President/Superintendent's Blog

Summary of the College of the Redwoods July 9, 2019 Board Meeting

Published on 7/9/2019.

Comments/Board Business

Member Comments: Trustee Kelley mentioned that he attended the Police Academy graduation and several community meetings focused on housing in Humboldt County.  Trustee Mathews stated that she attended the Pelican Bay Prison graduation ceremony. Trustee Mathews also mentioned that she met with Student Trustee Peters. 

Trustee Biggin stated that she attended the Police Academy graduation and the CCCT Board meeting. Trustee Dr. Deister also attended the Police Academy graduation.

Board Committee Reports: Trustee Dr. Deister commented on the Board self-evaluation and asked that the full Board discuss the self-evaluation at the August Board workshop.

Recognition for Lincoln Totten and Everly Galt: The Board of Trustees recognized kindergarten students Lincoln Totten and Everly Galt with a certificate of appreciation for contributing 50% of their Lemonade Day proceeds to the CR student housing insecurity scholarship initiative.

Lincoln and Everly also received recognition from the Management Council and CSEA. The Management Council presented Lincoln and Everly with letters of acceptance to CR's class of 2032. CSEA gave each student a certificate of appreciation and a gift.

Status on Board of Trustees Requests: I provided an update on the current status of the Trustees’ informational requests in open session at the meeting of the Board. I noted that three requests have not yet been completed: CR History, Update on communicable disease and vaccinations (BP 7330), and Assessment of AB 302 Pilot Program and an appropriate policies and procedures.

Consent Calendar Action Items

Approve/Ratify Personnel Actions: By Board action, we welcome several new colleagues to our college community. Michelle August will begin her service as the Payroll Technician in Eureka on July 10, 2019. Michelle replaces Stacy Matheson who resigned recently.  Valerie Elder (Forestry and Natural Resources), Trevor Keiber (Mathematics), Brett McMurray (Coaching), and Katheryn Schopp (Psychology) will join Eureka Faculty as new Associates. Joining the Del Norte faculty will be Associate Faculty members Kristine Gaetke (Interdisciplinary – Basic Skills: Noncredit), Jennifer Longrie (Non-credit), and Hillary Lowenberg (Interdisciplinary – Basic Skills: Noncredit).

We also say farewell to three staff colleagues.  Jolene Gates (Instructional Site Manager – Klamath-Trinity Instructional Site) resigned from the District on May 3, 2019, Tasha Kahoalii (Assistive Media Specialist, DSPS) on June 13, 2019, and Stacy Matheson (Payroll Technician) on May 31, 2019.

The employment status of Jose Serrano and Susan Wiegman was changed as part of the restructuring of Human Resources. This restructuring resulted in one fewer fulltime time administrative position, created greater efficiency, and reduced the general fund expenditures by approximately $45,000.

Action/Discussion Items

Approve President/Superintendent 2019-20 Goals: I discussed a set of draft President Goals for 2019-20 with the Trustees in closed session on June 4, 2019.  I asked the Board to formally approve my goals in open session at this meeting.

My intention in bringing this to open session is to share with the college community what the Board is expects me to do this academic year. Please see the attachment.

Monthly Financial Status Report:  Our financial status report covered 91.67% of the fiscal year and showed that total revenue was at 76.8% of the budgeted amount and total expenditures were at 93.9% of the budgeted amount. The report also indicated that our planned Transfers Out will amount to $525,762 ($90,000 Child Development Center, $95,762 Shively Farm, and 340,000 OPEB fund).

Approve Emeritus Administrator Nominations: The Board granted Administrator Emeritus status to retired administrator Garry Patrick. Garry Patrick served the District from January 7, 2009 to June 14, 2019. Mr. Patrick's service consisted of:

  • Serving as the Director of Maintenance;
  • Serving as the Construction Manager – UIR Projects;
  • Serving as a member of the Life Safety, Facilities Planning, Citizen’s Bond Oversight, and the Basic Law Enforcement Academy Advisory Committees;
  • Improving operational cost efficiency for sewer plant and boilers; and
  • Responding to all after-hours emergencies (hundreds if not thousands of hours).

Capital Projects Update: Mr. Fred Sturner from Sturner and Associates updated the Board on several capital projects including the Utility Infrastructure Replacement and the Creative Arts and Physical Education/Fieldhouse drop and replace projects.

Report on the Vacant Life Science (LS) and Physical Science (PS) Buildings Project: One of my 2018-19 goals was to present a plan to the Board on the use of the vacant buildings on the Eureka Campus. I brought key community members together late last fall 2018 to collect some repurposing ideas for the vacant LS and PS buildings.  Following those meetings, I engaged Greenway Partners, Inc. to identify potential land and building re-purposing use ideas, assess the potential costs, research technical and jurisdictional hurdles, and core development needs underlying each re-purposing idea, and provide a decision-making tree for moving forward.

I asked Greenway to present their findings at today’s regular meeting and provide the Board with information they will need to make a decision about the buildings and land to best serve CR’s Mission:

 “College of the Redwoods puts student success first by providing accessible and relevant developmental, career technical, and transfer education. The College partners with the community to contribute to the economic vitality and lifelong learning needs of its service area.”

I want to thank Greenway Partners Jim Penny, Project Manager; Aristea Saulsbury, Associate Project Manager; Kirk Cohune, CEO; Matt Grosjean, Contractor; Jason Brownfield, Architect; Erin Ponte, Landscape Architect; and Catherine Holloway, Project Coordinator for their work on this project. What follows is a brief summary of their board presentation.

  • Greenway found that the project challenging because the buildings are unique and well-appreciated, the ground under the buildings have active fault, and the buildings themselves are subject to safety legislation and are deteriorating from nonuse.
  • The methodology Greenway used to gather the necessary information and ideas included surveys, social media, a site visit, interviews with community members, and discussions with a working group comprised of CR faculty and staff members. Greenway also took an exhaustive look at numerous engineering and DSA documents, regulatory assessments, hazard investigations, real estate evaluations, and cost estimations.
  • Greenway provided two options for the Board of Trustees to consider:
    • Option 1: Demolish the buildings and either let the land stand vacant or use the land to support our curriculum programming. We could use the land to support our Agriculture Program (orchard, composting, etc.), create a Construction Tech Micro Housing program, develop a Creative Arts Installation Trail, and support our Anthropology curriculum by expand the Mesoamerican Archaeology “Dig Site”. We could also build a student amphitheater, or create an interpretive nature trail (native plants, fitness stations, art installations).
    • Option 2: Renovate the buildings to Code for a cost in excess of $5.5 million dollars. This option necessitates CR becoming a renovator—which lies outside our Mission. Under this option is an idea to try enticing an outside party to come in and renovate the buildings.

I provided a copy of the presentation to this blog article.

The Board directed me, by majority vote, to bring a recommendation to demolish the LS and PS buildings to the August Board meeting.

Demolition of the Vacant Old Library: We’ve been discussing what to do with the vacant and abandoned buildings for several years.  To help address this issue, I entered into a contract with Sturner and Associates to determine the next steps in the demolition of the Old Library on the Eureka Campus. The Board approved, by majority vote, my recommendation to demolish the Old Library.

Informational Reports

Update on the Adult Education Program and Educational Services: Ms. Margaret Talcott provided a written report outlining the work of the Adult Education Program. Here’s a summary of her report:

  • Adult Education offers noncredit classes that focus on career technical education, including workforce preparation, adult basic and secondary education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and programs for adults with disabilities.
  • The Adult Education programs offers courses in a variety of community locations including high schools, correctional facilities, a library, a family resource center, and other local agencies serving displaced workers and individuals seeking employment.
  • Adult Education served approximately 950 students in 2018-19.
  • TheAdult Education program provides free bus passes to individuals who need transportation assistance. All books and related materials are provided to the student.
  • Adult Education classes follow an open entry/exit model, as changing life circumstances frequently effect the adult learner’s schedule; or, the adult learner achieved their immediate goal, such as obtaining the skills necessary to find new or better employment.
  • The program is also Humboldt County’s administrator for the High School Equivalency Test, or HiSET. The HiSET is a High School Equivalency (HSE) exam similar to the GED. The HiSET is comprised of five tests in Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. The HiSET uses both paper and computer based testing, which provides flexibility to offer the exam in correctional facilities.
  • In 2018-19, 71 individual HiSET exams were administered between Old Town, KT, and the Humboldt County Correctional Facility testing locations.

Update on the Workforce and Community Education Program:  Ms. Prudence Ratliff provided a written report related to the work of the Workforce and Community Education (WCE) program. Her report is summarized as follows:


WCE continues to collaborate with industry partners to improve the Truck Driving program. Over the past year students have participated in ten hours of observation with Redwood Coast Trucking resulting in the company hiring 15 of our graduates. In addition, there are several students who have been hired by other local over the road and log trucking companies.


WCE was part of the Slingshot Health grant that ended this year through the County of Humboldt. College of the Redwoods’ (CR) portion of this grant involved offering Medical Assisting Certification Review classes to those currently working as Medical Assistants (MA), but lack certification as a MA. For the convenience of the student, the class included the National Healthcare Association (NHA) Certification Exam. Over the grant period, 66 students enrolled in the class, 40 have taken the National Healthcare Association CCMA exam and 36 passed.


Over the past year, four Second Chance students enrolled in the Auto Body Collision Repair program and one student enrolled in the Culinary Fundamentals class. The Workforce Development Board (WDB) has been awarded a Prison 2 Employment grant that will provide trainings and support services from September 2019 – January 2022. WCE will collaborate with the Employment Training Division (ETD) of Humboldt County and the WDB to provide trainings in Construction Maintenance, Truck Driving, Auto Body Collision Repair and other existing or new courses.


WCE offered eight sections of the Incident Safety for Hired Vendors in Eureka, Fortuna, Ruth Lake, Garberville and Hoopa. Again this year Hoopa was so popular that WCE offered the class twice. Over 275 enrolled, allowing them or their employer to enter into contracts with Cal Fire or the US Forest Service.

WCE also offered the Wildland Fire School in Del Norte. Last year WCE increased the available seats from 40 to 80 resulting in an increase in enrollments from 68 students last year to 71 this year. Students completing this weeklong class are now eligible to apply to the federal government as a firefighter.


Several contract trainings were offered to meet the needs of business and industry or a public agency. AVADE training for Workplace Violence Program Training as part of the onboarding at St. Joseph’s Hospital was offered to meet a new requirement. This course was held 7 times and trained 63 students. Microsoft Office programs customized trainings were held at various locations throughout Humboldt County. Five trainings were held at the Klamath Trinity site for the Hoopa Tribal TANF office serving 92 students.

Also, at the Klamath Trinity site Excel 1, 2 & 3 were held for CR employees and staff serving 20 students. Two trainings were held for the Yurok Tribal office serving 21 students. An Excel 1 & 2 class was offered to Del Norte County DHHS employees with 20 students enrolled.


The Administration of Justice department offered three sections of Perishable Skills serving 42 students and three sections of First Aid enrolling 36 students. In addition, a POST Academy Instructor Certification Course was held at Butte College with 25 students enrolling.

In addition, WCE set up sections and registered students for the basketball, soccer, and volleyball youth camps in collaboration with the Athletics department. WCE also offered an IV Therapy/Blood Withdrawal class for the LVN students through the Nursing department enrolling 29 students. WCE collaborated with the Art Department to offer a Summer Wood Fired Ceramics class.


WCE offered several classes on the Eureka Main Campus: Loan Document Signing, Notary, Building Trades Career Prep, EMT Refresher, IV Therapy, Venipuncture, Injections, Stained Glass, Incident Safety for Hired Vendors, Torch Fired Enameling and Wood Fired Ceramics, etc. serving over 200 students.


WCE offered A Cappella Doo-Wop Singing, Incident Fire Safety for Hired Vendors and Winter Singing: Songs from around the world at the District’s Garberville Instructional Site prior to its sale. The singing classes were very popular and filled quickly with 22 in A Cappella and 15 in Winter Singing. The Incident Safety for Hired Vendors class filled as well with 40 students. WCE intends to work with the Redwood Playhouse to use the theater space next year to offer the class again.

Plan to Address CR Student Food and Housing Insecurity: A March 2018 Wisconsin HOPE Lab study found that:

  • 42% of community college students were food insecure in the 30 days preceding the survey. 
  • 51% of community college students were housing insecure in the last year.
  • 12% of community college students were homeless in the last year.

The issue of housing and food insecurity among our own students has generated significant conversation in the College and in our local community. Thanks to several college and community partners were been able to provide housing scholarships to six students last year. We heard from one of those students—Annamarie Whipple today–at the’s Board meeting. Her story is one of perseverance and hope.

Dr. Kintay Johnson discussed the District’s homeless and food insecurity five year plan today. Attached is the plan.

Organizational Reports

Student Trustee: Student Trustee Peters stated that she was pleased to represent students at the Board of Trustees table. She also mentioned the various activities she and the ASCR leadership has been involved in.

Administrative Reports

President/Superintendent's Report: My written report included an update on the process of hiring a police chief for our new hybrid police department. I noted that the shootings at educational institutions and community settings prompted the Board of Trustees and me to reexamine security measures to determine what combination of prevention and response can deter or at least limit injuries and the loss of life during active shooter events.

The question we had to wrestle with over the last several months was how CR, that by our nature and mission is designed to be open and accessible, can be made secure.  What we found was that trying to secure the College of the Redwoods (CR) Eureka campus posed many complications.

CR exists as an integral part of a community with multiple points of entry and exit and classrooms and buildings in use into the evening. Anyone can walk onto the CR Eureka campus.

The Board of Trustees and I have taken the public position that it is extremely important that we do not wait for an incident to occur on campus, we must invest in the safety of the faculty and student body. The approach we have taken to improve the security of the campus involves several components:

  • Enhancing the College’s emergency response protocols;
  • Training faculty, staff and students to react to an active shooter event;
  • Installing safety mechanisms in new building construction;
  • Relying on faculty and staff to identify students who exhibit uncertain behaviors early, before they show up with a weapon, rather than trying to make it hard for them once they’re already at the building with a weapon;
  • Improving technology such as texting to immediately notify students and staff of potential emergencies;
  • Replacing cameras in the parking lot; and
  • Creating a hybrid police department made up of sworn officers and public safety officers.

I hope to begin in-person interviews later this month. The finalist will be forwarded to the Board for approval once the background check is completed.

I want to thank the following people for serving on the screening committee with me:

  • Professor Gary Sokolow
  • Student Trustee Christine Peters
  • President of the Board of Trustees Bruce Emad
  • Ms. Sandi Peterson
  • Ms. Rianne Connor
  • Dr. Kintay Johnson
  • Mr. Joe Hash
  • Mr. Myke Magdaleno
  • Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal
  • Humboldt State University Chief of Police Donn Peterson

Vice President of Instruction Report: Angelina’s written report noted that we were one of two colleges to receive a 2019 Nursing Education Investment Grant. We will receive $96,054 over 12 months from the Foundation for California Community Colleges in support of the Del Norte Licensed Vocational Nurse/Paramedic - Registered Nurse (RN) Bridge Expansion project. The funds will support the development of a detailed plan, to be submitted to the Board of Nursing, allowing the College to duplicate the lecture and clinical experiences necessary for an RN program at the Del Norte Center. Thank you to our grant writer, Ed Macan, for working with the nursing program to secure this highly competitive grant.

Angelina also noted that:

  • Students in the Pelican Bay Scholars program joined College of the Redwoods faculty, administration, and Board of Trustee representatives at the first commencement ceremony.
  • Biology Professors Wendy Riggs and Maria Friedman were recognized at the state and national levels for their scholarly endeavors. Wendy Riggs was selected as the President of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS). HAPS is the largest community of human anatomy and physiology instructors in the nation. Maria Friedman was awarded a grant for $14,135 from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Open Educational Resources Initiative to write an open access lab manual for General Botany. Maria will fund a CR student to create illustrations and help with project design.
  • Fifteen ceramic students at College of the Redwoods participated in the spring ceramics sale held on the Eureka Campus in the Dr. Eugene Portugal Administration/Student Services Building. This event teaches students the benefits of vulnerability within their creative practice.  In addition to selling art, the students work at the sale which affords students and staff the opportunity to interact. Proceeds from the sale goes directly to student artists and to support pedagogically integrated projects in the Art Department and Creative Arts Gallery. Professor Shannon Sullivan works hard to make this experience possible for students, and for staff who look forward to the sale each year.

Vice President of Administrative Services Report: Julia’s written comments included information relative to the 2019 Budget Act signed by Governor Newsom. Here are some highlights that directly affect California Community Colleges:

  • A payment of $3.2 billion to CalSTRS and CalPERS on behalf of schools to pay down unfunded pension liabilities.  This decreases the 2019-20 STRS rate from 18.1 to 17.1, and the PERS rate from 20.733 to 19.721. 
  • New supplemental Cal Grants and childcare services for college students with dependent children.
  • The addition of 15,250 competitive Cal Grant awards, which are made to students who do not meet the program’s entitlement criteria.
  • Provide 3.26% COLA for the Student Centered Funding Formula, as well as for certain categorical programs.

Julia also wrote that we’ve been working with KNN Finance and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth to identify the best method for the District to secure a cash flow source for the Capital Projects expenditures. The District will be reimbursed by the State for the project costs, however there's a significant lag time between when a claim is submitted and when payment is received.  With three projects going on at the same time, expenses will accumulate quickly.

Vice President of Student Development Report: Joe’s written report pointed out that the Annual Dinner and Sports Auction will be held on Thursday, August 8.  Dan Phillips, a multi-sport standout at Fortuna High School and College of the Redwoods and a member of the CR 1976 Hall of Fame Football Team, will be the honoree.

The event begins at 5:30 pm with a no-host Social and Silent Auction, Dinner and Speakers at 6:30 pm followed by the live auction at 7:00 p.m. You can get tickets by contacting the Athletic Department at 476-4213.

Joe also informed that Board that the Room and Board Committee is currently working on assessing the outcomes of the spring 2019 pilot program.  Selections for new scholarship recipients have been made which will add two scholarships for the fall bringing the total number to eight.

Director of Human Resources Report: Wendy pointed out that CR alumni Anthony Trombetti presented a workshop on June 19, 2019 for 25 CR staff who work directly with students.  The training was titled "Changing the Language will change the Landscape for Students". 

The workshop included topics such as Personal and Professional Boundaries, Are You Response-able, and Leadership thru Conflict. Mr. Trombetti's workshop was well received and the Professional Development Committee plans on inviting him back in the fall to conduct the workshop again for employees who were not able to attend the June 19 training.

Mr. Trombetti has devoted his life to youth and education.  Mr. Tombetti has served as the Chairman of the Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods in Klamath, member of the New Warrior Training, member of the Inside Circle Prison Workshops at Folsom Prison, and creator of the Wellness Gatherings for Yurok Tribe.

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