2009 Tarpley Award Recipients

Full Time Faculty

Adjunct Faculty


Full Time Faculty

School of Business

Luke RennerLuke Renner

Luke has taught Digital Media and Design as a full-time instructor since 2007 and as a Creative Arts and Design adjunct before that. Luke’s work to promote his program has been tireless and exemplary. His marketing skills have enabled him to interest people from all over the county in his program. His students say that his courses are geared toward success and real-world experience with employers. Luke, your enthusiasm and dedication are deeply appreciated.

Bart WomackBart Womack

Bart has been an instructor in the School of Business since 1998. His quick wit and ability to make difficult topics understandable are both attributes that draw students to his classes. His students appreciate that what they learn can be applied to real life. One student in his Macroeconomics class wrote on an evaluation that “he is teaching me to think like a millionaire.” To Bart we say, “Thanks a million” for your dedication to your students and SJC.

School of Energy

Tom MunsonTom Munson

Tom has demonstrated the ability to work independently with great creativity and enthusiasm. Without a doubt, he is dedicated to the School of Energy, San Juan College, and the Renewable Energy Program. His work will impact the community and the environment for years to come.

Dean PatscheckDean Patscheck

Dean is an on online safety instructor, who, along with the distance education design staff, designed and now delivers eight of our new Occupational Safety degree classes. He began working in the new Angel system and developed specific instructional tools that align with the needs of our safety students, such as the online log-book and concise, short online lecture vignettes. His students praise him for his fast, specific, and helpful responses to their online submissions, which undoubtedly is a big part of the high completion rate in these classes.

Randy PonchoRandy Poncho

Randy is one of the School of Energy’s safety instructors who is specifically responsible for our reputation for customer service that meets the needs of industry. When he gets a call asking for specific classes, his first response is an enthusiastic, “yes! Let’s work out the details so we can meet your needs.” Mr. Poncho has been teaching a wide variety of safety classes at the SOE for four years and is an integral part of the safety teaching team.

School of Extended Learning

LuAnn WaltonLuAnn Walton

LuAnn is an exceptional teacher, an inspiring mentor to her students, and a trusted friend to her colleagues. She is a leader in innovation, and was one of the first faculty to participate in learning communities. She has incorporated teaching technology into college success courses, and regularly works with faculty from other disciplines to ensure that her students are successful in all of their academic endeavors. But it is LuAnn’s connection to students which is her driving force. LuAnn truly believes in her students and works with each of them individually to achieve their goals, overcome obstacles, and improve their skills. Her actions result in students who are self-confident and in control of their own education.

School of Health Sciences

Beth CarterBeth Carter

Beth joined the SJC Nursing Department faculty in Fall 2007, although we were so impressed with her interview we hired her the year before in Fall 2006. Beth’s clinical specialty is obstetrical nursing. She has shown herself to be an integral member of the nursing faculty and has sought and developed new clinical experiences for our students. This past year, Beth has assumed the role of lead-faculty for the first year, a rather thankless position that requires excellent organizational and communication skills. We are so grateful to Beth for the expertise and hard work she brings to our department. One student reports: “Beth is a very articulate & intelligent person which shows each time she lectures. I love listening to her because I like her teaching style and professionalism”

Tammy HonoldTammy Honold

Tammy exemplifies the mission and philosophy of San Juan College by meeting the needs of both the on-campus clinical experience and community based clinical service. During a period of severe Faculty shortage in the Dental Department, Tammy was instrumental in not only maintaining the Dental Hygiene Program operating, she implemented ideas and programs which allowed it to flourish. Meanwhile, Tammy has worked diligently to improve herself professionally and has actively sought out both a Masters Degree program as well as participating in the Allied Health Leadership Program. As an instructor, Tammy demonstrates superior teaching skills in both the classroom and the clinic. She routinely receives outstanding evaluations from her students and from patients in the clinic. In addition to her teaching and clinical coordination tasks, Tammy has taken on the role of the Dental Departments advisor. Tammy is always willing to work with students outside of class and office times and spends a significant amount of her own personal time in preparing, presenting and/or proctoring learning experiences for the students such as: Give Kids a Smile Program, Head Start Screening Program, Head Start Fluoride Varnish Program, Mosaic Special-Needs Clinic, Nursing Home Rotations and Public School Oral Health Initiatives. In short, Tammy is the kind of can-do team player that exemplifies all of the best in both an instructor and a Dental Hygienist.

Bonnie RungBonnie Rung

Bonnie joined the SJC Nursing Department in the Fall of 2002, instructing first-year nursing students. Bonnie brings a multitude of clinical expertise, including medical-surgical, community health and Obstetrical nursing. Bonnie recently was awarded the 2-Year Distinguished Chair in Nursing for her work with nursing simulation. She has recently assumed the position of Lead faculty-designer to help guide our work in Nursing simulation. Comments from Bonnie’s students: “Bonnie makes me want to be a better nurse. Bonnie is a great source of information. Her experience really shows. Bonnie explores ways to teach and engages us in different activities.”

School of Humanities

Will GrayWill Gray

Will is a respected, conscientious and creative member of the English Department with an incredible sense of humor. He came to SJC as an instructor in English after an illustrious 33-year career with National Geographic. Few people could transition from the fast-paced scene in DC with a publication like National Geographic—and all those opportunities to travel the world—to San Juan College like Will did. And he excels here—both as a teacher and as a committee colleague. While it was expected he would be excellent with our advanced students and our creative writing students, it turns out he also has great success with our developmental students. The online folks can tell you that no one worked harder or longer on their online course than Will as he developed his Creative Nonfiction course last summer. Will is simply incredibly talented as a teacher and as a writer. But it’s hard not to mention his work ethic as well. The man just sits down, focuses, and gets it done. A colleague commented on how he was trying to draw on his “inner Will Gray”—which meant he was trying to be more productive with his office hour.

Pete KinnasPete Kinnas

Pete is well-known across campus for his friendly and humorous ways. The jokes vary a bit…, but the warmth always comes through. Those of us who work closely with Pete also know just how hard he works. Used to be you could often find him in his office on the weekends prepping classes and developing materials. His weekends have gotten a bit busier recently—and that’s a good thing. Pete is an effective, successful reading teacher, who makes every effort to improve and update curriculum and assessment practices in order to ensure success for his students. And he gets real results—often averaging improvement well over two grade levels in a semester.

Allan NassAllan Nass

You all know Allan has many roles on campus—many of you may have first met him through the Learning Academy for new faculty. We often call on him for his facilitating and organizational skills as well—he plays a big part in our adjunct events and the awards committee. But, first off he’s a teacher and an advisor to the many students in our human services program. And he does a wonderful job fulfilling those roles as well. His students rave about his classes and his ability to have a real impact on them. One student commented, “When I began this class, I had no idea that I was about to embark on a semester of true soul searching. This class helped me to learn more about what matters to me, and I was able to find my true standpoint on many issues.”

Michele PicotteMichele Picotte

Michele is recognized by students and colleagues as an amazing language teacher. Her classes are alive with real communication, games, and true language learning. You all remember how scary a Spanish class can be. Michele has a magic touch and creates a warm, supportive environment with loads of language input. Her first semester students actually understand all that Spanish she exposes them to. Her classes are productive and fun! She is always on the outlook for new and innovative practices and quick to incorporate them into her classes.

Kimberly WilliamsKimberly Williams

Kimberly has clearly developed a reputation amongst her students and colleagues as an enthusiastic, supportive, and knowledgeable teacher. Her classes tend to fill early, and she has strong retention and success rates. Her students find her classes engaging and stimulating. They sense Kimberly’s deep love of her subject and appreciate the opportunity to discover connections between literature and “the real world.” She is also active on campus in many ways. Most recently she has chaired the Team for Strategic Oversight. Finally, we appreciate how Kimberly brings poetry into our lives—whether it is for K-12 students, a reading by SJC students, a department/college event, or a downtown reading at Andrea Kristina’s. It is her passion, and we all benefit greatly by this “presence of poetry” on our campus.

School of Math

Lisa WurtzLisa Wurtz

Lisa is a wonderful teacher. She is creative and energetic and just a really fun person to be around. She also knows an amazing amount of Math and has taught almost every class from Pre-Algebra through Calculus II. Her students describe her as interesting, lively, enthusiastic, and having a great sense of humor.

School of Science

Don HyderDon Hyder

Dr. Don Hyder, Associate Professor of Biology, joined the SJC science faculty in 2001. He has taught courses in General Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Environmental Conservation, and Horticulture. Don also has taken the lead in updating and organizing new laboratory exercises for both the General Biology and Microbiology laboratories. He spends many hours outside of class time assisting students navigate some of the difficulties of learning a science subject. His obvious concern for student success has resulted in his being highly rated by students on their classroom evaluations. He also has mentored students during summer research program projects. In addition his instructional activities, Don has been instrumental in the development of both the Geography/GIST A.S. Degree/certificate and the Horticulture AAS/certificate degree programs, advised on the Outdoor Learning Center, and oversees the instructional greenhouse. A few of his many contributions to the college and community include co-advisor to a student club, teaching Gear-Up and Kids Kollege classes, and many years of service on the Science Fair Board. Student comments: “He loves what he does.” “He makes analogies to real life.” “He explains difficult concepts very clearly in terms I can understand”

Jeff WoodJeff Wood

Dr. Jeff Wood, Assistant Professor of Physics, joined the science faculty in the fall of 2006. Jeff teaches Introduction to Physics (both face to face and on-line), General Physics, Introductory Chemistry, and College Algebra. He has devoted considerable time to upgrading the on-line physics course. Students often comment on the atmosphere of openness Jeff creates in his classroom, encouraging them to become involved, ask questions, and participate in creating their own learning environment. Students clearly are at home with the multimedia, hands-on, and interactive classroom environment that makes learning a challenging subject more enjoyable. This has been very much appreciated by students who are often apprehensive about taking that first chemistry or physics class. Jeff also has been a regular participant in many college committees, including chairing the On-line Design and Content committee and the School of Math and School of Science Dean Selection committees. Student comments: “Changed my perspective of how the world works.” “Very enthusiastic about his teaching.” “Teaches using hands-on, real world examples.” “I have trouble forgetting the subject matter” (my personal favorite, would that I saw that comment on one of my evaluations).

School of Trades and Technology

Blake BarnettBlake Barnett

Blake started working at San Juan College in the Fall of 1999. Since his employment, he has been involved in the Home Builder’s Association and is a past President of the Association. Blake’s sole purpose of being a part of the Association was opening up job possibilities for the students after graduation. He is an optimistic instructor who cares about the safety and well being of his students. He constructs a home every year and has built more than 20,000 sq. ft of living space.

Manuel MontoyaManuel Montoya

As automotive instructor, Manny spends countless hours of preparation for his classes. His Toyota instructional material is one that is nationally recognized as an outstanding curriculum. He is very active with his involvement in the Learning Community teaching approach.

Jim RookerJim Rooker

Jim is an excellent example of a dedicated instructor. After suffering a severe car accident in which he received a compound leg fracture and a five-day hospital stay, Jim was in the classroom teaching the following week. His commitment to student success is demonstrated by his involvement in the State Skills USA contest. He has been instrumental in designing the state contest and currently serves as the Vice President for the State Skills USA.

Adjunct Faculty

School of Business

Debbie SerranoDebbie Serrano

Debbie began working for San Juan College as a part-time switchboard operator in 1989 at which time she began taking business courses. She earned her associates degree in business through San Juan College, and her Bachelor and Masters degrees from Highlands University at San Juan College. While working at San Juan College, Debbie was promoted from switchboard operator to assistant director of human resources. She began teaching part-time in the school of business in 1994, and her love of teaching has kept her in the teaching field. Teaching is Debbie’s way of giving back to the community for what she has received from it.

School of Continuing Education

Debbie TaylorDebbie Taylor

When Debbie created a Tap Dance for Seniors class for the Encore program, she wanted to make the class, above all else, fun. But make no mistake about this fun—Debbie applies the same dedication to Encore classes as other credit Physical Education dance classes that she teaches for San Juan College, and she also teaches for the Community Learning Center. As a tap, jazz and ballet instructor, Debbie has taught SJC students from age 3 to 81 as she teaches for Encore as well as Kids Kollege. Debbie’s extra effort for her students is most obvious in the popular student dance show that she helps to orchestrate each semester, where students have a chance to show off their new skills to friends and family. The audience has grown so large (over 300) the dance review is being held in the Henderson Performance Hall this spring. Debbie also contributes to the college as a member of the San Juan College Fine Arts Council.

School of Energy

Nelson CadavaNelson Cadava

Nelson has served as a safety instructor at San Juan College for the past five years. His responsibility was not only to teach the required safety course material, but he also had to translate it all into Spanish. For the past five years, Nelson has provided us with this expertise, which has allowed us to build the School of Energy’s capacity to serve the many Spanish speakers working in our community and insure their safety in the workforce.

School of Extended Learning

Julia ThomJulia Thom

Julia has been teaching the math support classes in the evenings for both Math 095 and Math 096 at SJC West for the past several years. During the day, she has been working as Learning Support professional staff on main campus. Julia has a strong connection with developmental students especially those with math anxiety. Her soft spoken voice and encouraging approach relaxes students’ fears about math. She bolsters their confidence in math which helps students to succeed in their math classes and reach their academic goals. Students enjoy having Julia as a teacher!

School of Health Sciences

Dr. Bart YoungsDr. Bart Youngs

Dr. Youngs is the kind of instructor that believes that a collaborative and positive working relationship is critical to a student’s success. Bart is always willing to share with students his more that 20 years of dental experience. It often seems as if Bart has a story or anecdote for every possible situation that arises with students in the clinic. Bart always presents a kind and caring personality to both his students and his patients. His students have said of him: “Dr. Youngs has the type of temperament which allows him to develop a positive rapport with both his students and his patients. I have enjoyed working with Dr. Youngs due to his pleasant and calming attitude. “ “Dr. Youngs has a heart that has touched all of us. We would all love to find jobs with employers like Dr. Youngs. He’s entertaining and caring to our personal needs.” “I would like to hear more from him. I think the patients really appreciate his personality and style of dealing with them.” “I appreciate your knowledge in the clinic and when giving lectures, you make the environment very relaxed and comfortable.” “I love Dr. Youngs!! And so do all my patients” Bart exemplifies what it is to be an adjunct instructor at San Juan College. He not only ensures his students excel, he does so in a way that shows that he really cares.

School of Humanities

Cheryl CollinsCheryl Collins

Cheryl teaches applied piano, class piano I and II, and the evening Introduction to Music class. She is the music department’s busiest piano teacher. The students love her. Her loving, nurturing, and humorous approach to teaching is matched only by her fascination with stuffed pink pigs. She has a collection of thousands of pigs, which is her fun passion. If you do really well at your lesson, you might just get a pink pig stamp on your hand! Despite being an accomplished concert pianist, her work with beginning students exemplifies the college’s commitment to community arts education. We are all having a very good time in the music department due to her many diverse talents.

Sharon CurtinSharon Curtin

Since fall 2001, Sharon has been an exemplary adjunct instructor for the English department, earning the respect and admiration of colleagues and students alike. She has been a constant and enthusiastic participant in department meetings and portfolio readings for ENGL 111 and 211. Her retention and success rates are the envy of the department, and it’s no wonder when her students report: “This teacher is great at answering ALL questions and helping students with whatever they need.” “She expresses deep concern for student success.” I have learned so much. I learned more in this class than throughout my education.” “Ms. Curtin is a wonderful teacher. She has the ability to bring every student to their greatest potential.” In addition, Sharon serves as a mentor—formally and informally—for many new adjuncts, and she has represented the School of Humanities for the Adjunct Advisory Council. When one student explained, “Ms. Curtin is an awesome teacher. She is so encouraging and is always more than willing to help,” it sums up the feelings we have about her as a teacher, colleague, mentor and good friend.

Eaon PalmerEaon Palmer

Eaon has taught for SJC for six years, including going to various locations to supervise practicum students. He has been game to teach at both the west campus and at Ignacio with our Southern Ute Head Cohort. He has made the Guiding Young Children course very relevant as he brought real life classroom experience—as a teacher, a special educator, and a principal—to this class. Students who are NOT education majors also take Eaon’s class because of his emphasis on brain development and cognitively friendly language. Since Eaon will be moving to Denver this summer, our cadre of ECE instructors will greatly miss his enthusiasm and expertise.

Kelly VanSickleKelly VanSickle

Kelly has been a dedicated psychology instructor at San Juan College since 1989…20 years! He has taught classes whenever the department needed him, whether it was 7:00 am or 7:00 pm. Kelly is committed to student excellence and consistently receives positive feedback from his students. Examples of student voices include, “The best part of this course is that the instructor makes it interesting the way he brings the class to life.” Additionally, students appreciate the meaningfulness of his classes because he “discusses what is going on in the world and connects it to psychology.”

School of Trades and Technology

Don NatoniDon Natoni

Don has taught as an adjunct in the Drafting department for approximately 15 years. He is very dependable and is always willing to help. Don is committed to student learning and consistently receives high student evaluations. Students often comment on the pleasant and productive experience it was taking a class from Don.