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Illinois Valley Community College honors employees

OGLESBY — Illinois Valley Community College recently honored several members for their dedication to the school and students.

Gerilynn Smith of Wenona received IVCC’s 2019 Connie Skerston Memorial Award for Support Staff Distinguished Service; Mary Black of Oglesby received the Stephen Charry Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence; and Craig Castaneda received the Outstanding Part-time Faculty Member Award at IVCC’s 23rd annual employee recognition event held at the Grand Bear Lodge.

Other nominees for the distinguished support staff award were Ida Brown, financial aid and veterans benefits adviser, and Crystal Credi, student services administrative assistant.

Smith, the administrative assistant for facilities, was nominated by Business Services and Finance administrative assistant Jan Full.

“Gerilynn always has a smile on her face. She is also a friend to both newcomers and experienced staff. She has a welcoming attitude at work, which makes a co-worker feel a part of the team,” Full said.

Smith has more than five years’ experience in the facilities department and maintains the day-to-day operations in addition to scheduling events and ensuring proper set-up. She’s also served on numerous committees and teams. 

Black, developmental mathematics laboratory instructor, is the first instructor to win both the part-time teaching award (2010) and the top award for tenured faculty. Other nominees for the Charry award were Keith King, biology; Willard Mott, agriculture; Bob Reese, marketing and Jeff Spanbauer, history and anthropology. 

The student who nominated Black for the award said, “Mrs. Black helped me stay on track and supported me in every way possible when I got behind.”

Over a 20-year career at IVCC, Black has taught pre-algebra, basic and intermediate algebra, geometry and technical math. She was also instrumental in initiating the successful “Fast Track to College Math” program.

Castaneda, now in his 13th year as a part-time anatomy & physiology instructor, is renowned for his ability to make highly complex material clear and understandable.

The student who nominated him for the award said he encouraged her to persevere when she was about to drop his course because of a recent surgery. She successfully completed the course. Castaneda’s full-time position as a physical therapist in a local hospital strengthens his classroom and lab instruction, the student said. 

Trisha Blood, professional tutor in IVCC’s Peer Tutoring center, was also nominated for the award.

The event also recognized Heather Knoblauch, Amber Knowlton, Tammy Landgraf, Mott and Andrew Seeger for earning tenure and employees for milestone years of service. 

Honored for five years of service were Deborah Anderson, Candice Chaffee, Heather Crawley, Bradley Fritz, D. Scott Johnson, Tracy Lee, Susan Martyn, Julie Milota, Leonard Newell, Erin Polte, Kathryn Ross, Robyn Schiffman and Kristopher Sienza.

Those with 10 years of service were Ruben Alvarado, Frank Borkowsky, Timothy Freed, Kimberly Koehler, Melissa McCarthy, Rosemary McGinnis, Marlene Moshage, Nora Villarreal, Robert Vogl, Dawn Watson and Reed Wilson.

Staff recognized for 15 years of service were Carmen Colon, Patricia Furlan, Wendi Harmon, Julie Hogue, Marilyn Lange, Susan Monroe, Janna Stash, Frances Whaley, Greg Whightsil and Karen Zeilman.

Those with 20 years at IVCC are Black, Michael Bokus, Vincent Brolley, Ida Brown, Jennifer Bubb, Theresa Carranco, Lori Cinotte, Paula Hallock, Linda McCabe Pinn, Mark Quincer, Cheryl Roelfsema, Karen Stachowiak, Michelle Story, Brian Towne, Thomas Tunnell, Walter Waligora and Dawn Wiggins.

Staff with 25 years of service are Valery Calvetti, James Gibson and Cory Tomasson.       

Those with 30 years are Arthur Koudelka, Pamela Mammano, Dennis O’Shea and Sheryl Popurella.

German and English instructor James Michael was recognized for an impressive 50 years of service.  

Retirees honored included Kathryn Baker, Jean Batson-Turner, Lori Carey, Lorri Foockle, Paul Leadingham, Linda McCabe Pinn, Edna McManus, Michael Minnick, D. Gene Montgomery, Michael Skoflanc and Patricia Williamson.

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