Awards Recipients

Outstanding Classified Staff Award

2024 Zorie Gomez

The principal criteria for receiving this award will be a record of superlative service as evidenced by:  

  1. providing exemplary service to students, faculty, other staff or administrators 
  2. demonstrating a commitment to quality work and continual improvement 
  3. participating in college committees or campus activities 
  4. fostering a positive learning and working environment 

There is no doubt in our minds that this campus should recognize Zorie Gomez, Public Safety Officer, for demonstrating the four criteria above. 

Library Technologist, Carlos Luna, writes “I just say how much I appreciate [Zorie] and everything [she does] for our campus. [She] always goes above and beyond... [and] is the epitome of what Public Safety can be and should be. I am always impressed by the time and care [she puts] into the work [she] does, whether it’s responding to an emergency, making time to engage in committees or even taking the time to just chat with students or staff.” When she shows up to a crisis situation, she skillfully de-escalates and brings a sense of calm to those around her. 

We see Zorie in so many spaces on campus and appreciate her willingness to learn and grow as an advocate for students. She has taken part in LEGS (Learning Equity and Growth Series) training, attended the Museum of Tolerance in 2019, has been a Puente mentor, and regularly attends EAPC as well as countless events on campus. So many folks on campus notice that she works incredibly hard and is dedicated to our students and staff. As Dr. Kassie Alexander, Promise Counselor and BSU advisor, puts it, Zorie doesn’t “just show up as security but as a secure person to connect with and a supportive and dedicated heart that we can all see.” According to Nimsi Garcia, Undocumented Community Center PSC, Zorie is “an exemplary Latina leader” who should be recognized and thanked for “all the care and compassion with which [she shows] up to work. [Her] positive attitude brightens every room [she]walks into,” and would like to recognize her “for all the ways in which [she brings her] whole heart and self to every space.” Cultural Center PSC Maggie De Paz Fernandez explains that her “presence and participation during events and programs brings light!”  Zorie is also the face of Public Safety for Student Senate, attending meetings in person every week to connect with student leaders and their work and ensuring there is a good connection with students. Arya Shahan, Student Senator, notes that “Whether in EAPC or ASCC, [her] commitment to equity and anti-racism across Cañada's campus is appreciated.”

Her support of the Black community on campus has been remarked on and deeply felt. As Candice Johnson, TRIO PSC and BSU advisor, puts it: “[Her] presence on our campus makes me feel safe and heard, and I'm so happy that [she is] here to support our students and us. [Her] heart is needed here!” Professor Lezlee Ware writes, “We truly appreciate [Zorie] and the Black members of our community feel safe and supported by [her]” while Professor Elizabeth Terzakis would like to thank Zorie for “everything [she has] done for our students and in particular our Umoja students.” Krystal Martinez, EAPC tri-chair, explains that Zorie is “a true gem on this campus and in the world. [Her] never-ending smile and passion for helping students on this campus feel safe and seen is absolutely beautiful to see. [Her] work is extremely valuable for the safety and success of this campus as a community.”

Administrators have noted that they “admire and have been amazed by [her] unceasing energy and dedication in serving our community with kindness and thoughtful consideration” and consider her “invaluable to this community” with a “love for the community” that is easy to see. 

So many people at Cañada would like to thank and recognize Zorie for being such an important presence on our campus and for all she does to advocate for and support students, faculty, and staff. We feel very strongly that she deserves to be recognized with the “Outstanding Staff Award” this year.   

2023 Jonna Pounds

Jonna goes above and beyond to provide exemplary service to students, faculty, other staff, and administrators, as division assistant in the Business, Workforce, and Design Division. Jonna has also participated in numerous college committees and campus activities. By sharing her expertise and insights, Jonna contributes to decision-making processes that shape our division’s and college’s direction. Her commitment to quality work and continual improvement is evident in her daily interactions, as she actively fosters a positive and dependable working environment. She works tirelessly at Cañada College and is the backbone of the Business, Workforce, and Design division.

2022 Vivien Huynh

Despite the overwhelming amount of work that Vivien must do, she consistently finds ways to help her co-workers and the other departments on campus. Her willingness to assist others and her commitment to the college is unequaled. Vivien always remains positive, friendly, and ensures everyone is treated with respect. Vivien has contributed to student success by providing equitable opportunities for all students at Cañada College.

2021 Roslind Young Roslind is an integral part of the chemistry department at Cañada College. During the pandemic, she created a lab kits so students can do laboratory work at home, allowing us to be the only community college in the Bay Area to do so and effectively meetingthe needs of our students. She is an effective team player, a good listener, and has great interpersonal skills. Roz also serves on PBC, representing classified staff faithfully and fearlessly.
2020 Allison Hughes Allison is an incredible resource to Cañada’s faculty and staff as our Instructional Technologist, and her work during this time of upheaval and transition to completely online education in the wake of a global pandemic has been truly outstanding. As a result of Allison’s hard work and dedication, our college has a treasure trove of resources for this transition to online education. She has been like a lighthouse while faculty find themselves in the stormy seas of converting their face-to-face classes to online platforms. We are lucky to have a technologist as a resource, and even more so, we are lucky to have Allison Hughes.
2019 Loretta Davis Loretta takes it upon herself to provide exceptional support and service to administrators, faculty, staff, and students. She discerns quickly their individual needs and moves efficiently to provide key information, recommendations, or direction.Fondly known as the ‘go-to’ person for most things at our college, she receives requests every day from faculty and staff who call upon her experience for information and advice. “Loretta always provides excellent service to our students and staff and welcomes everyone with a smile. She goes above and beyond when helping students,” shared a faculty member. Our fellow colleagues always commend her hard work, dedication, and professionalism.
2018 Mayra Arellano

Mayra Arellano exemplifies hard work, collaboration, and student-centered service.  Across the county, Cañada is well represented by her detailed knowledge, enthusiasm, and smiling face.  Despite a full calendar of outreach events, she is always willing to step up to attend an event where potential Cañada students may be or to support events on campus. She pursues collaboration with any organization where a shared effort will better serve our students. As a Manager, she has trained an amazing group of student ambassadors, who proudly represent her and this school, providing warmth and information about Cañada wherever they go. She provides these students with opportunities for growth, gives them thoughtful and timely feedback and grows them as leaders on our campus.

2017 Soraya Sohrabi Soraya Sohrabi is recognized for going out of her way to assist and advocate for students.  She is able to draw from a wealth of knowledge through her work in A&R, Transfer Center, Outreach, Articulation and Counseling.  She is further recognized for her work with the Student Recognition Reception, the Student Transfer Educational Program (STEP) and her service on Curriculum Committee, PBC, SSPC, Honors, Accreditation and as a regional representative for Transfer Center Directors to the CCCCO.  She is very generous with her time and support for students and colleagues.
2016 José Garcia José Garcia is recognized for serving as Visual Communications Coordinator with patient, supportive, kind, and helpful grace.  His work is excellent, impactful and enhances our college's reputation within our community.  José responds to every request, planned or sudden, with the same enthusiasm, speed, and responsiveness.  In a large, well-funded institution, an entire team of employees would be shouldering the same workload that José is in charge of.  Even in a comparably sized school as our own, it would take three people to somehow accomplish the work that José somehow manages every day.
2015 José Peña José Peña is recognized for the knowledge, service, and commitment he provides as Curriculum and Instructional Systems Specialist.  Aside from working extra time to meet deadlines, his commitment shines when he stops his work to attend to constant requests for help, to address a current need or question, to participate in a meeting, or to constantly improve the flow of instructional information and materials. Having been ingrained as an important cog in the Cañada College family for three decades, he has seen what can work versus what can be improved for the future, whether it is for a special event or a revised instructional plan.
2014 José Romero José Romero is recognized for his notable service in Admissions and Records, CBET and EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/FFYSI.  José is commended for going the extra mile to ensure that students receive vital financial support.  Long hours, volunteer work, personal sacrifice and advocacy both on campus and within the community characterize Jose’s work ethic.  José has been instrumental in increasing participation rates in CalWORKs, enhancing the CalWORKs Work Study program, and improving services for former foster youth.  His dedication to improving the educational opportunities of low-income and first generation students is highly admired.
2013 Gloria Peña  
2012 Maria Lara  
2011 Dottie Shilo  
2010 Georgia Clark  
2009 Joan Murphy  
2008 Maggie Souza  

Outstanding Faculty Award

2024 FT Ronda Chaney

Ronda has led the exemplary program of Fashion Design for multiple decades at Cañada College. Her leadership has included taking students on international field trips to Italy and hosting annual fashion shows. Ronda has also shown creativity and resilience in her teaching, such as growing the Fashion Design program during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ronda knows how to stitch over tough problems! In keeping with her tireless service to Cañada and its students, Ronda has worked hard to help the Fashion Design department transition after her retirement, preparing it for continued success as a model of excellence.

2024 PT Mike Noonan

Mike Noonan is an outstanding history and political science professor who teaches with passion fueled by vast knowledge of diverse subject matters.  He regularly earns praise from his students for his supportive and inspiring in person and virtual classroom style. Mike also contributes to the vitality of the campus community, presenting talks at the Cultural Center, Political Science Department and Social Sciences Topics of Interest (TOI).  Mike is a true academic, teacher and colleague who inspires us all to continually put students first. 

2023 FT Alison Field

Alison's has dedicated painstaking care in developing curriculum that engages students, makes history relevant to them, and encourages them to be critical thinkers through a mix of lectures, group work, discussion, field trips, and inquiry projects. Through explicit and enthusiastic support for all her students, Alison creates a welcoming classroom where students know they will be heard and respected. Her mentorship of students over the years has led several to become tutors and leaders on campus. Alison has been an active leader across Cañada, including the DREAMERs Task Force, advisor to DREAMERS Student club, member of the Mural Task Force, the Land Acknowledgement and Beyond Task Force, Academic Committee on Success and Equity, and a leader in creating the new Equity and Antiracism Planning Council. Alison brings her kindness and her fun, collaborative spirit to all her responsibilities. She has been instrumental in making our college a welcoming and safe place for our students and demonstrates her untiring engagement with the work of transforming our college into a place that disrupts inequity and fosters antiracist values. She is an amazing teacher, mentor, ally, and colleague.

2023 FT Susan Mahoney

Susan's efforts on behalf of Cañada’s Honors’ program demonstrate exceptional commitment to Cañada College’s mission to “engage and empower students in transforming their lives and communities through quality education.” Professor Mahoney’s outstanding qualities and achievements include the creation of an Honors contract seminar to support students with academic research, leading and growing the honors’ committee for six years that overlapped with a pandemic, as well as bringing more and diverse faculty into the Honors’ cadre. Professor Mahoney has tirelessly mentored students through the honors’ process. Susan’s mantra that honors’ work doesn’t necessarily mean doing more but rather thinking deeper or differently, frames the program in a way that makes it approachable and interesting for all students. She has coordinated highly successful annual Cañada Honors showcase events and facilitated involvement in the Bay Honors Research Symposium. Susan’s exceptional stewardship of our honors’ program, with the many opportunities it provides for students, faculty, the college, and the community at large, makes her richly deserving of the distinguished faculty award. Susan Mahoney’s work exemplifies our college’s vision of “providing equitable education such that students from diverse backgrounds are able to achieve their educational goals and benefit the world.”

2023 PT Alessandra Castello

Alessandra has exemplar commitment to supporting students’ success and enthuasiasm to teach all ESL students. Professor Castello has empathy and lots of patience toward students who are dealing with special challenges. She makes all students feel welcome while igniting their interest, curiosity, and excitement for learning. Teaching in the community, many students would not have reached Cañada’s campus without Alessandra’s support. Professor Castello meets and exceeds Cañada College’s mission and goals of engaging and empowering students in transforming their lives and communities through quality education.

2023 PT John Pérez

John gives exemplary service to students, faculty, other staff, and administrators. Professor John Pérez is a model of collegiality and active member of the Communication Studies department. He is constantly finding ways to better his teaching and providing support for faculty. Professor Pérez’s work ethic exemplifies a commitment to quality work and continual improvement. He is an active participant in SLO work with respect to his courses, consistently assessing his courses and adjusting as necessary. He is instrumental in zero-textbook-cost (ZTC) remixing for Communication Studies courses. Professor Pérez is a member of multiple college-wide committees: serving on the Honors Transfer Advisory Committee, Textbook Affordability subcommittee of Academic Senate, and the Peer Online Course Review group at Cañada College. Professor Pérez has also served as a Distance Education Coordinator, helping Cañada enter the CVC-OEI process. As a colleague and as an instructor, Professor John Pérez has shown himself to be warm, engaging, knowledgeable, and helpful. He is a true asset to the Communication Studies department and to the Cañada campus.

2022 PT Nick DeMello

Over the last several years, Nick DeMello has served as Distance Education Coordinator, both on his own and, later, in partnership. For some of those years, he also led district-level efforts, including the revitalization of District DEAC. In this capacity, he has galvanized efforts to prepare all of our faculty with respect to distance education, spearheading efforts to include training in all arenas. His work in these areas has led to the creation of Quality Online Teaching and Learning (QOTL), having a number of faculty become Peer Online Course Reviewers (POCR), which in turn has allowed our campus to be a part of the online course exchange for the state. His work led to the development of the Virtual Campus for students and the Faculty Gateway. He has done all of this alongside teaching Chemistry, serving as the Science and Technology Representative on Academic Senate, and serving on the Textbook Affordability Subcommittee of Academic Senate. Furthermore, he has been integral in the on-going efforts to update WebSchedule into something that will lead to significant updates for our students (and the rest of the community at large) in understanding the courses that SMCCCD offers and how to connect with our campuses. His efforts in all of these arenas have allowed students to persevere in all of their courses, regardless of modality, and to connect with services and campus personnel in a variety of ways. For these reasons and more, he has gone beyond the call of duty and deserves recognition. 

2021 FT Lezlee Ware Advocating for equity and inclusion in both word and deed, Lezlee co-founded Black Students Matter, spearheaded the Ethnic Studies creation, and is working to establish the UMOJA program at Cañada. Even amid this Pandemic, students continue to share what an amazing teacher she is and how, in spite of this unprecedented year of racial and political strife, Lezlee continues to be an anchor for them, making them feel safe, valued, and hopeful in their educational pursuits and future endeavors. Now more than ever, she deserves to be recognized and honored for her superlative service to her students, our college, and the district.
2021 PT Jan “Juanita” Lawrence  Jan was nominated for her excellent teaching, work developing and teaching the Spanish-language ECE course sequence, outstanding professional work in early childhood education, and ability to build relationships with students while we are all online. Juanita is highly committed to student success and utilizes a relationship-based approach to her teaching. Through the years Juanita has worked full time as a director in several highly regarded Early Learning Centers. One interesting, international, multi-year project she designed and ran was an early education literacy program in rural Mexico. As a Montessori trained teacher, she used a local venue to create a play-based literacy experience for children and their families, with the goal of supporting their early academic success. She consistently participates in dept meetings and advisory committee meetings as well as District-wide Education Department meetings and trainings.
2020 FT Raymond Lapuz Ray's contributions to Cañada College have demonstrated exceptional teaching, a passion for the success of our students, and a history of professional contributions to the mission and goals of Cañada College. Lapuz was instrumental in bringing UC Berkeley’s Faculty Learning Program (FLP) to our campus. The FLP program was designed by UC Berkeley STEM faculty as a professional learning program for all university and college instructors of STEM courses. Over the last few years, Lapuz has continued the momentum and peer support for FLP and expanded the program on our campus to include non-STEM faculty. His dedication to securing grant funding, recruiting faculty participants, and vision to expand this professional development program across the district are just some of the ways in which Lapuz has impacted the quality of teaching and learning on this campus.
2020 PT  Cathy Lipe Cathy Lipe has been an outstanding contributor to the Cañada College community since she started here over 10 years ago. This recognition is an excellent way to acknowledge her achievements. Cathy has taken her faculty position as MESA Coordinator and expanded it to encompass all sorts of student-centered programs, many of which she conceived and brought into existence. While her official duties are for the MESA program to serve low-income STEM students, she reaches out to any student that crosses her path.
2019 PT Kiran Malavade

Kiran Malavade has been an integral part of the English department for many years and has always been a fantastic and caring educator and contributor to the well-being of the department. Most recently, her efforts to help figure out how to best serve student needs in the aftermath of AB705, her consistent, proactive, and unpaid participation in department meetings and decision-making processes, and her general generosity with her time and resources have set her apart.

  FT David Eck

As a faculty member David is amazing in that he is not only a brilliant scholar but also an outstanding professor in a subject area that is notoriously difficult. Those who served on his hiring committee witnessed his ability to develop philosophy lessons that were entirely approachable without lowering his standards. His tenure committee continues to comment on this, and his students do as well. Generally speaking, most people find philosophy interesting but avoid philosophy courses because of their difficulty; after speaking to students about his classes we have found that is not the case with David. He is quite simply a master in terms of creating ways for students to understand difficult subject matter.

2018 FT Doniella Maher Doniella Maher has worked tirelessly to support activities related to the English department and various student groups and support services across campus. While serving as the department coordinator for English, Doniella keeps our department organized and active, from leading tutor training, coordinating meetings among English faculty and support services like ESO Adelante! and academic counselors, arranging the Humanities and Social Sciences Awards Night, preparing the English department’s program review, serving on multiple committees such as ACES and Academic Senate, proudly supporting AFT efforts on campus, and inspiring and mentoring students and other instructors alike.
2017 PT Elizabeth Barile Elizabeth Barile is recognized for excellence in teaching chemistry and mentoring students.  Through outreach of chemistry magic shows to underrepresented students and to the Redwood City community, Elizabeth models the shows the passion and potential of women in science.  She is a mentor to our NSF scholar students and, as faculty co-advisor to the InterVarsity student club, helps  students develop their leadership skills, practice inclusivity and promote social justice.
  FT Dani Behonick Dani Behonick is recognized for her tenacious work ethic and dedication to student success.  She goes beyond the call of duty providing students with the support they need to succeed.  Without fail Dani steps up when opportunity and need arises to work with colleagues within her department and across campus.  She takes initiative in developing new courses to meet student needs whether in women's health or across disciplines and divisions.  Dani's leadership as local Curriculum Chairperson and District Curriculum Chair has elevated the practices and discourse of these bodies.
2016 PT Sarah Harmon Sarah Harmon is recognized for her devotion to teaching Spanish and Linguistics, her support of academic excellence through the Honors Transfer Program, her support of teaching and learning through instructional design, and her service through accreditation, Planning & Budgeting Council, and Academic Senate.  Sarah's dedication and efforts are is widely recognized as beyond the call of duty. 
  FT Lezlee Ware & ElizabethTerzakis  Lezlee Ware and Elizabeth Terzakis are recognized for embodying justice and advocacy through serving as AFT chapter co-chair for eight years.  Without their undying dedication to this work and without the integrity that they brought to their positions, the body politic would be much the worse for wear.  We are all in their debt.
2015 PT Kristen Parks Kristen Parks is recognized for her commitment to excellence in teaching, ongoing professional development as an educator, and involvement in professional activities related to political science and immigration reform. Kristen is commended for serving on the Curriculum Committee as well as advising and organizing activities for the DREAMers club.  Her leadership in coordinating the College for Working Adults has significantly contributed to the success and acclaim of this program.
  FT Denise Hum Denise Hum is recognized for “a tenacious work ethic” and “always doing what is right for students and the college.”  Denise is commended for her efforts to improve student completion in math through her consistent involvement in Math Jam, extensive tutoring throughout the year, and innovative curriculum development that led to an accelerated pathway to Calculus.  Denise leads the team currently involved in the Reading Apprenticeship for STEM and also collaborates with colleagues in grant-writing efforts to continue the successful initiatives of the STEM Center.
  FT Michael Hoffman Michael Hoffman is recognized for his extensive and ongoing professional development related to teaching, sharing that training with colleagues to bring about improvements in the math program.  Michael’s commitment to student success is further demonstrated through his efforts to help ESL students overcome their fear of math, providing tutor training, advising of the Math Club and the creation of a Math Club scholarship for students involved in math tutoring.  His leadership of ACES and his role in the creation of faculty-staff collaborations for student success has gained significant acclaim

Exemplary Program Award - ASCCC

2019 nominee COLTS Academy
2018 nominee CWA
2015 nominee COLTS Academy
2014 winner Math Jam

Hayward Award - ASCCC

2020 nominee Rebekah Taveau
2018 nominee Rebekah Taveau
2017 nominee Elizabeth Barile
2015 nominee Kristen Parks
2014 nominee Anniqua Rana