty & Staff of Color Conference Faculty Excellence Award: Latoya Reid 

Photo of Latoya Reid holding an award in front of a tree near Building F1 at TCC.

Communication & Transitional Studies Professor 

TCC English Instructor Latoya Reid was awarded the Faculty Excellence Award at the 2019 Faculty and Staff of Color Conference. Held in Spokane, Washington, the state-wide conference was celebrating its 24th year.

At TCC, Reid is noted for working to expand access to Learning Communities at TCC. She was part of the faculty group that pushed to expand the model used by certain cohort groups to the college as a whole.

“There’s a whole body of research about how Learning Communities retain students of color and historically marginalized students,” said Reid.

One of the results of that push for expansion is “Students Together Achieving Rising Statuses,” the STARS Learning Community which Reid co-teaches with Human Development instructor Nigeria Bell and Sociology instructor Dr. Andrew Cho.

MESA Director of the Year: Dr. Sharon Rivera

TCC MESA Director 

MESA is a national organization of "Mathematics, Engineering, Science Acheivment" programs. In 2019, MESA named Dr. Sharon Rivera its Director of the Year. 

At TCC, Rivera provides support and opportunity for math, science and engineering students from populations historically underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields. She integrates academic support and with career transfer planning, helping students transfer to colleges including MIT and Yale. And she regularly organizes events that benefit all students, including town hall forums in which TCC alumni who have transferred into STEM programs come back to campus and share their experiences with current students. Rivera is well known on campus for taking every opportunity to provide students with support, advocacy, and opportunity. 

Excellence in Affordable Housing, Innovation Award

Awarded to Tacoma Community College by the Tacoma Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium

The Tacoma Pierce County Housing Consortium gave TCC an Excellence in Affordable Housing Award in the "Innovation" category for the college's College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), a partnership with the Tacoma Housing Authority that provides low-cost housing for homeless and near-homeless students. Read more about the award and partnership here