KernCCD team in DC

I recently saw the movie “Belfast,” Kenneth Branagh’s homage to his childhood city and growing up during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The movie – nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, as well as Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Sound – shares the story of 9-year old Buddy and his family, Protestants, living in Belfast beginning in 1969, as increasing sectarian violence eventually forces them to make difficult decisions about their future. The movie echoes Branagh’s own childhood. He has said it’s not autobiographical, but rather inspired by his memories – “a look at a people and a place in tumult.”

And there is a fun scene with Jamie Dornan performing Everlasting Love. I could only find 52 seconds of it on youtube. Go ahead and watch it …. you will totally love it.

And here is the trailer of the movie


I got a chance to catch a little bit of Olympics over the past few weeks. wow…. talent, discipline and sportsmanship.

A few highlights:

Chloe Kim defended her gold medal from 2018, winning again in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe:

Nathan Chen set a world record for his score in the Men’s Figure Skating short program – on his way to a gold medal.

And did you catch one of the newest Olympic sports – monobob? It made its Olympic debut this year. The US took gold and silver in the inaugural event, with Kaillie Humphries winning the gold and Elana Meyers Taylor taking the silver.

And last week, I traveled to the Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington, DC, with a KCCD delegation that included Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Yovani Jimenez, as well as Senator Emeritus Jean Fuller

While there, a group of us from the Community College League of California met with US Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Angela Hanks to discuss the key role that community colleges play in training our workforce.

We also met with Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal to advocate on behalf of community colleges across California.

Trustee Jimenez and I snapped a photo with Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alejandra Castillo.

It was so inspirational to listen to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, who was the keynote speaker. She is a fierce advocate of community colleges – did you know she is a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College?

She spoke of the key role community colleges play in transforming lives and boosting local economies:

“We’ve seen how entire towns can be transformed when community colleges and private companies work together to train students for jobs that are desperately needed—with skills like manufacturing or modernizing our electrical grid.”

I am so excited to continue the important work that Kern Community College District is doing to prepare the workforce of the future. #KernDaringMightyThings

Good morning, friends…
It is February 19, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 

Porterville College

PC Men’s Basketball makes push for the playoffs

The Porterville College men’s basketball team put on an impressive showing versus the Fresno City College Rams to improve their record to 18-7 overall with a 9-4 record in the Central Valley Conference. This win comes at the tail end of an impressive six-game winning streak.

The Pirates came into this week with an 85-78 win against Fresno City after what was a very tense game. Isaiah Josue led the team in scoring with 20 points, and Quame Smith had an equally impressive 19.

The night started with a celebration of PC’s Sophomore players for their fantastic tenure. Sophomores Jaden Jones and Chirrag Sidhu were honored for their time as Pirate Student-Athletes before tip-off.

After a mostly tied first half, the Pirates went into halftime leading 44-33. PC head coach Amaurys Fermin highlighted the need to keep aggressive in his halftime remarks to the team. “Continue to stay positive. Stay locked in… They go harder at the rim; we have to keep pressure. In the second half we run our lanes and keep up basket pressure. It’s just 20 minutes guys, lock it up!” encouraged Fermin.

The second half of play was just as tense as the first with the score being tied several times throughout the half. The Rams started the stretch taking the lead with a three pointer for a short time before the Pirates would tie again at 49-49. This was the last time the Rams would be this close. 

The score would be 80-72 in PCs favor by the time there were 38 seconds left to play. Several fouls led to an 84-75 lead from the Pirates with the final box score being 85-78.

This marks the first time PC has swept Fresno City since 2001. PC is also looking to make it to the state playoffs for the first time since it won the state title in 2000.

“This means a lot to us. These wins are so good to have. Especially since coach Haynes used to be the Pirates head coach just last year.” said Fermin. “I think this breaks some twenty-year streak where we couldn’t beat them twice in a season. With the right play at the right time, we’ve been able to build up this six-time win streak.”

When asked about his feelings on this season so far, Fermin could only express joy. “I couldn’t be happier about our offense and defense. We played hard all year for this and watching our sophomores Jaden (Jones) and Chirrag (Sidhu) leading our games, it’s been a thrill to coach them. With the season finishing against Reedley (on February 18th) I’m looking to clinch the playoffs for the first time in years.”  

Staff and Faculty Share thoughts on Equity and Inclusion with Students

PC Faculty and staff presented the first in a series of Black History Month events this Thursday, with a panel discussion called “Real Talk”. 

Students joined our Real Talk panel on zoom and in person at our STEM and Literacy Innovation Centers to have a frank conversation about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on campus.

The panel, moderated by Reagen Dozier, PC’s Title V Coordinator, consisted of Dr. Julian West, Director of Equity and Student Success, Dr. Denise Jackson, Biology Instructor, and Dr. Arlitha Williams-Harmon, KCCD Chief Financial Officer.  The group discussed the impact that Porterville College has had on their lives and the opportunities they have been given to succeed here.  They discussed their own personal stories and answered student questions on topics related to the struggles our students go through every day.  Special attention was paid to the student experience and opening perspectives to see beyond our own belief systems.

“Someone has to give that support guidance and structure to our students.  Everyone needs to work together to make sure everyone has the same student experience.” -Dr. Denise Jackson

“Failure is not an option.  What do we need to do to make sure our students succeed? I’m going to help be a part of the solution, so all students feel included.” -Dr. Arlitha Williams-Harmon. Join us on February 24th from 12 pm – 1:15 pm as we present Guest Speaker Dr. Edward Bush. Dr. Bush is an inspiring higher education leader, author, scholar, and speaker. You can learn more about him in his bio here.

Students and a bit of spring return to campus

Students returned to campus this week as the majority of classes are now being offered in an in-person format for the first time this semester. It is wonderful to have a return to “normalcy” with students changing classes, meeting in the cafeteria, and going about their daily class routines once again.  It’s also nice to see the return of sunny skies and flowers on the trees as Spring starts to show itself again on campus!

Cerro Coso Community College

CC Reaps Benefits of Garden Club Efforts

Cerro Coso Garden Club was established in Jan 2021 with the support of Phi Theta Kappa and President Hancock, and since then members have been active with two projects – rehabilitation of the pistachio grove, and establishing a garden plot with raised planters.

To revive the forgotten pistachio grove, Garden Club members dug watering trenches around each of the 30 pistachio trees. These trenches not only define the beds, but also hold excess water near the trees to prevent run-off. Furthermore, because pistachio trees grow best with infrequent, deep waterings, members fine-tuned the watering schedule and periodically fertilized the trees. These efforts paid off as the trees recovered, showing lush foliage growth and flowers during early spring. With the denser vegetation, a diversity of birds have returned to the area, as observed by members of the Kerncrest Audubon Society during their regular walks in the area.

A main objective of the Garden Club is to create a campus garden to teach students sustainable gardening skills and to provide hands-on experience in growing their own food. This garden was constructed last fall on the east side of the campus: Cody Pauxtis and his team leveled the ground, fenced off the area, and set up a programmable watering supply to the area. CCCC Hunger Free Program funded the purchase of materials for building planter boxes, and with technical advice from Don Seymour, professors Claudia Sellers and Guck Ooi built fourteen raised planter boxes in the Art Building. The CCCC Foundation provided funds for the purchase of vegetable seeds, resulting in the seeding of eight of these planters for the fall and winter growing season. They are all showing optimistic signs of growth!

It has been a productive growing season despite everyone vegetating during the cold winter break, and we hope to update you with the progress. If you wanted to branch out and do something down to earth, join the Garden Club. To participate, email us at, connect with us through Pronto (group code EUQ9CJ), and follow us on Instagram cccc_gardenclub.

AAUW hears about educational opportunity in Tehachapi

Nicole Griffin, who shared information about Cerro Coso, was introduced to AAUW by Anne Marie Novinger, right.

Nicole Griffin shared her enthusiasm about working at Cerro Coso College at the February meeting of American Association of University Women. She is dean of Career-Technical Education, a recent promotion since joining the college staff in 2017.

She declared that education is transformative. One of AAUW’s main goals is promoting education for women and girls, so all were in agreement with her statement.

Griffin gave several examples of students who were able to turn their lives around, find satisfying employment and new interests after graduating from Cerro Coso.

She explained the many classes and majors which are offered and encouraged checking for a complete listing.

Membership in AAUW is open to both women and men with a 2-year or higher degree from an accredited institution.

Information about Tehachapi Mountain Branch AAUW may be found at Call 714-313-0456 for more information.

Promise Student Kylie Timmons says CC offers lots of Great Classes Locally

A typical Cerro Coso College student?  That would be impossible to describe as our students hail from different backgrounds, possess a variety of skills and talents, and each pursue their education and interests on their own terms.  Yet, they all found their fit at Cerro Coso Community College through a variety of educational options, delivery modes, and dedicated faculty. 

Like Promise student Kylie Koch, who is pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse.  While the hours required to become a nurse are challenging, Kylie knows the time and effort will be worth it in the end.  Like all nursing students, Kylie will help people when they need it most.  Whether they are sick, injured, experiencing pain and joy. Nurses entering the healthcare industry know they will always be essential and make a significant impact on people’s lives.

The Cerro Coso Promise scholarship has “helped me get involved in the community, meet new people, and provided financial help,” said Kylie.  She ran across the Promise application while searching the college website for scholarship opportunities. She encourages other full-time students to consider the Cerro Coso Promise program, “Promise scholarships help student not working, financially.  Gives you a chance to show your face in the community, and share what Cerro Coso has to offer.”

Getting into the nursing program at the college is one of Kylie’s favorite memories at Cerro Coso.  One step closer to making her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) come true.  “Cerro Coso offers a lot of great classes locally that you can take towards your degree before moving on,” she said.  One of Kylie’s favorite classes was Anatomy and Physiology with Professor Guck Oui, “very fun and he is a very smart teacher”.        

Born and raised in Ridgecrest, the ability to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse and getting the education she needed locally was important, because she is part of the family owned business.  She is grateful for the opportunities and support that she has received from Cerro Coso and the Promise program, and hopes to graduate this May with her certificate in nursing.          

Education opens minds and possibilities.  The Cerro Coso Promise program helps students remove a barrier to pursuing their higher education – by making it affordable.  Full-time students who hold to their “promise” receive $1,000 per semester, for up to 4 semesters, (even if they are not eligible for financial aid), to help with enrollment fees, books, and more.  Certain restrictions apply.  Find out more today at

Bakersfield College

BC and the Livermore Lab Foundation Launch New Partnership

Bakersfield College and the Livermore Lab Foundation have launched a partnership focused on scientific technical assistance, community education, and workforce development. The partnership will support BC’s Valley Strong Energy Institute, a public education series, as well as provide technical expertise from lab scientists and engineers on research, grant applications and regional initiatives.

In addition to the formal partnership with Bakersfield College,  LLF and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently launched the Carbon Cleanup Initiative, which provides public education and classroom learning materials on climate change, carbon mitigation and storage solutions. More than 30 educators statewide were selected to participate in the inaugural cohort class, including two BC professors – Gilbert Ayuk and Paul Murray.  Additional information on this program can be found at

And check out this amazing article from John Cox in The Bakersfield Californian about the partnership.

Bakersfield College Hosts BC Early College Convening 

The BC Early College team was excited to host administrators, counselors, and instructors from over 40 of their high school partners for the 2022 Early College Convening that took place on Friday, January 28th. The morning began with a special keynote presentation by retired state senator Dr. Jean Fuller, who was joined by Wonderful College Prep Academy class of 2018 graduate Celeste Galvan. Dr. Fuller and Ms. Galvan both shared their inspiring journeys and about the role that Bakersfield College played in each of their lives. What a great reminder of the “Why?” behind out work!

Next, Early College Director Kylie Campbell shared data and updates on the success of the Early College program, which she attributed to the hard work and collaboration between BC and each of their high school district partners. The team shared this short video of highlights from the program from the last year.

After the opening session, several BC staff from other departments partnered with the Early College team to offer breakout sessions about CTE programs, academic support services, scheduling, instructor support tools,, health science pathways, concurrent enrollment, academic standing, and more! All breakout session recordings and materials are available here for you to check out.

Thank you to the Early College team and all departments who contributed to make this year’s Early College Convening at Bakersfield College another great success!

BC Offers Success for Online Learning for Students Needing Help with Hybrid and Online Learning

Do you know students who are having difficulty with hybrid or online learning? Or who needs a little more practice navigating Canvas for F2F classes? Bakersfield College has designed a course for struggling students or students who just want to optimize their overall learning strategies. The course is titled “Success for Online Learning (EDUC B68NC)”. It is a non-credit, fully online, 1-week course with Zoom drop-in support hours available for all sections. There are no fees or additional materials required.

Students will learn strategies to more effectively navigate and use Canvas features, practice using features in their BC email and Canvas Inbox communications, work in online groups, turn in online assignments, become a successful independent learner, and many other tools for online student success.

Hundreds of students have participated already, and more than 600 students have given positive feedback after completing the course.  Some of the student responses were:

  • “I think this class is very valuable, especially for students that aren’t tech savvy”
  • “I think this course was very good in clearing up most of the confusion I had regarding online courses.”
  • “The course was very helpful and I am thankful that it was offered.”

For more information about this course visit the course registration page in the BC Catalog

Renegade Athletics Update

Softball nabbed a pair of victories over Orange Coast (7-3) and Monterey Peninsula (10-4) on Saturday, February 12th. The Renegades had a total of four home runs including a season first grand slam from Shelby Buchanan in the second game.

Women’s basketball had another overtime stunner on Saturday evening and won against visiting West LA 70-67! Their overall record is 18-5. The team is currently in playoff contention. Two more games will determine the women’s basketball fate.

Women’s tennis won 8-1 this past Tuesday, February 8th, against Antelope Valley College in their first conference matchup! Baseball won 9-3 over Canyons on Tuesday, February 8th, and had a road win of 11-10 on Saturday, February 12th, over Ventura.

Chancellor’s Brief

Here is the Chancellor’s Brief from February 1, where I discussed work on the Chancellor’s Goals:

  • Advance Student Success and Equity
  • Resource Development
  • Develop inter-district collaboration and cooperation
  • Develop technology infrastructure to support colleges

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Steven Watkin and Paula Parks were at the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce 20th anniversary gala, where Paula received the Educator of the Year Award:

Fifth Graders from Inyokern Elementary School that participated in the virtual I’m Going to College Day received their t-shirts and some Cerro Coso swag for their attendance, and signed the 2022 banner that serves as a symbol of their commitment to consider Cerro Coso Community College after graduation and the college’s commitment to be there for them when they are ready.  Shout out to Katie Bachman coordinator of the event and all those who made this a truly life changing affair for the children. 

Check out this sweet photo or Dr. Bill Baker with his grandson:

Diana Cabrera, Dr. Habib, Dr. Jonathan Hernandez, and Jeff Jacobs hit the stands to cheer on the Pirates Mens Basketball Team!

Look who was at Second Saturday in downtown Bakersfield:

Bill Moseley and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

And here’s Cheryl Scott with her dogs:


That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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