May 21, 2019

Christina Jimenez 

T 916.322.4004 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Community Colleges Board of Governors today honored Angela Musial, Mary Valdemar and Trinidad Araya as the 2019 California Community Colleges Classified Employees of the Year.

“Classified employees play an essential role in our system that serves more than 2.1 million students,” said California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Tom Epstein. “From counseling staff to financial aid liaisons to on-campus public safety officers, these paramount members of our team serve our students firsthand and are key players in student success. We will continue to support their efforts in every way. On behalf of our colleges, we extend our gratitude to all classified employees, especially those recognized today, for their steadfast dedication.”  

Established in 2008, and first presented in 2009, the award is given annually to community college classified employees who demonstrate the highest level of commitment to professionalism, the community colleges and the Vision for Success goals. Recipients also have a record of outstanding performance on the job, and a record of active participation on campus and in their communities.   

“As a representative of our system’s classified staff, I commend my fellow classified staff for their hard work, commitment to helping our students achieve their higher education goals and serving as exemplary influences in their communities,” said Board of Governors member Bill Rawlings.

Members of a college or district community first nominate recipients. Prospective recipients are then endorsed by their local board of trustees. Representatives of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges select the final award recipients.

The Classified Employee of the Year Award is supported through a grant from the Foundation for California Community Colleges. Each recipient receives a $500 cash award and a commemorative plaque.  

The 2019 Award Winners are:  

Angela Musial, Antelope Valley College

Angela Musial has dedicated 15 years to Antelope Valley College District. She began as a student worker, and then moved into textbook buying at the college bookstore before being promoted to the District Buyer and her current position as Buyer Supervisor. As the single district buyer, Angela deployed the first online requisition system for the district along with training manuals, videos and a training process for new employees revolving around online requisitions. She has become the go-to expert on all matters related to purchasing for her district. Angela spearheaded an operations newsletter by bringing together various groups to include information on technology, facilities and business services for the start of every semester. In 2015 as the district moved toward fiscal independence, Angela played an integral role to help the district meet all required deadlines by developing extensive training guides during the implementation process. Angela is an asset to both her community college district and her local community as an active participant in numerous organizations and an advocate for student success.   

Mary Valdemar, San Bernardino Valley College

Mary Valdemar has held many positions during her 12 years at San Bernardino Valley College leading up to her current role in the SBVC Library and Student Support Services department. She has served as a leader within organizations, provided support to students, staff and faculty and pushed to empower disenfranchised members on her campus and in the community at large. Equity and inclusion is a mission for Mary. She sits or has served on the Latino Faculty and Staff Association, the Classified Senate, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) district committee, the HIS Taskforce and the District Assembly to name a few. Mary is deeply committed to using her institutional memory to advocate for change and improve services for students even when the results mean something has to change in the way the college does business. Her motto is, “If it isn’t in the best interest of students, then it isn’t in mine either.” Mary has collaborated with others on campus and at the district to establish several projects focused on inclusion and student success. Mary has inspired her students to make great change in the world, but to always come back and pay it forward the way she is paying forward the help that campus leaders gave to her 22 years ago.   

Trinidad (Trini) Araya, San Joaquin Delta College

Trinidad (Trini) Araya has dedicated 16 years of service to the San Joaquin Delta Community College District. Although she is not officially an educator, she has made that an integral part of her job. Outside of her role as Senior Laboratory Science Technician, Trini has taken on the task of overseeing the student chapter of the American Chemical Society at Delta College that consists of 25 to 50 students each year. Trini works with the students on a regular basis overseeing their activities and providing mentoring. In addition to working with ACS students, Trini also hires, trains and mentors a number of students in the chemistry department. Whenever there is a need or concern, Trini has become the go to person for results in the Chemistry department. In the greater Stockton community, she volunteers with the “Stockton is Magnificent” event celebrating the community, the Stockton Asparagus festival, serving meals to the homeless, the Stockton Unified School District Science and Engineering Expo, the MESA program at the college, and other organizations where she not only volunteers but also organizes student volunteers. Trini is an inspiration to the students she works with and mentors as well as the faculty and staff she works with.  

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success , a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.