Chamber presented educators at annual luncheon

Stephanie Caldwell, Joseph Richards Jr., Greg Gillespie, Ph.D., Kimberly Hoffmans, Ph.D., Erika D. Beck, Ph.D. and John Silva at the State of Education Luncheon. Photo by Angela Brinkhoff

On Thursday, April 26, the Ventura Chamber of commerce presented their Annual State of Education Luncheon “Safety Today Security Tomorrow: Adapting to Societal and Economic Change” at the Wright Event Center at Ventura College.

Opening remarks were made by Stephanie Caldwell, Ventura Chamber President & CEO and John Silva, Ventura Chamber Chair Board of Directors.

Reports were presented by four leaders from local education sectors (Ventura Unified School District, Ventura College and California State University Channel Islands) who explained how they are adapting to the rapidly changing environment. The event included an excellent buffet lunch.

The presenters were:

Erika D. Beck, Ph.D., President, California State University Channel Islands

Erika beck began her tenure as President of California State University Channel Islands in August 2016. Prior to her appointment, she served as Provost and Executive Vice President at Nevada State College. A native Californian, President Beck holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego; M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University; and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, San Diego where she also served as a faculty fellow.

“CSU Channel Islands expects a record number of graduates this May and received a record number of applications for the 2019 fall semester, according to CSUCI’s Chief of Staff, Genevieve Evans Taylor, Ed.D. The university provides a top-quality, affordable education to a student population largely from the local region and the first in their family to attend college. CSUCI offers immersive, hands-on learning experiences that allow its graduates to thrive in the 21st century workforce. Many of the university’s degree offerings, such as nursing, teaching and computer science, were developed in partnership with, and to meet the needs of, local employers” said Beck.

Greg Gillespie, Ph.D., Chancellor, Ventura County Community College District

Dr. Greg Gillespie serves as the Chancellor for the Ventura County Community College District. The District includes Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura Colleges that serve over 33,000 students each year. Dr. Gillespie served as the President of Ventura College for four years before moving into the Chancellor position in July 2017. Dr. Gillespie is focused on supporting the colleges in providing student-centered access to quality and relevant educational programs and support services. He works with employer, education, and governmental partners to address shared educational and community priorities.

Greg Gillespie stated “The three Ventura County Community College District colleges, Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura, serve approximately 33,000 student each year. The colleges provide classes and programs to prepare students for the workforce and transfer to baccalaureate degree program. Career education is an important priority across the VCCCD and successful program implementation requires communication and collaboration between employers and the colleges. These partnerships have resulted in programs training our community college students for high demand jobs in our county. These efforts help to meet workforce needs and support economic development. The VCCCD also actively conducts training and education opportunities to help students and employees respond appropriately to emergency situations. Response decisions at Ventura College and across the VCCCD to the recent Thomas fire incident were prioritized to address health and safety needs and to minimize the impact of college closures on student progress and achievement.”

Kimberly Hoffmans, Ph.D., Vice President, Ventura County Community College District

Dr. Kim Hoffmans has served in the Ventura County Community College District for the last 24 years as a nursing faculty member, coordinator, dean, and the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Ventura College. Through her past experiences as a nurse and an educator, Dr. Hoffmans has had the opportunity to work with colleagues and students with diverse academic, social, economic, physical, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds and finds the diverse climate of community colleges rewarding, challenging, and full of opportunities.

Joseph Richards Jr., Deputy Superintendent, Ventura Unified School District

Mr. Joseph Richards Jr., Deputy Superintendent, Business Services for the Ventura Unified School District. Mr. Richards has worked in the field of business for approximately 43 years, eight years in financial institutions and over 35 years in school business. Mr. Richards is a firm believer in giving back to the community he lives and works in, thus has served in various organizations in the Ventura County community for many years.

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