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Education leaders expand opportunities for students

NORTH BAY – In order to have cutting-edge ideas in business today, a community needs innovative leaders in education. In the North Bay, there is an abundance of people dedicating their lives to developing the leaders of tomorrow. From superintendents, to business school deans, to principals dedicated to giving the most opportunity to high schoolers, this special report highlights some of those committed individuals in the community making an outstanding difference.

The North Bay’s leaders in education, listed alphabeticallyDr. Robert Agrella

Superintendent/president, Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa 95401, 707-527-4011, santarosa.edu

Dr. Robert Agrella became Santa Rosa Junior College’s fourth superintendent/president in 1990.

A mathematics major with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in mathematics from Purdue University, Dr. Agrella earned his doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University. Prior to moving to Santa Rosa, he served for five years as superintendent/president of Cabrillo College in Aptos. Dr. Agrella also served as superintendent/president of Mendocino College in Ukiah from 1978 to 1980 and has an additional 16 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator in Arizona and Illinois.

He has been active in many business, professional and community organizations in California and Arizona. Dr. Agrella is involved in such community organizations as the Board of Directors of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and the North Bay Business Council. He and his wife, Kim, make their home in Santa Rosa.

Dr. Ruben Armiñana

President, Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park 94928, 707-664-2880, sonoma.edu

Dr. Ruben Armiñana has been the president of Sonoma State University since 1992. He is also a professor of political science. Dr. Armiñana, who was born in Cuba, is the former president of the Western College Association and serves on several California State University system-wide committees.

Dr. Armiñana served as vice president for finance and development at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, from 1988 to 1992. Prior to that, he served at Tulane University as vice president and assistant to the president. He also held faculty appointments at both institutions, in political science at Pomona and in international business and political science at Tulane.

During Dr. Armiñana’s tenure as president, he has been successful in furthering the academic and instructional programs of the university. Under his leadership, the university has experienced a steady increase in private donor investment and has entered into numerous partnership programs with businesses and public institutions in the North Bay.

He created the Educational Mentoring Team program; instituted the Assured Access Program, which requires 24-hour access to personal computing for all students; and supported the founding of the master’s degree program in computer and engineering science in conjunction with the North Bay technology community.

By partnering with the Santa Rosa Symphony, the university has undertaken a $40 million capital campaign, with a lead gift from Donald and Maureen Green, to build the Green Music Center. The Lifelong Learning Institute, a program for senior citizens, was started in the School of Extended Education, and the university’s academic grants and contracts activity has developed significantly.

Dr. Armiñana also has overseen the development of the campus with the construction of the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center and the Environmental Technology Center; the renovation of Salazar Hall, which offers a central location for all student services; along with modern classrooms and laboratories and the expansion of residential housing. The building of the Student Recreation Center will support the co-curricular life of students, and the pending renovation of Darwin Hall will enhance the university’s science programs.

Mary Jane Burke

Superintendent, Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Ave., San Rafael 94903, 415-472-4110, marinschools.org

Mary Jane Burke has been superintendent of schools for Marin County since 1995. A graduate of Dominican University in San Rafael, she holds a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in special education.

Prior to her appointment as superintendent, she worked as a special education teacher.

She has been awarded Marin County Schoolmaster of the year and the Dominican University of California Alumni Award, as well as the Marin Association of Superintendents Award for Educational Leadership.

She is a member of the School and College Legal Services of California Board and the California Mentor Foundation and a past president of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association.

Dr. Luís María Calingo

Dean of the School of Business and Leadership, Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael 94901, 415-457-4440, dominican.edu

Dr. Luís María Calingo, is dean of Dominican University of California’s School of Business and Leadership. Dr. Calingo came to Dominican in 2007 after serving as dean of the John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business at John Carroll University in Cleveland.

Prior to that, he served as dean of the College of Business Administration and as professor of international business at California State University, Long Beach. He is also past chair of the California State University Association of Business Deans, which coordinates the academic leadership initiatives of the 23 business schools in the state university system.

Over the past 10 years, Dr. Calingo has held senior administrative positions in higher education in Asia and the United States. As chief executive officer of the College of Business Administration, serving approximately 5,000 students and employing 150 full-time equivalent faculty and staff, Dr. Calingo led CSULB’s efforts to have its Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation status changed from continuing review to reaffirmation.

He also led collaborative efforts involving five other colleges at CSULB to establish new interdisciplinary academic programs. During his tenure, CSULB’s business school had an increase in applications for admission from nearly 5,000 in 2000 to nearly 9,000 in 2006. During that same period, the average graduation time decreased from nearly six years in 2000 to five years in 2006. Under his leadership, CSULB’s business school was recognized with the California Prospector Award in 2002.

Among his pioneering initiatives at CSULB was the establishment of undergraduate business degree programs in Malaysia and Singapore that have recently been approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Dr. Calingo holds a doctorate, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of the Philippines and a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from the University of the Philippines.

Julie Carver

President/principal, Ursuline High School, 90 Ursuline Rd., Santa Rosa 95403, 707-524-1130, ursulinehs.org

In her second year as president and principal at Ursuline, Julie Carver has focused on upgrading technology and classroom resources to address the changing needs of students today. Ms. Carver’s background is in both education and business.

Prior to coming to Ursuline, she was a professor at both the University of Southern California and Pepperdine University and also has worked in marketing and operations. Ms. Carver holds a bachelor’s and a master’s in communications from Pepperdine and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame.

She graduated from Ursuline in 1988 and says it is “the best school I ever attended, and I will work so that future students can say the same.”

Julee Cole

Executive director, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, 707-523-2079, tomorrowsleaderstoday.org/home.html

For more than 10 years, Julee Cole has been the executive director of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, a community leadership education program for high school juniors. Tomorrow’s Leaders’ goal is to bring young leaders into active community roles that will continue throughout their adult lives, and it is sanctioned by the Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg, Cloverdale and Petaluma school districts and accredited by Santa Rosa Junior College.

Throughout the academic year, students are excused from school one day per month to meet and work with leaders and experts in eight different aspects of community, working on projects and creating possible solutions. The eight program days explore current issues, challenges and opportunities in natural resources and agriculture, government, health education, human services, planning and development, criminal justice, business and tourism and media and communication skills. The program year closes with a graduation celebration.

Ms. Cole has been in Santa Rosa for nearly 30 years. She was development

director for the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County for nine years, instrumental in expanding the Human Race fourfold and creating the Giving Tree Project. As a volunteer, she helped start First Night Santa Rosa and Schools Plus. She directed Leadership Santa Rosa and Tomorrow’s Leaders Today at the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and with a committee started TLT as a nonprofit corporation in 1999.

Dr. Joseph Fink

President, Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael 94901, 415-457-4440, dominican.edu

In the first 20 years of his tenure as president of Dominican University, Dr. Joseph Fink restructured the management of the university, assumed control of academic and fiscal affairs and moved Dominican to university status. Since 1988 the university’s enrollment has more than tripled, from 650 students to more than 2,000 in fall of 2008.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Fink was the president of an independent liberal arts college in Pennsylvania and the president of a public college in New Jersey. He also served as dean of arts and sciences at the City Colleges of Chicago. He began his career at a small liberal arts college as an associate professor of history and assistant to the president.

Since he became president of Dominican, SAT average scores have risen by more than 180 points. Annual gross operating revenues have increased from $7.2 million to $54 million. The level of fundraising has increased dramatically, including approximately $80 million acquired to renovate more than half of the buildings on campus and build a recreation complex, new residence halls and a state-of-the-art science research center. The university has adopted a strategic institutional plan and has the strongest fiscal condition in its history.

Dr. Fink and his wife Denise live in Sausalito. He is the father of four children, Michael and Taryn, who reside on the East Coast, and 11 year-old twins – a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Madison. On occasion he may be seen jogging up and down the hills of Sausalito, but more than likely you will find him in his office at Dominican or at one of the many restaurants in Marin County or San Francisco.

Dr. Curtis Groninga

Assistant superintendent/vice president of administrative services, Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa 95401, 707-527-4011, santarosa.edu

Dr. Curtis Groninga has been instrumental in building up the facilities available for the students of Santa Rosa Junior College for the past 27 years. Most recently, he was involved in the acquisition of the Petaluma Campus property and in coordinating development activities for both Phase I and II during the evolution and growth of that campus.

Roy Hurd

Chairman, chief executive officer and president, Empire College, 3035 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa 95403, 707-546-4000, empcol.edu

Roy Hurd, a native San Franciscan, came to the North Bay in 1987 when he became chairman, CEO and president of Empire College. He had served as president of Sawyer Business College in Santa Clara and also taught electrical and electronic engineering. He holds degrees from Menlo and Heald Colleges in science and electrical engineering, respectively.

Mr. Hurd wanted to get into education because “helping people change their lives for the better is a personally rewarding experience.”

In his position at Empire, he has full responsibility for the management of Empire School of Business and School of Law.

Empire College features a variety of career training programs such as business administration courses, medical assistant courses, information technology classes and a Juris Doctor program.

Since 1961, the School of Business has dedicated its resources to providing career education. Over the past five years, Empire graduates have been placed in more than 1,500 companies, earning a combined income of more than $200 million.

Mr. Hurd served as chairman of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts was on the board for the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

In his spare time, Mr. Hurd enjoys photography, model building, glass fusing, duck and pheasant hunting and cooking. He has won several awards for photography. He and his wife Sherie live in Sebastopol with their three dogs. They have three children and six grand-children.

Amy Jones-Kerr

Principal, Roseland University Prep, 100 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa 95407, 707-566-9990, roselandsd.org/schools/roselandup

A lifelong Sonoma County resident, Amy Jones-Kerr has worked in the Roseland School District for the past nine years, including time volunteering while earning a bachelor’s degree at Sonoma State University.

She entered the Bilingual-Multiple Subject Credential Program, while completing student teaching at Sheppard Elementary. In 1997, Ms. Jones-Kerr was hired as a first/second multi-age bilingual teacher.

After five years of teaching at an elementary level, she began teaching seventh grade at Roseland Accelerated Middle School. In 2003, she became the assistant principal and simultaneously obtained an administrative credential through Sonoma State.

In January 2004, Superintendent Gail Ahlas and Ms. Jones-Kerr started Roseland University Prep, the very first high school in the Roseland School District, from the ground up. Ms. Jones-Kerr took on the position as the principal of Roseland University Prep. “In our two short years in operation, over 50 percent of our students have earned over a 3.0 GPA each semester,” she said.

Eighty-two percent of the sophomores passed both sections of the High School Exit Exam, and ninety-one percent passed at least one section on the first attempt. During its first year, RUP was granted WASC interim accreditation, making its courses transferable to colleges and universities. Most importantly, she said, the students at RUP take ownership and pride in their school and truly want to be there.

Roseland University Prep was acknowledged for “Empowering the Latino Community by the North Bay Leadership Council” in 2008 for its leadership in “closing the achievement gap in education within the Latino community and promoting an increased number of high school graduates moving on to attend higher education.”

Roseland University Prep graduates are expected to give back to the community. The school is already experiencing graduates coming back to tutor, mentor younger students and provide interpreting services for parents.

Ms. Jones-Kerr currently lives in Santa Rosa with husband Sean Kerr.

Dr. Chris McCarthy

President, Napa Valley College, 277 Napa-Vallejo Highway, Napa 94558, 707-253-3000, napavalley.edu

Dr. Chris McCarthy has been the superintendent/president of Napa Valley College since 2002. Previously, he served as the executive vice president of instructional services at Glendale Community College and in various positions, including dean of academic affairs and professor of English, at Los Angeles Harbor College.

Dr. McCarthy is president of California Colleges for International Education, chair of the California Community Colleges’ Economic Development and Planning Advisory Committee, a commissioner with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and a member of the board of directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

He has formerly served on the California Community Colleges CEO Board, and he is co-facilitator of the Vineyard Leadership Symposium. He holds a Doctor of Education and a Master of Arts from U.C.L.A., a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts from Immaculate Heart College. He has published the chapter, “Learning on the Job: Moving from Faculty to Administration” in the New Directions for Community Colleges series and “The Project for Adult College Education: Student Characteristics, Perceptions and Writing Development” as an ERIC Digest. Various pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other publications.

Dr. Barbara Nemko

Superintendent, Napa County Office of Education, 2121 Imola Ave., Napa 94559, 707-253-6860, ncoe.k12.ca.us

Dr. Barbara Nemko has been superintendent of schools for Napa County since 1997, coming to Napa after 12 years at U.C. Davis, where she directed numerous projects for the California Department of Education. As an advocate for career education, she has made the county office’s Regional Occupational Program more sensitive to employment trends, adding new courses in areas such as biotechnology, forensics and fashion merchandising. Current plans include green construction.

Ms. Nemko changed Regional Occupation Program courses to increase their academic rigor so that most are now approved by the University of California as meeting academic entry requirements.

Ms. Nemko worked with local officials in Calistoga to open the first publicly funded Child Development Center as an inclusion model where kids with disabilities are served alongside nondisabled children, many of whom are English learners. This model program recently was featured in a California Department of Education webinar as a statewide exemplary program.

Under her direction, Napa County Office of Education instituted after-school programs on 18 elementary and middle school campuses in the county, serving thousands of children annually.

Ms. Nemko’s work has been recognized regionally and statewide. The county office of education has won four Golden Bell awards from the California School Boards Association. She was named Superintendent of the Year for Region 4 in 2004-2005 and was recently named Woman of the Year by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans.

Dr. William Silver

Dean of the School of Business and Economics, Sonoma State University

1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park 94928, 707-664-2880, sonoma.edu

Dr. William Silver began his tenure as dean for the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University in July 2008. He came to California from Colorado, where he served as chief operating officer and senior associate dean for the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver.

During his time at Daniels College, Dr. Silver directed academic operations valued at $60 million for nine graduate business degree programs and 19 undergraduate majors, serving more than 3,200 business students and emphasizing values-based leadership, innovation, international business and sustainable development.

Recognized for his innovations in leadership development, Dr. Silver has directed executive and corporate education programs for more than 75 clients encompassing startup, mid, enterprise and global organizations. Recent client organizations include First Data Corp., Newmont

Mining, Allstate Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, Hewlett Packard, Time Warner Telecom and Lockheed Martin.

Since coming to the North Bay, Dr. Silver has been working to “break down the ivory tower of education” and bring the business community into the conversation of how to make business education and training more effective. The Center for Advising and Placement has opened on campus for students to learn more about how to get out into the business community through the internship and mentoring programs the school has made available.

Dr. Silver received his doctorate in business administration from the University of Washington and his B.A. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.

Mike Truesdell

President and chief executive officer, Cardinal Newman College Prep, 50 Ursuline Rd., Santa Rosa 95403, 707-546-6470, cardinalnewman.org

Since Michael Truesdell became president and CEO of Cardinal Newman College Prep in 2004, he has worked hard to make positive changes at the school.

He spearheaded the development of the “...our best, The Cooperative Campaign” with Ursuline High School. He created a new Office of Institutional Advancement, including new leadership and procedures, and selected a third-party audit firm to conduct the first-ever audit of financial statements in accordance with GAAP.

He holds a Master of Business Administration from Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in modern languages from the University of Notre Dame.

He has been published in Business Technology Association’s Western and Northern California Newsletters.

He is a member of the Rotary Club in Santa Rosa and in his spare time enjoys viticulture, snow skiing and golf. He makes his home in Novato.

Rosa Turner

Director, North Bay Campus, University of San Francisco Santa Rosa Campus, 416 B St., Santa Rosa 95401, 707-527-9612, usfca.edu/regions/santarosa

Rosa Turner has served as director of the Santa Rosa campus of University of San Francisco since 2003. She joined the team in 2001 as assistant director for academic advising. Under her leadership, the campus has developed new programming to serve the North Bay in health occupations, nursing and school counseling.

Prior to joining USF, Ms. Turner worked as a classified staff member and adjunct faculty in the English as a Second Language and Computer & Information Science Departments at Santa Rosa Junior College for 16 years. Ms. Turner is a USF alumna and holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior and a master’s in teaching English as a second language.

Ms. Turner has lived in Sonoma County since 1949 in Boyes Hot Springs, where her family was in the gourmet grocery business for more than 25 years.

Dr. Frances White

Superintendent/president, College of Marin, 835 College Ave., Kentfield 94904, 415-457-8811, marin.cc.ca.us

Dr. Frances White, a community college educator for more than 30 years, was appointed superintendent/president of the Marin Community College District in 2004. Previously, she served five years as president of Skyline College.

Her administrative experience in community colleges covers a variety of roles, including serving as the executive vice chancellor at City College of San Francisco and the interim chancellor of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District.

Dr. White has a Ph.D. in education administration from U.C. Berkeley, a master’s in counseling psychology and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the California State University at Hayward. She is a community college graduate and earned an associate degree in general education from Merritt College in Oakland.

As a professional, Dr. White has served on numerous local, state and national boards, commissions and committees. Most recently, she was president of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) President’s Academy and has served as a member of the President’s Academy executive committee for the past four years.

Dr. White is also a former member of the Commission on Learning and Technology, Commission American Council on Education, Office of Women in Higher Education and the American Association of Women in Community Colleges.

Dr. Carl Wong

Superintendent, Sonoma County Office of Education, 5340 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403, 707-524-2720, scoe.org

Dr. Carl Wong became the Sonoma County superintendent of schools in 2002. In this elected position, he provides countywide leadership for the kindergarten through 12 grade public school system, which is comprised of 40 school districts with a combined student population of 71,000 students.

His primary responsibilities are to provide leadership, support and fiscal oversight to all school districts in the county and to act as the chief executive officer of the Sonoma County Office of Education.

Dr. Wong is a first-generation Chinese-American. His mother was born in Shanghai, and his father’s family came from the southern provinces of China. As a young boy, he lived in the federal housing projects in Vallejo, where his father was employed at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Prior to starting kindergarten, Dr. Wong was bilingual in Mandarin and Cantonese. Although he now speaks only English fluently, he has maintained a passion for authentic Chinese food.

Dr. Wong recalls enjoying junior high and high school, but readily admits he was a less than stellar academic student. Upon graduation from Napa High School in 1965, he took the civil service exam and served a four-year apprenticeship as a machinist at the Mare Island Shipyard, becoming a journeyman machinist in 1969. He completed his lower division coursework at night school through Napa Community College, then transferred to Chico State University to major in industrial technology.

Dr. Wong is a Sonoma County Board of Supervisors appointee to the Workforce Investment Board. He serves on the Sonoma County Youth Education and Employment Council, United Way of Sonoma-Mendocino-Lake board of directors and the Santa Rosa Mayor’s Gang Task Force. He is an active community speaker, a strong supporter of the arts and an advocate for children of all ethnic backgrounds.

Dr. Wong resides in Petaluma with his wife Vivien, who is the director of home-based educational programs for the Mark West Union School District.