Classified Newsletter Spring 2013

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classified senate members

Welcome to the late late late Winter 2013 issue of the
WVC Classified Senate News!

Our second issue of the WVC Classified Senate News for the current academic year is a gathering of interesting faces and a little bit of news as we expand steadily into a three-issues-a-year publication. As we tread through the year, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, our touchstone is always the students! Making their way easier contributes to their success and becomes our best source of encouragement for the future. We all make a difference every day, and although we get overloaded, our passion for this service is what keeps us going despite our troubles. OK, the greeting card portion of the newsletter is over, except to request that you send our friend Webster Owens your good thoughts and wishes for his health. There are some pre-folded origami cranes flying around, and if you would like one or a bunch, to sign for Webster and his family, send an email to

Our next issue will be in late spring (May 2013). We invite Classified Staff to send us feedback, suggestions for changes, and relevant ideas for the future. Any of these can be directed to the Communications Committee: Monet Payton, Bernadette Walker, Tanya Hanton & Donna Nguyen.

Extra special thanks are due to Tanya Hanton, Donna Nguyen, Geri Peterson, and Berni Walker, who, as always, went above and beyond to help out with photographs, articles and formatting!

Wishing you growth and renewal in the coming months,

Thank you,


Senate Senate Website

news at a glance
Classified Senate Newsletter Welcome
Our second issue of the WVC Classified Senate News for the current academic year is a gathering...

Classified Senate Members
list of Classified Senate members...

Graduation & Transfer Celebration 2013 
Classified Staff, please join us in attending the Graduation and Transfer Celebration...

WVC Classified Senate Scholarship
The Classified Senate Professional Development Committee received increased interest
this past fall...

We Want Your Books
The Book Drive originally began and ended with the semester. It now continues year-round…

All For One! For 140 WVC students, Trio is the spaceship that will launch them into a brighter future…

One For All
When I first interviewed Lynn, she was more interested in telling me about “what she brings to the table” and how she can help “the team,”.…

Classified Winter Celebration & Recognition Award
The recognition awards were presented in acknowledgement of classified colleagues...

Important WVC Classified Senate Dates
Event notifications

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good job

Classified Senate Members

SENATE PRESIDENT                   Laurel Kinley
SENATE VICE PRESIDENT          Melissa Ceresa
SENATE TREASURER                 Tanya Hanton
SENATE SECRETARY                  Lisa McNiven


Cathy Aimonetti                           Community Ed, Campbell, Career Programs
Cheryl Massa                               Financial Aid
Tanya Hanton                              Fine Arts
Maria Lopez                                AAS, Science/Math, Child Development
George Mageles                         Health Services, EOPS, DESP
Lisa McNiven                              PE
Geri Peterson                             Administrative Services & Business
Brenda Rogers                           Language Arts/Social Sciences
Bernadette Walker                     Campus Center, TRIO, Fox
Diane Brien                                A&R, Counseling
Donna Nguyen                           Library, Tutorial, TV


Kurt Hibner                                  Facilities
Gloria Gutierrez                           Human Resources
Luan Szeto                                   IS
Monet Payton                              District Finance & Police



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   Bernadette Walker 

WVC Graduation & Transfer Celebration 2013

Classified Staff, please join us in attending the Graduation and Transfer Celebration to support our students as well as see the fruit of your labor.

Graduation & Transfer Celebration 2013
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Headder Scholarship comittee

Cheryl Massa

WVC Classified Senate Staff Scholarship Application Update

The Classified Senate Professional Development Committee received increased interest this past fall, generated by our announcement of our 2012 - 2013 Classified Scholarships. We are very happy to announce the following four Scholarship Awardees:

Barbara Ogilvie of Admissions and Records will attend the Ellucian Live Conference. This conference will provide information and a better understanding about the upcoming enhancements to West Valley’s Datatel system.

Mike Scaletta of DESP attended the CSUN Conference. According to Mike, this conference will offer information regarding the” Best Practices in the field of Assistive Technology”.

Nahid Shokrollahi attended an Excel class here a West Valley this spring. This course increased her the skills for the transition from the library into her new job role.

Lien Pham attended a Leadership Development and Teambuilding Workshop in December. As a Supervisor in Financial Aid, Lien believes what she has learned from the workshop will help grow her leadership and teambuilding skills through new techniques.

The Classified Senate was very pleased to award Scholarships to all of the above recipients and hope more Classified Staff members will take advantage of this great opportunity to pursue your goals and enrich your skills!

The scholarship application can be found at the Classified Senate page:

Thank you,

Cheryl Massa, Committee Member

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staff news

George Mageles

We Want Your Books!

Along with your book donations in any genre, we’ll also accept your video/audio in any condition and category.

classified senate book sale

Photo by: Donna Nguyen "Taking the long view, this primary contributor to our Classified senate Scholarship fund is growing! "

  The Book Drive now continues year-round.  If your work area is getting cramped and crowded, or if your building is being remodeled soon – we’ll come pick up any media you no longer need.  We can meet you at your car in the parking lot with a donation of books from your home, also.  Please let us know -- -- anytime you have books to donate.  Donation boxes can also be found at the following locations:

Career Programs

Fine Arts




President’s Office

Administration Lobby

Student Life/Veteran’s Center

  The Book Sale is a fundraiser for the Classified Staff Scholarship.  Our Fall Sale brought in over $1000 for the scholarship.  This fund is used to send classified staff to training, workshops, and classes that may be related to their work at WVC or to an area of personal interest and growth.  There will be more details of this scholarship in another section of this newsletter, and we urge all classified staff to consider applying for these funds.

  This semester's two-day sale is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 and Thursday, April 25 in our usual location in front of Applied Arts and Sciences.  Please note the date and spread the word to your students, colleagues, friends, and family.  Yes – we’re reaching out into the community this semester to bring more shoppers to the sale and more proceeds for the staff scholarship!

  As Earth Day nears, we emphasize again that it’s what we do for our environment that may matter the most.  We collect books that have been used by someone and make them available to others.  We take some of the books that don't sell at our sale to the Saratoga Public Library, where they may be sold at their quarterly book sales or at the Book-Go-Round used book store in Saratoga Village.  We recently partnered with an internet bookseller, Better World Books.  They cover the shipping costs and send us a check for any books they can sell through their network.  Those that won't sell are recycled into packing material and other products.

 On behalf of my sub-committee members – Brenda Rogers, Lisa McNiven, Luan Szeto, Kurt Hibner and the entire Classified Senate – Thank you to all for your donations and purchases!

  See you at the next sale, during the week of Earth Day in April 2013!

by George Mageles, Fundraising Sub-Committee Chair

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 senate staff news

Tanya Haton

  All For One: Articles highlighting WVC Campus Classified teams - TRiO

L-R: Amber, Elise & Lee! For 140 WVC students, Trio is the spaceship that will launch them into a brighter future. But before they can board the ship, they need one very important ingredient – hope. Without hope, it’s impossible to have dreams and goals. Fortunately, hope is readily available in the form of two classified staff members, Lee Rodriguez and Amber Garcia, who are living proof that the Trio program works.

Lee who came from a disadvantaged background and was a struggling student joined Upward Bound, the original Trio program, turned his life and grades around and eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Amber was a single teen mom who returned to school and with help from the Trio program is now pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.

When I first interviewed the Trio team, I was overwhelmed with the groups’ enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I sat down to write the article that I realized no one had told me a single thing about themselves – they had spent the entire time telling me about the program and the students. However, one useful bit of information stuck in my head – free donuts on Thursday mornings! So, when I returned to interview Amber and Lee, I “just happened” to pick a Thursday morning. Sure enough, I was greeted with a smile and a donut by student worker Shamiran, whose ability to solicit free donuts from local bakeries has earned her the title of “The Donut Lady.”

Once I had secured my donut, I looked beyond Shamiran and saw Amber at a desk piled high with flowers and candy. Since it was Valentine’s Day, I came to the conclusion that Amber must be very popular. Then I saw her bounce out of her seat and hand a rose and box of candy to a stunned student. After recovering from her surprise, she gave Amber a huge smile and hug. I discovered in that moment that the Trio program wasn’t just about finding resources for students, but also about demonstrating that someone really cares about them.

Amber is the Trio “mom” – if she doesn’t see students for a couple of days, she contacts them; she doesn’t wait to see if they will show up. Students are often tempted to quit school and take a job because it will fix their short-term problems. But Amber encourages them to think beyond their current situation, to avoid getting stuck in low-paying jobs for the rest of their lives. She believes that education is the key to changing one’s life, and she helps these students find resources that will allow them to stay in college. The word “can’t” doesn’t exist in Amber’s vocabulary.

When Amber enrolled at WVC, she was a low-income, single mom with three children, and the first person in her family to enroll in college. The Trio program gave her the support she needed to navigate the rocky and completely foreign path of higher education. “It’s really hard when no one in your family has ever been to college. You don’t have anyone who can tell you what to do or how to even begin.” Currently, Amber is still a single mom caring for her 3 children, attending WVC and holding down two jobs. After she earns her AA degree in May, she plans to transfer to the National Hispanic University in San Jose where she will pursue a major in criminal justice.

Lee wasn’t available on the day I interviewed Amber, so I just happened to pick the next Thursday to meet with him. And, yes! the Donut Lady was there to greet me. The first thing I noticed was that Lee’s office seemed a bit crowded. As it turns out, his office is jokingly referred to as the campus “closet.” Trio students leave things they can’t carry around all day - backpacks, textbooks, bicycle wheels, and even a motorcycle windshield! Lee has a small refrigerator where they are welcome to keep their lunch and one drawer of his file cabinet is full of snacks – just in case.

Lee has worked in Trio since 2001 and other disadvantaged student service programs prior to that. He is passionate about helping students. He said being a teen or young adult in the Bay Area is hard because of the exposure to gangs and drugs, as well as the rising cost of living. I was shocked to learn that many WVC students are homeless. Lee’s walls are full of student photos (as well as jazz musicians – his other passion), and he has countless student success stories. Some of the things most of us take for granted are minor miracles for others. For example, he told me about one student whose eyes were misty as he proudly showed Lee the library card he had always wanted, but thought he would never possess. This student who was previously incarcerated for nine years is now a transfer student at San Jose State.

Besides working with students one-on-one, Lee also facilitates a men’s group on Friday mornings known as the MVP meeting (Men Valuing Progress). Lee says that for him, attending the group is like going to a conference. “It fires me up and reassures me that I am where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

So, the next time you have a student who is stuck or thinking about dropping out, send that student to Lee or Amber. The referral just might be a turning point that could launch him or her on a journey to a place where hope is reborn and dreams can come true.

More Info on Trio

The Trio program has been at WVC since 2010 when Dr. Victoria Hindes wrote a successful grant establishing the necessary funding. Nationally, the Trio program has been in existence since 1964 and it actually consists of seven programs that target disadvantaged students from the sixth grade all the way through grad school. The dedicated WVC Trio team is headed by Director Elise Johnson, and two counselors, Geneva Leighton and Helen Khalouyan Pivk.

The WVC Trio program offers the 140 most underprivileged students the extra counseling, guidance and tutoring support necessary to level the playing field and give these students a viable chance to succeed. Some of the Trio students are trying to get away from the influence of gangs or drugs, while others are dealing with job loss, homelessness, physical disabilities or other adverse circumstances.

Oprah Winfrey, by the way is just one of many famous people who are products of Trio. You can find a list of other famous Trio students and more information about the program at .

Tanya Hanton

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senate staff news

Tanya Haton

One For All: Articles highlighting WVC Campus Classified individuals - Lynn Kelly, Senior Office Coordinator, Social Science

Lynn Kelly
Lynn, Kelly, Social Science SOC

First and foremost, Lynn Kelly is a team player. Although I haven’t known her long, I think I can safely say that Lynn is resourceful and has an innovative mind and a can-do spirit.

When I first interviewed Lynn, she was more interested in telling me about “what she brings to the table” and how she can help “the team,” than in telling me about herself and her background. I loved her positive attitude and decided to cast aside my questions and agenda and let her guide the way. She described her job as “fun, interesting and exciting,” and couldn’t wait show me her latest project, which was her webpage.

She enthusiastically pointed out that everyone on campus already has a webpage and uploading items onto the page really isn’t all that difficult. Lynn attended one of Max’s workshops and, in no time at all, her webpage started to grow. Then, being technically inclined, she expanded her skills to include making webcasts. But, what totally caught me by surprise was how she chose to use her webpage. Where many of us would share our thoughts about one of our current interests, like which Downtown Abbey character will be the first to buy a hula hoop, Lynn hasfound a way to help faculty and streamline her job.

Do you remember what it was like when HR had the audacity to change the faculty absence form? As much as we love our dear faculty, after the 20th phone call ranting about the new form and asking every conceivable question regarding its use, we tended to start counting the days to Winter Break. Well, Lynn eliminated, or at least shortened, these calls by putting a link to the form on her webpage, along with a webcast showing where to find the pesky form, how to fill it out, and what to do with it afterwards. She even included a conversion of minutes to decimals! How cool is that? And, that was just the beginning. Check out her webpage at:

So, who is this creative, high-energy, and wonderfully helpful individual who appeared in our midst? (I did eventually get her to tell me a little bit about herself.) Like so many people in the Bay Area, Lynn was laid off when the dot-com bubble burst. Being a life-long student, she registered for classes at Mission College, was hired as a lab tech and then as a temp in the Office of Instruction. When the interim Social Science SOC position at WVC opened up, she moved to the WVC campus, where she eventually became the permanent SOC in July of last year.

Lynn lives with her partner of 13 years, two dogs and a cat. Most days, she stops at the gym on her way home, continuing a fitness regimen that started in high school where she was on the basketball and track teams. On weekends, Lynn also loves to ride her road bicycle Tour de France style. She is a vegan, primarily because of her concern for the welfare of animals, and she volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley.

Lynn is happy to be part of the WVC team and we are lucky to have her, as is her Social Science team, who have dubbed her the “form aficionado.” So, next time you’re near the LA/SS Building, stop and have a look at the new offices and say hello to Lynn. And if you get stuck making your webpage, give her a call, but be warned! Her enthusiasm is contagious.

More Info on Faculty/Staff Webpages:

Max Gault and David Duncan have made a video that shows step-by-step directions on how to create items on your webpage. (You can find all of the pages, including yours, by clicking on a person’s name in the directory at .

by Tanya Hanton

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senate comittee news

Geri Peterson

 Winter Celebration and Classified Senate Recognition Award: Fall, 2012
winter reception
Winter Reception 2012, Photo by: Donna Nguyen

The WVC Classified Senate hosted a festive, fun-filled “Winter Celebration” towards the end of the fall semester, on December 12, 2012. Staff from campus and district offices gathered in the Campus Center in the open area by the Gallery for treats and refreshments provided by Drip Coffee, and delicious cupcakes beautifully prepared by Becky Juarez and Melissa Salcido. The event also included door prizes and the announcement of our Recognition Awards. Special guests included Board members Adrienne Gray and Buck Polk, WVM Chancellor, Patrick Schmitt, and WVC Interim President, Brad Davis.

Classified Senate President, Laurel Kinley, greeted attendees and MC’d the festivities. The door prizes were donated by Senate members, and winners were chosen from random drawings of names “out of a hat.” There was also an opportunity drawing for a grand prize of a 4-G Kindle, which was won by Diane Hurd, AAS Division Chair. Proceeds from the drawing replenished the funds to purchase the Kindle and profits from ticket sales were credited to the Senate’s award fund.

The recognition awards were presented in acknowledgement of classified colleagues who have demonstrated outstanding service to the college community. Nominees for the Fall 2012 Award included:

  • Sandra Carter, Senior Administrative Assistant for Instructional Technology

  • Kim Habian, Purchasing Specialist, District Purchasing Department

  • Lydia Miranda, CAADP Program Assistant, Community Education

  • Chan Nguyen, Instructional Lab Technician, Chemistry Department

  • Susie Tong, Transfer/Career Advisor, Counseling Department

  • Star Underwood, Senior Administrative Assistant, Community Education

All nominees received an award certificate and a gift card for Drip Coffee.The person selected for the “Fall 2012 Classified Senate Recognition Award” was Sandra Carter. Sandy received several nominations, all acknowledging her extraordinary skills and consistent helpful demeanor to staff, faculty, students and the community who need her assistance, especially in the Fox Center. She guides students to their classes and reserves study rooms, meeting rooms, manages classroom scheduling and arranges for any needed technology equipment. She assists the Dean of Instructional Technology, Fred Chow, as well as faculty and staff who work in that area. Sandy was applauded for being the consummate professional, overseeing the many details and careful protocol of instructional technology with good-natured grace. Another special Senate recognition was given by Laurel Kinley to Geri Peterson for her over 15 years of service to the WVC Classified Senate. These end-of-semester general meetings of the Classified Senate are always well received and enjoyed. It’s a nice opportunity for staff to see and visit with colleagues from across campus. The next celebration will take place after the spring semester, during the first week of June.

by Geri Peterson

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 headder important dates

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Important Dates


Classified Senate Book Sale - AAS
April 24th & 25th
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Comencement Celebration
May 23rd,
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Classified Senate BBQ
May 29th, 2013

1st Tuesday of the Month
January through May, the Classified Senate meets from
12:30 - 2:30 p.m. in the WVC Campus Center Club Room

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West Valley Classified Senate
West Valley College
14000 Fruitvale Ave.
Saratoga, Ca 95070

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last published: 8/30/16