On April 26th, 2024, SBVC hosted the 29th Annual Spotlighting Our Success Awards, an awards ceremony that celebrates our hardworking and dedicated staff and faculty.


Award Winners

The winner of the Excellence Award was:

Genaro "Gino" Vargas
Maintenance Worker, Maintenance & Grounds

Without a doubt, Genaro "Gino" Vargas is an exceptional asset to our campus, consistently displaying his skills and dedication to his job. His unwavering commitment to ensuring our campus needs are met, despite his workload, and his persistent efforts to assist his co-workers, students, and other departments on campus, make him an invaluable employee. He handles all tasks and roles with ease, thanks to his "jack of all trades" mindset and vast knowledge, which ensures that jobs on campus are completed successfully. As a team player, he maintains a positive attitude, collaborates effectively, and contributes positively to his co-workers, earning the respect of everyone who works with him. Gino's friendly nature is contagious, and he always arrives with a smile and a warm greeting for all. I wholeheartedly recommend Gino Vargas for the Excellence Award for his outstanding performance as a maintenance worker. In conclusion, great team players like Gino maintain a positive attitude, respect their coworkers, and contribute positively to their workplace, making for a more productive and enjoyable work environment.





The winner of the Innovator of the Year Award was:

Keenan Giles
Counselor, EOPS/CARE

Keenan Giles

Being a counselor, an active member in BFSA, an A2Mend leader, and a founder of B.R.O.T.H.E.RS. he makes assisting students and the community his top priority daily. To build student/staff campus morale, he develops new activities, such as the Dodgeball tournaments, and events to cheer on school athletes. Whenever you need him, staff or students, he always makes time in his busy schedule to talk to you. He truly cares for our students and their future.

Keenan Giles





The winner of the Outstanding Service Award was:

Cedrick Wrenn
Technology Support Specialist II, Campus Technology Services


Cedric performs his job efficiently. Calls and requests are done promptly. He is flexible, has no signs of any attitude, and knows well what he is troubleshooting.






The winner of the Manager of the Year Award was:

April Dale
Director, Admissions & Records

April Dale

I chose to nominate April due to her dedication and support to our office. April will take the time to listen to any of our concerns and questions and will find a solution or guide us to finding the best solution. She will listen to any ideas that we have and will implement them. She supports professional, educational, & personal growth. She also shows care and concern for our personal lives with our family and loved ones. Our mental health is important to her. April's hard work and dedication to our office are appreciated and felt. Grateful to have her as a manager.

April Dale





The winner of the District Employee of the Year Award was:

Virginia Diggle
Business Services Administrator, Business Services


I nominate Virginia Diggle for the District Employee Award. She is diligent, helpful, and has a genuine caring attitude that is essential to a thriving workplace environment. Virginia consistently goes above and beyond in her role, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to excellence. She is not only diligent in her tasks but also willingly assists her colleagues, ensuring that everyone understands policies and procedures thoroughly. Her dedication to helping others succeed is truly commendable. One of Virginia’s attributes is her genuine personality. She approaches every interaction with warmth and sincerity, making it clear that she genuinely cares about the well-being and success of her coworkers. Her willingness to take the time to listen and support others is greatly appreciated. She is keen to detail and understands the organization’s goals and objectives. Despite the high volume of contracts that come her way, she consistently manages to complete them in a timely manner. Her ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines is truly impressive. Virginia is more than deserving of this award. Her tireless dedication to her work, her willingness to help others, and her exemplary professionalism make her an outstanding candidate.






The winner of the Honored Retiree Award was:

Suzan Hall
Retiree, Student Services

Suzan Hall

Nomination 1:
I am delighted to nominate Suzann Hall for her exceptional contributions during her tenure at SBVC. Suzan’s dedication, attention to detail, and unwavering determination to assist others have left an undeniable mark on the Student Services Division. Throughout her time at SBVC, she tirelessly worked to ensure that students and staff alike understood the intricacies of policies and procedures, thereby facilitating smoother transitions and fostering a more supportive environment. Suzan’s wealth of knowledge is remarkable, and she generously shares it with colleagues and students alike. Even beyond her regular role, Suzan continues to make valuable contributions by serving as a substitute wherever and whenever needed. Her commitment to excellence and her passion for helping others make her truly deserving of recognition. Suzan Hall is undeniably an amazing woman whose impact resonates throughout SBVC.

Nomination 2:
Susan epitomizes the spirit of dedication and commitment to our college and community, making her a deserving candidate for the Honored Retiree Award. Despite retiring, Susan's unwavering dedication to our institution is evident through her continued involvement. As a substitute in vacant positions, Susan has been instrumental in ensuring the seamless operation of our college, keeping the momentum going even in the face of staffing challenges. Her wealth of knowledge and ever-helpful demeanor make her an invaluable asset to our campus community. Susan's willingness to step in and support demonstrates her deep-rooted commitment to the success of our college and the individuals it serves. Her ongoing contributions serve as an inspiration to us all, embodying the very essence of this esteemed award.

Suzan Hall





The winner of the Administrative Services, Office of the President, VPI & VPSS Achievement Award was: 

Ronald Gordin
Lead Grounds Caretaker, Maintenance & Grounds


Nomination 1:
Ron has performed exceptionally this FY by leading his coworkers to maintain the SBVC campus grounds to an above-average condition. This year, due to Ron's efforts, we were able to prepare for the BOT and Gala assemblies with minimal outsourced contracting. He performed this while on modified duty as well.

Nomination 2:
Despite health issues, Ron has continued to provide excellent customer service to everyone on our campus. He is always very cooperative and supportive of the department's efforts.


Shyla Cobbett
Administrative Assistant III Research, Planning, & Institutional Effectiveness

Shyla Cobbett

I am honored to nominate Shyla Cobbett for the Administrative Services Achievement Award. Shyla's excellence transcends her role, impacting not only our division but also the entirety of the ADSS 200 Suite and the wider SBVC community. Shyla's unwavering positivity and boundless dedication set her apart. She consistently exceeds expectations, demonstrating remarkable finesse in her endeavors. Shyla's eagerness to support colleagues and students alike has deeply influenced our institution, fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual growth. A hallmark of Shyla's character is her seamless collaboration and willingness to assist beyond our division. Her readiness to share knowledge, offer assistance, and engage in collective problem-solving has been pivotal in driving the success of various initiatives throughout the past year. Furthermore, Shyla's discerning eye for improvement has instigated transformative changes in our division's operations. Through her proactive approach and astute insights, she has identified inefficiencies and implemented strategic solutions, significantly enhancing our processes and amplifying efficiency and productivity.

Shyla Cobbett





The winner of the Arts & Humanities Achievement Award was:

Emily McNichols
Administrative Assistant III, Arts & Humanities

Emily McNichols

Emily keeps the machine of the division working. From managing expenditures to helping us all through the marsh that is the district. Students also find her to be very helpful when they stop by the office. She works tirelessly to help our lives as factually simpler.

Emily McNichols





The winner of the Academic Success & Learning Achievement Award was:

Timothy Hosford
Tech Assistant II, Library

Timothy Hosford

Need something done? Tim’s there to do it. Someone out sick? Tim’s there to cover (usually without even being asked). Want a fresh set of eyes on a challenge to better serve our students? Tim’s the first to raise his hand and bring his considerable intellect to bear. The guy is just Mr. Dependable and an invaluable member of the Library team!

Timothy Hosford





The winners of the Classified Employee of the Year Award were:

Aida Gil
Administrative Assistant III
Outreach, Recruitment & Educational Partnerships

Aida Gil

Aida is an exceptional classified employee at SBVC, previously in her Administrative Assistant position with the STAR Program and now, as an Administrative Assistant III, with First Year Experience and numerous supporting programs, and additionally, as the newest president of the Latino Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Association (LFSAA). Her dedication, integrity, collaboration, and commitment to serving students is clear in every aspect of her work. As an Administrative Assistant in FYE, Aida plays a crucial behind-the-scenes role in supporting the success of programs including Valley Bound, D.E.E.P., Umoja-Tumaini, the Dreamers Resource Center, and more! One of her greatest qualities is her continuous focus on equity work, always asking the question, “How can we serve our students (and staff) equitably?” Beyond her daily duties, Aida also actively works to create a positive environment in her department and with others across campus. She is always willing to lend a helping hand to students or colleagues with a positive attitude, collaborative spirit, and willingness to embrace challenges and inspire change. She is incredibly deserving of the award of Classified Employee of the Year 2024!

Aida Gil


Damon Smith
Warehouse Technician
Facilities, Maintenance & Operations

Damon Smith

Damon is and has always been a hard-working employee. No matter what type of day it is, Damon always makes sure to deliver the packages throughout the campus, rain or shine. Even during COVID, Damon made sure that our packages were delivered in a timely matter. When you see Damon he always greets you with a smile and is always so kind and friendly. Damon is always willing to coordinate deliveries and he is always willing to assist in tracking down a missing package that has not arrived. Damon is a great employee who is an exemplary classified employee.

Damon Smith





The winner of the Counseling & Matriculation Achievement Award was:

Dr. Daniele Smith-Morton
Counselor, STEM-MESA

Daniele Smith Morton

I am pleased to nominate Dr. Daniele Smith-Morton for the Counseling and Matriculation Achievement Award 2024 in recognition of her exceptional dedication and expertise in guiding students toward academic success and personal growth. Dr. Dani works exceptionally hard and goes above and beyond her normal work schedule. She serves as the counselor for STEM/MESA and also takes on the role of secretary due to the absence of a dedicated secretary for the STEM/MESA counselors. Furthermore, she has been instrumental as the counselor for the Umoja-Tumaini Program and played a significant part in bringing The Wiz to SBVC. In addition, she teaches Student Development courses and builds connections with professors to establish cohorts for Umoja students. Currently, she is actively working to secure a tutor for the Umoja-Tumaini Program. Her tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to student success make her an exemplary candidate for this prestigious award.

Daniele Smith Morton





The winner of the Student Equity & Success Achievement Award was:

Evelyn Ruiz
Dreamers Resource Center Coordinator
Outreach, Recruitment & Educational Partnerships

Evelyn Ruiz

Evelyn has been a light to our undocumented student population. She actively creates encouraging opportunities and activities for all students. Most recently I personally witnessed her passion in action while on a field trip to UCI. Evelyn's positive energy and impact are contagious. Many students who came to SBVC by chance, now have been enlightened with experiences coordinated by Evelyn and UCI. I have had the pleasure of being a Dreamer counselor, since our trip to UCI, I have had several students with a new goal of transferring to a UC. Evelyn's commitment and passion for creating inspirational pathways to education is a lifelong gift to all student populations, who otherwise would have not known about the opportunities available to them.

Evelyn Ruiz





The winner of the Engagement & Wellness Achievement Award was:

LaCretia Smith
Basic Needs Coordinator, Student Engagement & Wellness

LaCretia Smith is our division’s and SBVC’s first-ever Basic Needs Coordinator, and in her time, she has demonstrated exceptional dedication in addressing the needs of our students, fostering a culture of support, resilience, and well-being. Since she started, LaCretia has taken her time to connect with our campus and build partnerships with on-campus and off-campus groups to promote basic needs resources. She has been instrumental in expanding our student support services including increasing the reach of our Valley 360 Resource Center food pantry, promoting CalFresh applications, meeting with students individually to address their challenges, implementing a mobile shower unit in partnership with CAPSBC, and so much more in the works. LaCretia is well deserving of the Student Engagement & Wellness Achievement Award.





The winners of the Outstanding Professor Award were:

Davena Burns-Peters
Faculty, Modern Languages

Davena Burns Peters

Associate Professor, Professor, Faculty Advisor, Department Co-Chair, Senator, and
Academic Senate President are all roles Davena Burns-Peters has held during her 10 years
as a Full Time Tenured Faculty member. When Davena joined San Bernardino Valley
College 10 years ago, she hit the ground running and has not stopped since. She joined the
Academic Senate as a Senator within her first year, stepped into the role of the Modern
Languages Faculty Co-Chair and Distance Education Faculty Co-Lead just a few years
later, and has served as the Academic Senate President for the past 3 ½ years. Each of
these roles exemplifies her willingness to go beyond the requirements of the contract and
her desire to contribute to the campus community of San Bernardino Valley College, a
place she calls home.

In the classroom environment, Davena demonstrates a steadfast commitment to
providing effective, inclusive, and culturally relevant instruction in American Sign
Language (ASL). Her classroom, on the ground or online, is about more than the subject
matter. Her classrooms become community spaces where students feel safe, supported,
valued, and empowered. Such space is created through Davena’s authentic, transparent,
and open engagement with her students. Davena is always seeking ways to improve her
instructional approach to meet her students' needs. Her recent earning of the Certificate
in Effective College Instruction from the Association of College and University Educators
(ACUE) is an example of these efforts.

As a Co-Chair of the Modern Languages Department, Davena has fostered an
environment that has engaged the adjunct faculty in all aspects of curriculum and
program planning. As a near-native user of American Sign Language, she has been able
to provide direct communication access for the adjunct faculty who use American Sign
Language, which has led to greater engagement and participation in all aspects of the
department work. Within the content area of American Sign Language, Davena was an
early adopter of Zero Textbook Cost in all levels of her courses. She created and curated
instructional content and materials that she has freely shared with her colleagues. The
modeling and sharing of materials made way for and led to many of the adjunct ASL
faculty also adopt ZTC in their courses.

In her leadership roles of Distance Education Faculty Co-Lead and Academic Senate
President, Davena has provided exemplary leadership in some of the most trying times.
Her leadership in both roles occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required
innovation, informed decision making, and leadership in uncharted territory. In every
space Davena is present, you will find her advocating for faculty on academic and
professional matters, ensuring shared governance is honored, and promoting inclusivity
and diversity in decision-making. She has been a key contributor to the Educational
Master Plan and Student Equity Plan and continues to advocate for coordinated efforts
for successful implementation.

Davena’s commitment to service goes beyond the physical space of San Bernardino
Valley College. She has served the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges
(ASCCC) on the Relations with Local Senates Committee, Accreditation Committee,
Resolution Committee, and more. She recently served on a Peer Review Team with the
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). She represents
San Bernardino Valley College in each of these spaces in a positive manner.

Davena’s contributions as a faculty member in all these spaces and roles exemplify her
dedication to excellence in teaching, leadership, and service. Her tireless efforts to
enhance the academic experience for students and faculty alike make her a deserving
candidate for the award of Outstanding Professor.

Davena Burns Peters



Nori Sogomonian
Faculty, Modern Languages

Nori Sogomonian

Nori is a force in our department. In her committee work she has spearheaded the creation of
multiple classes. As department chair, she is 100% engaged and committed to improving the
services we provide. She is reliable, competent and pleasant (She always has a smile on her face!)

Nori Sogomonian