CRC Partners

Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium

Our Dedicated Stakeholders

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The CRC’s partnerships are a driving force behind our work.

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Meet the Team

Karri Hammerstrom
Regional Chair, Central Mother/Lode Regional Consortium
Contact via Email

April Farkas
Program Specialist, Central Mother/Lode Regional Consortium
Contact via Email

Laura Hickle
South Valley Consultant, Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium
Contact via Email


Dr. Carole Goldsmith
President, Fresno City College
Contact via Email

Steering Committee

This committee provides oversight of the strategic plan and the region’s overall efforts in building a strong workforce and leads program reviews.

Bakersfield College
1801 Panorama Drive, Bakersfield CA 93305
Anthony Cordova, Program Director CTE

Cerro Coso College
3000 College Heights Boulevard, Ridgecrest CA 93555
Maura Marabito, Dean Career & Technical Education

Columbia College
11600 Columbia College Drive, Sonora CA 95370
Brian Sanders, Vice President of Instruction

Clovis Community College
10309 N. Willow Avenue, Fresno CA 93730
Robbie Kunkel, Dean of Instruction, CTE

College of the Sequoias
915 South Mooney Boulevard, Visalia CA 93277
Dr. Thad Russell, Dean of Career Technical Education and Workforce Development

Fresno City College
1101 E. University Avenue, Fresno CA 93741
Dr. Becky Barabe, Dean of Applied Technology

Modesto Junior College
435 College Avenue, Modesto CA 95350
Pedro Mendez, Dean of CTE, Community Education & Workforce Development

Porterville College
100 East College Avenue, Porterville CA 93257
Kailani Knutson, Dean of Instruction

Merced College
3600 M Street, Merced CA 95348
Toni Pirtle, Dean, CTE, Ag IT & Kin

Reedley College
995 N. Reed Avenue, Reedley CA 93654
David Clark, CTE Dean

San Joaquin Delta College
5151 Pacific Avenue, Stockton CA 95207
Salvador Vargas, Dean of CTE & Workforce Development
209-954-5151 ext 5093

Taft College
29 Cougar Ct., Taft CA 93268
Jessica Grimes, Interim Dean of Instruction & CTE

West Hills College Coalinga
300 Cherry Lane, Coalinga CA 93210
Kris Costa, Dean-Career Technical Education

West Hills College Lemoore
555 College Avenue, Lemoore CA 93245
Kris Costa, Dean-Career Technical Education

Chief Executive Officers

Noted below are the leaders of our regional colleges.

Bakersfield College
Sonya Christian, President

Cerro Coso Community College
Jill Board, President

Clovis Community College
Lori Bennett, President

Columbia College
Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President

College of Sequoias
Brent Calvin, President

Fresno City College
Carole Goldsmith, President

Merced College
Chris Vitelli, President

Modesto Junior College
Henry Yong, Chancellor & Interim President

Porterville College
Bill Henry, President

Reedley College
Donna Berry, Interim President

San Joaquin Delta College
Kathy Hart, President

Taft College
Debra Daniels, President

West Hills College Coalinga
Brenda Thames, President

West Hills College Lemoore
Kristin Clark, President

CRC Marketing Committee

Designs strategies to support regional colleges with student enrollment and stakeholder recruitment.

Committee Co-Chairs

Fresno City College
Becky Barabe, Dean of Applied Technology

West Hills Community College District
Amber Myrick, Public Information Officer


Modesto Junior College
Jenni Abbott, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness

Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium
Laura Hickle, South Valley Consultant

Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium
April Farkas, Program Specialist


Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium
Karri Hammerstrom, Regional Chair

K-12 Education Selection Committee

TBD, tentatively November 2018

These industry specialists have their pulse on the demands of business and industry to inform community college stakeholders engaged in the curriculum development process and are subject matter experts in their field.

Photo of Krista Vannest, DSN
Krista Vannest, DSN


Background & Expertise

Krista has a long history both personally and professional in agriculture. She earned a B.S. in Agriculture Science and a M.S. in Agriculture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her family has a tree nut and meat livestock farm in East Modesto where they raise walnuts, almonds, beef, sheep and hogs. Krista has served as a high school teacher in agriculture for 17 years at Gustine High School and Pitman High School in Turlock, California, as well as one year at Modesto Junior College teaching Ag Business, Plant Science and Environmental Science.

Focus on Students

“It’s wonderful to open up students to understanding the complex sector of agriculture as it represents the largest number of jobs in the nation and in California. I enjoy designing and facilitating creative projects that help connect students to colleges and future careers.”

— Krista Vannest

Agriculture, Water & Environmental Technologies Resources & Links

Nora Seronello, Technical Assistance Provider


Connect on LinkedIn

Background & Expertise

Nora is an experienced director with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in higher education research and analysis, labor market information research and analysis, policy analysis, nonprofit organizations, Microsoft Excel and other analytical software, grant writing and administration, program design, implementation and management, editing, and public speaking, Nora earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Business Administration and Management, General from University of the Pacific.

Focus on Students

“It is all about community/society. Whether it be our institutional or individual members, people are our most valuable resource. The more we invest in our community, the better off is our society.”
— Nora Seronello

Centers of Excellence Resources & Links
  • Centers of Excellence – visit our website and search for data, trends and publications on California’s high growth sectors

Photo of Bonita Steele, K-14 Technical Assistance Provider
Bonita Steele, K-14 Technical Assistance Provider


Connect on LinkedIn

Follow: @steele2bonita

Background & Expertise

Dr. Steele serves in a dual capacity as the region’s K14 Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) and the Project Director for the Kern Community College District’s California Career Pathways Trust Grant. As the K14 TAP, Dr. Steele supports the region’s colleges and high schools on career transition activities, outreach and marketing, and the implementation and model fidelity of the Get Focused Stay Focused (GFSF) curriculum. GFSF is a middle school through high school curriculum that supports student career exploration and career interest development including the preparation of a ten-year education and career plan. As the director of the Pathways Trust Grant, Dr. Steele engages more than 30 educational and business partners in a four year $9.5 million project to implement high school to college pathways in nine industry sectors. In its first year, the project reached 11,142 high school and 532 college pathway students.

Prior to assuming responsibility for the Pathways Trust Grant project, Dr. Steele served as the District Director of Grants and Resource Development for eight years, during which time, she provided workshops on grant writing, and engaged in programmatic design and problem solving, and acquired grant awards of more than $28 million dollars. Dr. Steele earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a focus on Higher Education from California State University Fresno, and a Master and Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from California State University Bakersfield. Dr. Steele’s dissertation focuses on the benefits accrued to middle achieving high school students who participated in dual enrollment college courses while in high school.

Focus on Students

“The Central & Mother Lode Region is an innovative and entrepreneurial group of educators who always put their students’ learning and success first!”
— Bonita Steele

K14 Resources & Links

Photo of Dave Teasdale, Prop 39 Energy Technical Assistance Provider
Dave Teasdale, Prop 39 Energy Technical Assistance Provider


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Background & Expertise

Dave has a diverse professional background in Management, Marketing and Market Research positions with companies like Starbuck’s FedEx Kinko’s, Taco Bell and the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District. In 2009, Dave help found the Clean Energy Center at Kern Community College District which prepared individuals for jobs as Utility Workers, Wind Turbine Technicians and Solar Installers. In 2013, the Clean Energy Center changes its name to the 21st Century Energy Center as training for jobs in the Construction and Oil Industry was added. David served on the Kern County Green Employer Council ad has worked closely on projects with the California Energy Commission, regional workforce development boards and economic development councils, and employer’s such as Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, EDF Renewable Energy, Chevron and PCL Construction. In 2010, Dave was asked to present at the Governor’s Workshop on Workforce Needs for Large-Scale Solar Projects and The Governor’s Conference on Local Renewable Energy Resources. In 2012, made a presentation at the Southern California Energy Summit; Putting Southern California back to work with Green Jobs

Since taking on the role of Proposition 39 Project Director for the Energy, Construction and Utility sector for the California Community Colleges in the Central Region, Dave has worked to provide college faculty with the most up-to-date information regarding changes in the State’s energy policies and created communities of practice allowing faculty to share materials and learn from each other. Dave has also fostered a close relationship with the Kern, Inyo, Mono Building Trades and the Fresno Building Trades and has organized Women in Trades workshops in Bakersfield and Fresno.

Focus on Students

“California’s Advanced Energy industry needs an additional 15,000 highly skilled workers every year, and Community Colleges are uniquely positioned to meet this need. It is my mission to connect industry with Colleges and to provide K-12 and Community College students with the information they need to determine if a career in the Energy, Construction and Utility sector might be right for them.”
— Dave Teasdale

ECU Resources & Links
  • ECU Videos – Competition for skilled workers will intensify as 40% of the energy efficiency workforce retires over the next five years. Learn more about this sector by watching these videos.
  • ECU Events – for industry, students and educators.
  • Student Successes in ECU – these videos showcase the wide range of occuapations for student in this growing sector.
  • Energy Efficiency Policy & Regulations – get the latest on California’s policies about energy efficiency.

Photo of Alicia Rios
Alicia Rios, Deputy Sector Navigator for Global Trade and Logistics


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Alicia Rios serves as Deputy Sector Navigator (DSN) for Global Trade and Logistics on behalf of the California Community College Chancellors Office.

Director Rios is also the Statewide Ag Coordinator; implementing the Memorandum of Agreement the CITD entered into with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Ms. Rios began her career with the CITD in 1999, serving a dual role as a California-Mexico Trade Assistant and as an International Trade Specialist. Alicia was responsible for the implementation of the California-Mexico Trade Assistance grant activities and also pioneered the development of several successful export training programs, still offered today. During her time at the CITD, she has coordinated over 100 foreign buyer missions and assisted over 1,500 small and medium-sized U.S. companies, which, to date, have generated millions of dollars in export sales.

In 2013, Ms. Rios became the Director and has served in that capacity until becoming DSN for the Central Mother Lode Regional Consortium.

Ms. Rios is a graduate of California State University, Fresno, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business.

Photo of Valerie Fisher
Valerie Fisher, Deputy Sector Navigator Health Workforce Initiative


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Background & Expertise

Valerie started her professional career as a registered nurse in Orange County, California with career experience encompassing intensive care, trauma & flight nursing, human transplantation, post anesthesia recovery, emergency room and cardiac care units. Early in her career, she was selected as one of the first “Trauma Nurses” at Mission Regional Medical Center and later became an innovator in the emerging field of flight nursing. Valerie was one of five advanced practice nurses selected to create one of the first emergency medical helicopter flight teams in southern California. Later as a Senior Flight Nurse, she helped develop another emergency flight organization in northern California called California Shock Trauma Air Rescue (or CALSTAR) which is still in operation today.

Following her years as an active clinical nurse, Valerie entered the field of education with a focus on health care grant management and special projects management. Her experiences include: California Department of Education grants (K-12), Job Training Partnership Act /Workforce Investment Act/American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Federal grants (postsecondary), and multi-agency community collaborative grants. Since 2007, Valerie has worked in a variety of roles for the California Community College system.

Focus on Students

“My work with the Health Workforce Initiative and the community colleges fosters communication and collaboration between the educational system and the health care industry. By building health career pipelines starting at middle schools to high schools to community colleges, students have multiple opportunities to explore careers in healthcare and hopefully choose to dedicate their lives to serving those in need. Community collaboratives are the key to the success of building these pipelines which leads to student success.”
— Valerie Fisher

Health Care Resources & Links

HWI image

Photo of Dennis Mohle, DSN
Dennis Mohle, DSN

559.442.4600 x8471

Connect on LinkedIn

Background & Expertise

Dennis works with 13 community colleges in the Central Valley and Mother Lode regions of California on collaboration projects that result in braided federal and state funding. As a DSN in California’s Central Valley, he works closely with the agriculture industry sector and is developing an industry-sector hybrid of agriculture and technology to bride the skills gaps of agriculture in the Central Valley. Duties and responsibilities of this new position include identifying entry-level skills in ag-technology that lead students to higher-paying jobs.

Focus on Students

“Raising the bar for students and their knowledge is an important focus of our work.”
— Dennis Mohle

ICT/Digital Media Resources & Links

Photo of Vincent Roos, DSN
Vincent Roos, DSN


Background & Expertise

Vince’s early career focused on Agri-Business mostly in the production farming of fruits and nuts, dried fruit production and marketing – mail-order and retail outlets. After earning a doctorate degree in Organizational Development, Vince has consulted and worked with various organizations to help them achieve a higher impact. The last 5 ½ years have been dedicated to working in education at the college level. Vince has worked extensively with Fresno Pacific University in various capacities (teaching & administration) as well as Merced College and Fresno State as an adjunct in business.

Focus on Students

“My greatest satisfaction comes from participating in educational processes and linkages which provide students with appropriate pathways to become not only adept in particular skills, but provide a greater sense of purpose, achieving success, but fulfillment and impact as well.”
— Vince Roos

Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Resources & Links
  • Centers of Excellence – learn more about retail, hospitality & tourism through industry-specifc reports and data.

Photo of Alese Campbell, DSN
Alese Campbell, DSN


Connect on LinkedIn

Background & Expertise

As a creative leader with a MBA, Alese strategically connects community partners with business and industry. She leverages more than 15 years of entrepreneurial experience to help some 300+ business owners and C-Level partners expand their businesses. She has managed non-profit and corporate centers from $200K to $2M budgets and led teams of 3-50 staff members. Her specialities include grant and program management, business and economic development, account management, client service and retention, marketing, sales, vendor relations, financial and budgeting management, training, building strategic relationships.

Focus on Students

“I’m in it for the students, to create and expand jobs and opportunities to solve problems and take action, share the entrepreneurial mindset.”
— Alese Campbell

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Resources & Links

Advanced Manufacturing – VACANT
Gurminder Sangha, Sector Navigator

Ag, Water & Environmental
Krista Vannest, DSN

Global Trade & Logistics
Jeanette Benson, DSN

Health Workforce Initiative
Valerie Fisher, DSN

ICT/Digital Media
Dennis Mohle, DSN

Retail, Hospitality, & Tourism
Vince Roos, DSN

Small Business & Entrepreneurship
Alese Campbell, DSN

Energy, Construction & Utilities
Dave Teasdale, Prop 39 Energy Technical Assistance Provider

Centers of Excellence
Nora Seronello, Technical Assistance Provider

K12 Pathways
Bonita Steele, Technical Assistance Provider

Key Stakeholders

Note below are valued stakeholders that contribute to our work as a regional consortium.

Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium

Laura Hickle, South Valley Consultant

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