Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium Logo

2018 - 2019 Excellence in Leadership Nominees


Sandra Sisco Director, Economic Development, InTech Center, Chaffey College

Nominated by Debbie Smith and InTech Center Team, Chaffey College

Engage in or leads local, regional, and/or statewide activities and initiatives: Chaffey College has many longstanding relationships with industry partners. Through Sandra’s guidance, Chaffey applied for and received ETP funding, and was one of the first colleges in the region to receive a multiple employer contract (MEC) in 2010. This allowed Chaffey to strengthen their expertise and knowledge to other colleges applying for funding, helping to bolster incumbent worker training in the Inland/Desert region. Her role as a statewide Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) further allowed Sandra to share the Inland Empire’s best practices in Contract Education to other colleges throughout the state. Currently, Sandra is the lead Contract Education facilitator for the IEDRC, providing more opportunities and resources to grow Contract Education in the region. Advance regional goals through a commitment and passion for regional work: As the Chaffey College Economic Development Director, Sandra and her team consistently work with business and industry to determine how to align their needs with the region. Working closely with Chaffey management, Sandra’s commitment has helped the college meet a number of Strong Workforce goals and metrics. Under Sandra’s leadership, her team is able to explore and participate in multiple Strong Workforce projects including Mechatronics, Conventional Machining, Welding, and the Apprenticeship programs to name a few. Her vision for growth and her leadership style promotes collaboration, professional development and innovative thinking to address regional workforce needs. Motivate and inspire others toward action and professional excellence: Sandra has helped to promote our regional work on a local, state and even national scale by continually spreading the word about InTech and the work being done by the Region IX community colleges. She motivates and inspires her team to provide the best possible services for employers and low income individuals. Through her work, she and InTech were highlighted on PBS NewsHour; Senator Kamala Harris toured and called InTech a “national model”; Sandra recently visited Sacramento to discuss legislation with politicians; and InTech and the Inland/Desert region were featured in an article in Site Selection, a national magazine. None of this would have been possible if Sandra didn’t inspire her team to strive toward professional excellence, both individually and together. Collectively, InTech served over 700 individuals and 50 businesses last year through several technical and professional training programs. She encourages her team to be collaborative and to work with other colleges, county WDDs, high schools, state entities and others to help meet the needs of the community.

Kim Walker Administrator, Career & Adult Education, Hesperia USD

Nominated by Adele McClain, Apple Valley USD and Victor Valley College

Kim Walker has worked tirelessly throughout her career to grow opportunities to prepare thousands of stundents to be career ready adults ready to enter the work force completely ready to fill the job demands of our local communities . She has built both CTE and regional occupational programs with both soft and hard skills required by our local employers to keep our economy thriving throughout the high desert region . She began her career as a student worker then she became a CTE teacher and now runs the most successful CTE program and adult school in our region . She has been listed in the Adult Education Program website as having the best practices in 2019 . She has developed many matriculated pathways with Victor Valley College . She is a both a Work Investment and Opportunity and Carl Perkins grant recipient many times over. She is an unwavering asset to our desert region . She has been both a motivator and inspiration to thousands of students and hundreds of colleagues in our desert region and throughout the Inland Empire and the state of California.

Mark Weller Associate Faculty, Barstow College

Nominated by Sandi Thomas, Barstow College

Mark Weller is an Associate Faculty member for our Automotive Technology Program. He has always went above and beyond in his role as an Associate Faculty member. He emerged even more as a leader while our full-time Automotive/Diesel faculty member was working an assignment providing diesel instruction full-time to active military members stationed at the National Training Center- Fort Irwin. Mark stepped up in even more of leadership role of the department in many areas including coordinating and leading advisory meetings, scheduling classes, curriculum development, student support, ensuring the automotive shop was being stocked with supplies, tools, and equipment and also took on significant projects such as the Strong Workforce Project 05- Updating Automotive Labs- Electrical Vehicles & Hybrid Instruction. Mark utilizes innovative ways of teaching in various formats to help keep students engaged and gain a better understanding of the course materials.

Cal-Draulics, Inc.

Nominated by Charles Henkels, Norco College

Doug and Annette Johnson acquired and moved Cal-Draulics, Inc. to Corona, CA in 1992, where they have manufactured aircraft hydraulic assemblies for defense and commercial airplanes and helicopters. Last year, they took a leap of faith with the Inland Empire Consortium by signing their first apprenticeship agreement. Their motives for joining the apprenticeship program were clear: they wanted to find and develop the best talent in the Inland Empire. They immediately offered positions to two apprentices (a recent Norco High School graduate and a community college student seeking a career change) to begin training as CNC Operators. Since that time, Cal-Draulics has trained ten apprentices, opened the opportunity to their employees, and has helped the college begin developing a Quality Control Apprenticeship Program. This is outstanding - especially considering they have historically employed less that 50 employees annually. Cal-Draulics, Inc. is doing a good thing for their employees and for their community by offering entry-level positions and professional development pathways. I am nominating them for this award in leadership, however, because of how they've advocated for the apprenticeship program and the importance of educational partnerships among other businesses. Both Cari Smith and Jose Gonzalez (managers at Cal-Draulics) have attended regional Manufacturers' Council meetings and encouraged other businesses to get started with the program. In addition, Cal-Draulics hosted a Workforce Strike Team Meeting for seven other manufacturers to come see the apprentices in-action at their facility. Effectively, they've become one of our best “sales teams”. Cal-Draulics, Inc. seeks to build bridges with both our K-12 and community college programs and has become leading voice in the community as they expand opportunities for students and support growth in our local economy.

Andrea Dutton Professor/Program Director, Radiologic Technology , Chaffey College

Nominated by Sherrie Loewen, Chaffey College

Andrea Dutton has led the program to excellence by creating opportunities for students to succeed in the program and become successful clinicians. This program is life changing for Chaffey students and for the patients that these students encounter. She has been in this position and with the program for over 30 years. This means her impact is vast: 24 students a year for 30 years. She is teaching the children of prior program graduates. Her dedication is outstanding. She has a drive to ensure excellence across all sectors and duties in the program operations. She works extensive hours with students, faculty, administrators and external stakeholders regarding programmatic matters. She cares intently if a student is not successful and meets with them individuals to support a hope mindset. Andrea is detailed in all matters and shepherds the very difficult accreditation and documentation processes needed to have a successful program. Her expectations are high, and the students who graduate from the program are a credit to her and Chaffey College. Andrea works tirelessly in developing and nurturing critical networks and partnerships needed for the program. She chairs very productive Program Advisory Committees, works with clinical instructors and facilitates partnerships with hospitals and healthcare agencies, and collaborates with her peers and other constituents across the College. She advises other directors in the School of Health Sciences and the dean relies upon her expertise and vast knowledge of leading a CTE program. Over the decades, her network of connections and relationships is vast and supports the smooth operations of the program.

Charles Henkels Apprenticeship Director, Norco College

Nominated by Sandra Sisco, Chaffey College and Ashley Etchison, Norco College

Charles passion and dedication for apprenticeship is well known throughout the region and state. Although stationed at Norco College, Charles has truly made a commitment to being a regional Apprenticeship Director. He has secured local and regional grants, developing LAUNCH, Local Apprenticeship Uniting a Network of Colleges and High Schools. LAUNCH exists to remove the obstacles faced by education and industry partners using the apprenticeship model and to present a ready-made product that employers and students can engage in today. In the last year, he has grown the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network to include most of the IEDRC colleges. Charles also works on the state level to advance apprenticeship and the IEDRC programs. The Secretary of Labor and Workforce appointed Charles as commissioner of the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (IACA), which will allow him to build and resolve crucial issues regarding non-traditional apprenticeships statewide. Through LAUNCH, Charles is in constant interaction with other colleges to develop apprenticeship programs at their school. As a result, he collaborates with faculty to determine the best curriculum to align to an apprenticeship occupation. Charles has championed the process of developing a regional apprenticeship system that will provide ease of access to students, employers and partners – the first attempt in the entire state of California. By fostering relationships/partnerships with multiple agencies, business and industry, colleges and others, LAUNCH will only continue to strengthen its presence and grow exponentially in the Inland/Desert region, which in turn, will support sustainability for students, colleges, employers, and the economy At the heart of everything Charles does, is student success. He truly believes in the transformative value of education and workplace learning. Charles dedication will no doubt lead this region to be a statewide and national leader in apprenticeships.