May 22, 2023
Contact: Paul Feist
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Community Colleges Board of Governors today honored five classified professionals who provide outstanding service supporting students up down the state with the 2023 Classified Employee of the Year Awards..

Recipients are nominated by their colleagues and endorsed by the local board of trustees. Winners are selected by representatives from the Board of Governors, the Consultation Council and the Chancellor's Office based on their commitment to the Vision for Success, the mission of community colleges and their professional standards.

“Our classified staff plays a critical role in our system and most importantly in the success of our students,” said Board of Governors President Amy M. Costa “Today we honored several outstanding employees representative of those throughout the state working every day to assist and support our students.”

The winners represent College of the Canyons, College of the Desert, Feather River College, the Los Angeles Community College District and Long Beach City College.

“Today we celebrate five talented professionals whose work impacts the lives of students through their service to our students and their local community,” said Interim Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD. “Classified professionals are an integral part of our campuses and our system. On behalf of the California Community Colleges, we thank all classified professionals for their contributions and service.”

This year’s recipients are:

Frederick BobolaFrederick Bobola, College of the Canyons

Frederick Bobola knows first-hand the power of attending a California community college. A self-proclaimed student who wasn’t focused much on school, he found his way while attending College of the Canyons. After graduating from UCLA and working in the private sector, Bobola fulfilled his dream of working in higher education by returning to COC, where he has served as instructional coordinator for English, Social Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Modern Languages for The Learning Center. Since being in this role, Bobola has also served on the executive board for the Classified Senate. Bobola is dedicated to serving students from diverse backgrounds of all ages to help them reach their higher educational goals. In addition to his specialist role, Bobola also serves as the college’s Esports club advisor.

Eleanor ‘Nori’ BambuschEleanor ‘Nori’ Bambusch, College of the Desert

Eleanor ‘Nori’ Bambusch has long provided prolific support throughout the College of the Desert community. For 35 years, Bambusch has made a profound impact on students, staff and faculty alike while serving as the administrative assistant for the School of Applied Sciences and Business. Among her many contributions is managing and administering the New Horizons Book Loan Programing, providing students who receive the California Community College Promise Grant the opportunity to receive free textbooks each semester. Colleagues say Bambusch is the personification of professionalism and embodies the college’s goal of being a student-centered college by being committed to the growth of everyone around her. In addition to her position at the college, Bambusch is a dedicated volunteer and respected member of the community.

Joan JarrettJoan Jarrett, Feather River College

Joan Jarrett has served Feather River College for the past 15 years. Throughout this time and through multiple roles, Jarrett has streamlined the college’s efforts to better support students through the learning experience. Her myriad efforts have advanced the college’s work in reducing equity gaps, especially for students who are at risk of falling off their educational plans and providing them with the support and confidence they need to succeed. In her current role as program coordinator of the Instructional Resource Center, Jarrett strives to build a community where students can grow academically and personally. Colleagues say Jarrett is equally devoted to her co-workers, advocating for regular professional development, particularly focusing on DEIA activities and promoting other strategies to improve student success outcomes.

Nino ShtrombergNino Shtromberg, Los Angeles Community College District

Nino Shtromberg has served as a lifeline to Los Angeles Community College District students for the past six years through her role as a CalWORKs coordinator. Shtromberg breaks down persistent systemic barriers for CalWORKs students by collaborating with various on and off-campus programs/departments and taking a part in different student success task force/initiatives to ensure the students accomplish their educational goal in an equitable environment. As a successful CalWORKs alum, Shtromberg understands the challenges and stigma of being a student parent receiving assistance. Colleagues say Shtromberg uses that experience and insight to serve students in a compassionate, dignified and productive manner. Shtromberg is also an enthusiastic volunteer, committed to building a sense of community.

Starla ThomasStarla Thomas, Long Beach City College

Starla Thomas has served students at Long Beach City College (LBCC) for the past five years as a career and technical education coordinator. In her role, she has been instrumental in implementing the Strong Workforce Grant by recruiting career education faculty to apply for awards to improve student success rates. Through her leadership, LBCC faculty are developing career education programs to close equity gaps among traditionally underrepresented students. In addition, LBCC has also been able to implement a Career Technical Education Community model with goals to support the college’s Black and African American students become successful in their pursuit of desired career pathways. Thomas also volunteers with nonprofit organizations to provide free counseling to low-income individuals who cannot afford, or qualify for, free medical assistance.

Each recipient of the Classified Employee of the Year Award will receive a $750 cash award and a commemorative plaque.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 1.8 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; and degree and certificate pathways. 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, Instagram and Twitter.