Skip to Content  |   A to Z Index  |   Kentfield Campus  |   Indian Valley Campus

College of Marin
President’s Weekly Briefing — January 23, 2014
Home New Students - Prospective Students Current Students of College of Marin Colletge of Marin Faculty and Staff About the College of Marin College of Marin Search Engine

Welcome to our Newly Hired Full-time Employees

Congratulations to the newest members of the college community. At Convocation you were introduced to many of our newly hired full-time employees; read on to get to know them a little better.


Kristin Whitaker Acredolo, Professor, Court Reporting
Kristin Acredolo began at College of Marin in 2001 as an instructional assistant in the Court Reporting program. Since 2002, she has been coordinating the program. She earned associate degrees with highest honors from Santa Rosa Junior College and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, magna cum laude, from Sonoma State University. She was a certified shorthand reporter and registered professional reporter and tested at 240 words per minute on machine shorthand.

Paul Cheney, Professor, History and Political Science
Paul Cheney has been teaching for 17 years, including seven years as a part-time instructor at the College of Marin. Cheney earned his undergraduate degree in History in the United Kingdom where he grew up and a master’s degree in International Relations at San Francisco State University. His passions are politics and history so it’s fitting that he’s teaching both these subjects at COM. He’s very proud of the students in the Model United Nations Club, for whom he is the faculty advisor, and particularly enjoys supporting their social events. When he’s not teaching, he can be found reading, gardening, baking, walking, or participating in the pursuits of his family that include archery and cycling.

Mia Chia, Professor, Computer Science
Mia Chia earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and a master’s degree and professional degree in Computer Science from the George Washington University in Washington D.C. He got his first taste of teaching as a a graduate student and later enjoyed teaching at community colleges in the D.C. area. After working as a software engineer in the private sector, he is happy to return to the teaching arena. He enjoys life, loves to travel, and is teaching himself French.

Marco Gonzalez, Professor, Sociology
For the past six years, Marco Gonzalez has taught Sociology at several community colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area including College of Marin. Prior to that, he worked as a junior research fellow at Nuffield College of Oxford University in England and he was a National Science Foundation Fellow with the Social Science Research Council. Gonzalez earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and completed his graduate work at Harvard University. He is also a proud former community college student. As a native of the East Bay, he is an avid fan of the Oakland A’s.

Robert “Bob” McCoy, Professor, Psychology
Bob McCoy, formerly an adjunct instructor at Skyline College, began teaching in the field about 10 years ago at San Francisco State University. At Skyline, he was involved with institutional planning, curriculum development, student learning outcomes, mentoring new instructors and co-sponsoring the student Psychology Club. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of New York and a master’s degree in Psychological Research from San Francisco State University. In the community, he has been a volunteer for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and a volunteer tutor for Project Read, the San Francisco Public Library literacy program for adults. He is a self-described huge psychology geek and is thrilled to be at College of Marin. He welcomes you to stop by and say hello in Fusselman room 104.

Lori Moraca, Site Supervisor, Child Development Program
Prior to joining the College of Marin, Lori Moraca has served as head teacher with several pre-school programs including Step One and Hearts Leap schools in Berkeley and Kidango on Treasure Island. Before moving to the West Coast, she was in Pennsylvania where she worked as a program coordinator and child development specialist with Families Focused on Children, Family Foundations and the Allegheny Child Care Academy in Pittsburgh. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Syracuse University in New York and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from California State University East Bay in Hayward.

Shawn W. Purcell, Professor, Psychology
Shawn Purcell has taught a variety of Psychology courses at College of Marin since 2008. He has also taught at Saint Mary’s College of California and at Samuel Merritt University where he taught Communication skills for professionals. He has earned the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society Teacher Appreciation Award three years and has worked to mentor students and develop new curriculum. Purcell earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in biology from the University of California at Davis and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Saint Mary’s College of California. He is a volunteer coach for several youth sports programs in the East Bay, was the assistant baseball coach here at COM, and plays semi-pro baseball.

Susan Rahman, Professor, Behavioral Sciences (Pyschology and Sociology)
Susan Rahman worked in community-based organizations in San Francisco with at-risk youth for 10 years prior to becoming a teacher. She has taught at City College of San Francisco and Santa Rosa Junior College. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Humboldt State University, a master’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Hayward, and is close to completing a doctorate in Human Science with an international focus in Peace and Conflict Resolution at Saybrook University. She is committed to issues of social justice locally and globally and serves as faculty advisor for Students 4 Social Justice. She also works with Project Censored, a student-driven media research project, and would love to get more instructors here at COM involved in that project.

Leah Z. Sharp, Professor, Physics
Leah Sharp has taught Physics, Calculus, and Chemistry at California State University, East Bay, Hayward; College of Marin; Technical University in Munich, Germany; and San Francisco State University; in addition to high school and in other arenas. She has received several teaching accolades, including two Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society College of Marin Teacher Appreciation awards and the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award at SFSU. Sharp earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from University of California, Berkeley, with a minor in Religious Studies. She earned a master’s degree in Physics from San Francisco State University and a doctorate in Chemistry from Technische Universität (Technical University) in Munich, Germany.

Classified Professionals

Tracy Lynn Audisio, Lab Technician, Life and Earth Sciences
Tracy Audisio earned associate degrees in Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Humanities from San Joaquin Delta College and a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Biological Conservation from California State University, Sacramento. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Ecology and Systematic Biology from San Francisco State University and the California Academy of Sciences.

Jeffrey R. Cady, Instructional Specialist, English
Jeffrey Cady has been a part-time ESL instructor at College of Marin since 1999 and was awarded the Credit Part-Time Teacher of the Year Award in 2009. He has also taught extensively at Sonoma State University American Language Institute. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Brown University and a master’s in Education in Teaching English as a Second Language from the Tokyo, Japan branch of Temple University. He taught English at Keio University, Seishin University and Athenee Francais in Japan. He has also taught at the Fair-Isaac Corporation in San Rafael. Last year, with Roger Barnard, he published the fourth edition of Business Venture, a business English textbook series published by Oxford University Press that has sold more than 500,000 copies around the world.

Nathan Castillo, Instructional Assistant, Sculpture
Nate Castillo is an accomplished blacksmith, sculptor, ironworker, carpenter and “certified workaholic.” He is a College of Marin graduate, and is currently working toward his bachelor’s degree in Sculpture at Sonoma State University.

Chris Diaz, Plumber, Maintenance and Operations
After attending trade school, Chris Diaz has worked as a plumber for 25 years at schools throughout Marin County as well as at UC Berkeley. He has worked in the custom and remodel home industry as well as on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge span. He loves golf, fishing, playing slot machines, and the occasional lottery scratchers.

Matthew Dimopoulos, Assistive Technology Specialist, Disabled Students Programs and Services
Before arriving at College of Marin, Matthew Dimopoulos worked both in a technical or student services capacity at several other colleges, including Sierra College, American River College, Merritt College, and the Claremont Colleges. He is active in improving the usability and affordability of open source adaptive technology in outreach and education in the LGBTIQ (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/intersexed/questioning) community, and in historic preservation and museum studies. He is also passionate about film noir and creating technology inspired, functional pieces of art.

Lucas Drisdell, Instructional Specialist, English
Lucas Drisdell has taught and tutored students in English at College of Marin, Skyline College, and San Francisco State University. He has experience working with at-risk populations and students with diverse learning styles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from San Diego State University, as well as a Certificate in Teaching Post-Secondary Reading and a master’s degree in English Composition from San Francisco State University.

David Fitzgerald, Gardener, Maintenance and Operations Department
Prior to becoming a gardener, David Fitzgerald worked as a carpenter and welder building sawmills, power plants, railings, and gates He was a senior clerk for the UC Davis Medical Center. He has also designed and built banners and worked in customer service and management at office and health retail stores. He is currently studying nursing. He is still fascinated with mechanical things, but now sees the anatomy of nature, biology, and microbiology as fascinating structures as well.

Ferhat Indi, Systems Administrator, I.T. Department
Ferhat Indi graduated from the European University of Lefke in Cyprus with a degree in Computer Engineering and worked as a system support engineer in Istanbul, Turkey before coming the U.S. in 2009. Indi worked as a system administor for Peach Tree Health in Marysville. Indi is a Microsoft Certified Solution Expert for server infrastructure 2012 and is a Citrix certified administrator. Off campus, he is involved in the ongoing preservation of historical sites. He is very dedicated to his work and welcomes questions and ideas.

Lygeia Johnson, Financial Aid Technician
A former houseboat painter, Lygeia Johnson came to College of Marin to upgrade job skills and earn a vocational certificate. As a student, Johnson joined the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society and participated in volunteer work. Johnson often participates in the annual Coastal Clean-up program and is passionate about preserving the natural beauty of Northern California. Johnson credits the help and support of EOPS, friends, and family for encouraging her to pursue college and says that decision has opened new and unexpected doors. Johnson plans to earn an associate’s degree in Business.

Martin Langeveld, Police Officer
Martin Langeveld grew up in Mill Valley and graduated from Tamalpais High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California, Davis. He went on to attend the police academy at Santa Rosa Junior College Public Safety Training Center. Prior to coming to College of Marin, he worked at ArchRival Sports for five years. Langeveld coaches crosscountry and track and field at Tamalpais High School and serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District. He is a Marin County native, and is very excited to be working at College of Marin.

Laura Weller, Confidential Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent/President
After attending San Marin High School, Laura Weller graduated in three years from University of California, Davis, earning a bachelor’s degree with high honors in Psychology and a minor in English. She worked in Sacramento for eight years at a small publishing firm. After moving back to Novato, she worked in several office and customer service roles preparing herself for her new post at College of Marin. One or two things she’d like other employees to know about her: Except for her years at Davis and in Sacramento, she has lived in Marin County all of her life and is a self-described San Francisco Giants and Forty-Niners fanatic.


Matt Smyth, Director, Facilities Maintenance and Operations
For more than 30 years, Matt Smyth has worked in the field of Facilities Maintenance, Operations, and Repairs. He graduated from Redwood High School and attended College of Marin and Calhoon Marine Engineering School. He studied management at Saint Mary’s and credits several College of Marin instructors for having a positive influence on his career choices and in giving him a new perspective on what is truly important in life. He spent more than 20 years with the San Francisco Public Library system where he worked as Chief Engineer/Building and Grounds Superintendent. He later worked at the San Francisco Department of Public Works. After retiring from the City and County of San Francisco in 2012 he began work with Able Engineering as chief engineer for University of California, San Francisco Mission Bay campus. Off campus he is involved in community cleanup activities at schools, public beaches, and open spaces throughout Marin County and San Francisco.

An Economic Snapshot of Marin County: Lowest Unemployment Rate in CA

We can be more optimistic about the economy, according to several recent economic reports, which describe an improving economy and a better job outlook this year for the region. Most major industry groups in the region recorded year-over job gains toward the end of the year and Marin County held on to its lead with the lowest unemployment rate—4.6 percent—in the state, according to the December report by the Employment Development Department of California. Of the 142,700 people in the labor force in Marin County, 6,500 were reported as unemployed. Unemployment for California is 8.5 percent compared to 6.7 percent for the U.S. in December, according to recent numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the broader region including the West Bay counties of Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo, 24,500 jobs were added last year (November, 2012 to November, 2013), primarily in the professional and business services sector (9,600 jobs). Leisure and hospitality climbed by 6,700 jobs, mostly in food services and bars. Construction added 1,900 jobs, private educational and health services gained 1,400 jobs, and government added 1,100 jobs.

Occupations with the fastest job growth in the West Bay counties region including Marin are expected to be: biomedical engineers (730 or 123.7 percent), microbiologists (740 or 76.3 percent), computer and information research scientists (490 or 57.6 percent), software developers/systems software (4,340 or 57.3 percent), market research analysts and marketing specialists (4,210 or 55.1 percent). The highest wage earners are expected to be general internists, chief executives, obstetricians and gynecologists, natural sciences managers, and lawyers.

In the 2013 Marin Economic Bulletin by the Marin Economic Forum, the nonprofit agency described a slow but steady recovery in the fourth quarter of 2013 and said personal income should grow 4 percent in 2014. More than 2,000 new jobs should be added to the payroll in Marin County this year, primarily in service industries and new construction projects.


Early Childhood Education Professor Peggy Dodge recently chaired the countywide committee that developed the Marin County Child Care Commission 2014–2019 Master Plan. The comprehensive plan, presented January 14, to the Marin County Board of Supervisors, identifies many hurdles facing children and families living in Marin. Nearly 20 percent of Marin’s children experience recurring neglect or abuse, and demand for childcare far exceeds supply. Those interested can find out more of the plan’s details online through the Marin County Office of Education Child Care Commission. Kudos to Peggy for her leadership on the master plan and for her ongoing work with the Child Care Commission. The College of Marin Child Study Center continues to be a leader and hub of learning for future teachers committed to improving the lives of children in our community.

Community Education Traditional Hawaiian Dance instructor Lisa “Pua” Saunders was honored at the third annual Be The Dream Awards Celebration on January 15, which highlights each year best practices and forward-thinking ideas in the advancement of equity in Marin. Her company, Ethnic Arts Institute International, was one of several local businesses and government agencies honored for outstanding work on advancing social equity and inclusion in Marin. Lisa is a hulu master of Hula Manu O’o, a professional hula performance company, and a national presenter of indigenous dance for the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. Saunders was also recently honored, along with her husband, Eli Drake, for their community work locally and in Fiji. Drake, owner of Fiji Resources, LLC, holds one of six California minority-owned C34-C42 contractor engineering licenses and they work together to honor and serve indigenous communities worldwide.

Cop's Corner—Sign Up for AlertU

Receive immediate text messages of campus closures and emergencies by signing up for AlertU, College of Marin’s emergency notification system. AlertU, with sponsorship from Marin Community College District Police Department, provides an emergency SMS messaging platform to enhance communication services during crisis situations. The program allows campus police to broadcast critical information in real time to mobile devices of employees and students. In an emergency situation, this is particularly important for people who may be in or near a crisis zone. Subscribers can also relay emergency information to our AlertU account manager or administrator from inside a crisis zone. Friends and family members are also able to subscribe to receive updates. To sign up for AlertU, go to, or text “MCCD” to 253788 and reply with “Y”. There is no charge to sign up; standard text message rates may apply.

Evening Assistance

Evening public service assistants are available on both campuses Monday through Thursday. If you need assistance, please call one of the numbers listed below:

Kentfield Campus, 4 – 8 p.m., (415) 747-0699
Indian Valley Campus, 4 – 7:30 p.m., (415) 747-0658

If you would like a campus police officer to contact you, call dispatch at extension 7696 or (415) 485-9696. For life- or property-threatening emergencies, call 911.

Upcoming Events

Celebrating an Artist: Agathe Bennich, Selected Works

You are invited to experience the current exhibit in the Fine Arts Gallery featuring the work of Agathe Bennich whose work has been shown extensively nationally and internationally. Born in Sweden, Bennich (1939–2012) lived in France, Austria, Italy and Mexico before settling in San Francisco. She attended San Francisco Art Institute where she earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in fine arts. Her investigation into painting began while living in Italy in the early ’60s. The arc of her early work evolved from the painted exploration of the Italian and Mexican landscapes to complex shaped canvases driven by meditations on the human condition, a theme that would recur later in her work. Bennich pursued an intense, psychological form of portrait painting and, in 1995, she moved to Wales to immerse herself in her process as a painter. It was a period of immense growth for her work. In addition to the exhibit, there will be an in memoriam gathering on Friday, January 24.
Exhibit: Weekdays through Friday, February 7, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
In Memoriam Gathering: Friday, January 24, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery
Kentfield Campus
Free admission. Donations welcome.

The Groundwork of Organic Gardening: Establishing a Productive Garden

This three-Saturday organic gardening workshop series is designed for beginning and seasoned growers alike. Each session includes classroom instruction and practical teaching at the certified Indian Valley Organic Farm & Garden at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus, a partnership program with the Marin Master Gardeners. The February workshop, with instructor Jeff Creque, will cover the principles and practices of organic soil cultivation with a focus on the physical and biological properties of soil. The May 17 workshop, with instructor Wendy Johnson, covers soil mixes, seasonal planting schedules, irrigation, pest management and disease control and harvesting. The October workshop, with instructor Liza Buckner, will include discussion about annual winter gardens, harvesting cultivated and native plant seed, dividing and propagating perennials and establishing a sound winter composting system. Participants may register for individual sessions or for the full series. Class size is limited to 35 participants. You may register online.

Saturdays, February 1, May 17, October 4, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden
Indian Valley Campus
$30 per class (or $75 for the series when you register for all three at once)
Weekend parking is free.

For more information, contact Liz Peer.

Fair Accreditation and the Struggle at City College of San Francisco

A City College of San Francsico trustee, instructor and student will be on campus to talk about the ongoing accreditation problem that has affected their college and what this means for community colleges throughout California. The event is sponsored by United Professors of Marin and the Academic Senate.

Thursday, February 6, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Deedy Staff Lounge, Student Services Building
Kentfield Campus

In Search of My Father...Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins

College of Marin Drama Professor W. Allen Taylor is bringing his 90-minute award-winning solo show back to the stage for a special fundraising event honoring the 50th anniversary of the College Drama Department. Winner of the Best Solo Performance of 2006 by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, the show explores the intimate story of Taylor’s life-long search for his father, Bill Hawkins, the first black disc jockey in Cleveland, Ohio. Taylor portrays several characters in a bittersweet journey of self-discovery. He celebrates the rich cultural legacy of black radio with rhythm and blues, gospel, and jazz music serving as a rich backdrop. For more information is available online or call the Drama Department at (415) 485-9555.

Thursday, February 6, 8 p.m.
Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8, 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 9, 2 p.m.
Suggested donation for preview performance on February 6 is $10.
Suggested donation for all other performances is $25.
Studio Theatre
Kentfield Campus (Corner of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and Laurel Avenue)

Advance reservations may be made by calling the Drama Department at (415) 485-9555. Any unclaimed reservations will be released 15 minutes prior to the performance. On the day of the show, unreserved seats will be available at the door 45 minutes prior to the performance. Donations may be made by cash, check, or charge.

Proceeds benefit the Drama Department.

Jazz Ensemble at the Seahorse in Sausalito

Cayce Carnahan, director

The COM Jazz Ensemble performs the second Thursday of each month at the Seahorse in Sausalito. Enjoy great music, great food, and great atmosphere. Bring your dancing shoes and swing the night away. There is no cover charge. For more information, go online or call (415) 485-9460. To receive performance notices electronically, subscribe by email.

Thursday, February 13, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sausalito Seahorse
305 Harbor Drive, Sausalito

Ongoing Events

Conversation Partners Program

Practice your language skills and meet our interesting global students through the Conversation Partners Program, which matches individuals for informal language exchange. Faculty and staff are invited to participate in this innovative program developed by the International Education Office. It’s a wonderful way to promote international friendship and cross-cultural understanding while practicing a language that interests you. You may sign up online any time. For more information, contact Rebecca Freeland, program coordinator, at ext. 7740.

Free and Low Cost Flu Shots

Flu season is here and will most likely continue for several more weeks. If you are sick, stay home! If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccination yet this season, you should get one now. Our supply is reserved for faculty, staff, and students only. If you can get a flu shot from your primary care provider, please do so. Flu shots for faculty and staff are $10; they are free for students. Supplies are limited. Please call (415) 485-9458 to schedule an appointment and make sure vaccines are still available. You must be 18 years old to obtain the flu vaccination from the Health Center. The Health Center is not a Medicare provider and does not bill insurances. The Health Centers are located next to Campus Police in parking lot 6 on the Kentfield Campus and at the Indian Valley Campus in AS 121.

In Memoriam

College of Marin colleague, teacher, and friend Janet Thormann-Mackintosh passed away January 3. She was a professor in the English/Humanities Department from 1974 to 2007. She received a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a student of psychoanalysis and has taught psychoanalytic theory in the Bay Area and edited several psychoanalytic journals. Her most reliable pleasures were opera, Italy, and the New York Yankees. A memorial service will be held in a private residence. All are welcome to attend—please share with Janet’s former students, friends, and colleagues.

Saturday, March 1, 3 p.m.
2288 Vineyard Road, Novato
RSVP to Connie Lehua, Human Resources Specialist, (415) 485-9361; or to Elizabeth Spinner, (415) 388-6912.


Bay Valley Conference Tournaments

Men’s Basketball vs. Napa
Friday, January 24, 7:30 p.m. in Napa
Men’s Basketball vs. Mendocino
Wednesday, January 29, 7:30 p.m. in Kentfield
Men’s Basketball vs. Los Medanos
Friday, January 31, 7:30 p.m. in Pittsburg
Men’s Basketball vs. Merritt
Friday, February 7, 7:30 p.m. in Kentfield

Women’s Basketball vs. Napa
Friday, January 24, 5:30 p.m. in Napa
Women’s Basketball vs. Mendocino
Wednesday, January 29, 5:30 p.m. in Kentfield
Women’s Basketball vs. Los Medanos
Friday, January 31, 5:30 p.m. in Pittsburgh
Women’s Basketball vs. Merritt
Friday, February 7, 5:30 p.m. in Kentfield

Men’s Baseball vs. San Mateo
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m., TBA
Men’s Baseball vs. Hartnell College
Friday, Jan. 31, 2 p.m. in Kentfield
Men’s Baseball vs. Hartnell College
Saturday, Feb. 1, 12 p.m. in Salinas
Men’s Baseball—College of the Sequoias Tournament
Thurs-Sat, Feb. 6-Feb. 8, TBA, in Visalia

Women’s Softball vs. Redwoods
Saturday, February 1, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Kentfield

Submissions to the Weekly Briefing

Please submit information no later than Friday for the next week. Submissions received later than Friday will be included in the following week’s edition.

Have a great weekend,

David Wain Coon, Ed.D.


President's Weekly Briefing Web Page
Technical Contact: Nicole Cruz, Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director of Communications, Community Relations, and Advancement, (415) 485-9648
Content Responsible: Cathy Summa-Wolfe, Executive Director, Communications, Community Relations, and Advancement, (415) 485-9528