2007 Hayward Award Winners
Area A: Frank Nigro of Shasta College
Professor Frank Nigro's philosophical statement recalls his mother's improbable sense of belonging at Cabrillo College when he was a child. She was a first-generation college student who by the time she completed her A.A. had five children and yet went on to earn her B.A., M.A. and have a successful teaching career in English. This is the foundational story of Frank Nigro's relationship with education. Having worked his own way through college, he believes that the task of teaching is to provide tools and to help students realize that attitude is half the battle. He is fond of quoting novelist George Eliot who once said, Nothing is intrinsically boring. Professor Nigro's teaching background reveals many efforts in support of students. For years he worked with Shasta's international students, founding an International Club and founding a program that matches international students with faculty parents. He also wrote a grant which funded student fieldtrips throughout the north state. His Distinguished Authors Series brought many prestigious writers to the college, and he co-founded the popular International Film Series. Professor Nigro is a campus leader in distance education and served as a Title III director who oversaw the retrofitting of nearly forty classrooms with instructional equipment. For these and his many other contributions, the Student Senate awarded him with an Anti-Apathy Award. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Excellent Educator Award at Shasta College. In recognition of his determined effort to create a sense of belonging for all students, Professor Frank Nigro is richly deserving of the Hayward Award for excellence in education.
Area B: Radica O. Portello of the College of Marin
To say that Professor Radica O. Portello is a Spanish teacher is like describing Albert Einstein as a Patent Office clerk. The range of Professor Portello's commitment to her students, college, and profession extends well beyond the grammar and recitation of language to foster in students an appreciation of the cultural diversity and languages of a global community. Through her efforts, Professor Portello enriches the life of her campus and its surrounding residents. Among her numerous accomplishments is the founding of the Spanish Club, a Spanish film club, coordination of a cultural event with all language classes marking the International Year of Languages, the establishment of language exchanges between Spanish and ESL students, and the initiation of a successful study-abroad summer program for Modern Languages students. In addition to such professional service as membership in her local senate and curriculum committee, and participation in accreditation, to name but a few, Professor Portello is a volunteer for a regional Latino Film Festival, a volunteer interpreter for a free health services clinic, and a mentor for the Latino Educational & Cultural Fund. While Radica O. Portello has received such honors and awards as the 2005 Golden Bell for Outstanding Teaching and now, the Hayward Award, it is obvious that her most valued award is the local appreciation for cultural diversity that her efforts have helped to inspire.
Area C: John Kay of Santa Barbara City College
A Fulbright Scholar with numerous teaching awards, Professor John Kay's distinguished career spans the panoply of academic service. His early participation in a program designed to increase the success of low achieving students, his advising roles for a number of student organizations - including Amnesty International and Model United Nations - and his outstanding dedication to student learning and retention have resulted in his selection as a Faculty Lecturer, the highest honor for a faculty member at his campus. Professor Kay's broader service includes a mayoral appointment to chair the city Task Force on Charter Reform and a Governor's appointment to the California State Commission charged with the study of county issues. Professor Kay has also served twenty-seven years on the Personnel Commission for the County Education Office where he is known as a tireless protector of school employee rights. Professor Kay's leadership in implementing the mandates of AB1725, his help in founding the local Instructors' Association, and his leadership in various statewide groups, including the California Community College Association Committee on Legislation, has earned him a reputation as the conscience of the faculty. Though extraordinarily active in many areas, Professor Kay's teaching philosophy is that students should slow down, suspend judgment and be open to the world. For his service and dedication to students and the teaching profession, we are pleased to honor John Kay with the Hayward Award for excellence in education.
Area D: Irini Vallera-Rickerson of Orange Coast College
Professor Irini Vallera-Rickerson has received numerous local and national awards for teaching excellence, including Faculty Member of the Year and County Community College Teacher of the Year. Her local service includes advising for such student organizations as the Muslim Club and Amnesty International. Consistent with her workshops, lectures and presentations that enhance the educational, cultural and social experience of students, Professor Vallera-Rickerson created a successful campus-wide fund raising effort for victims of Hurricane Katrina. For the past sixteen years, she has worked with students and colleagues to raise tens of thousands of dollars, annually, to provide Christmas gifts for rehabilitation shelters. At the center of her professional life is the belief that Everything is interrelated, and her incessant effort to prepare students for active, constructive participation in a democratic society is reflective of that belief. By the breadth and depth of her scholarship and her long and distinguished record of public service, Irini Vallera-Rickerson provides an excellent example for her students and, therefore, we are happy to honor her as a recipient of the Hayward Award for excellence in education.