Exceptional Classified Employee Awards

Connor Cantrell and Jeff Kaliner

Two outstanding employees were recognized with Exceptional Classified Employee awards at the 2020 Opening Day event.

The annual event, held online this year due to COVID-19, is always held the week before fall term classes begin as a way to help employees get ready for the coming academic year.

This year’s recipients were Library Paraprofessional Connor Cantrell and Emergency Program Manager Jeff Kaliner.

Connor Cantrell, Library Paraprofessional 4

Connor Cantrell
Connor Cantrell. Photo courtesy of Connor Cantrell

Connor Cantrell has worked as a Library Paraprofessional in Cannell Library for almost two years.

When the college shifted to remote operations, Cantrell established new interlibrary loan (ILL) processes to accommodate the need to work from home. She used her organizational skills to ensure all necessary staff had access to digital paperwork when needed and worked with each employee to make sure they had adequate support and the essential tools to perform their work during remote operations.  

Other observations from nominators include:

  • “Connor has helped the library become a welcoming and inclusive place by making improvements to services, procedures, and processes. The training Connor has done with employees has helped them use equity-based critical thinking when responding to complaints and/or observing biased based incidents.” 
  • “Connor has shown outstanding customer service by listening to library patrons and adjusting normal procedures as needed to ensure each patron has the support to succeed. She worked with students to make sure they could register when they had fines and extended due dates when they required items longer for assignments. “
  • “Connor’s dedication to ensuring our students have the best Clark College experience is one of the things that makes her a remarkable asset to the library. She listens to students when they are upset, confused, angry, and defeated and ensures that students are connected to needed resources.”  

Jeffrey Kaliner, Emergency Program Manager

Jeff Kaliner
Jeff Kaliner. Photo courtesy of Jeff Kaliner

Jeff Kaliner joined Clark College as its Emergency Program Manager in 2018. While his position part of Security and Safety, Kaliner’s work is felt across the college community. Former Interim President Sandra Fowler-Hill wrote, “Jeff performed exemplary in managing several crises confronting the college last year. I was very impressed as I saw him quickly rise to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis. All of his experience and skills were an asset in managing the college community safely through the crisis and onto recovery.”

Other observations made by Kaliner’s nominators include:

  • “Without Kaliner’s guidance and planning, Clark College would have struggled to maintain business operations during COVID-19 while adhering to the Governor’s Directives.”
  • “Kaliner’s relationships with the Clark County Public Health Department and Clark County Emergency Management have led to a coordinated response to the pandemic.”
  • “Kaliner kept the college informed regularly on the challenges as well as the progress the Incident Management Team was making concerning quickly changing directives and facts about the coronavirus.”
  • “Kaliner revised the college’s Emergency Operations Plan, which was approved by Executive Cabinet in February of 2020.”

About the Exceptional Classified Employee Award

Established in 1997, this annual award recognizes two classified staff who have demonstrated exemplary work performance, outstanding service to the college, a positive and cooperative spirit, and special achievements or contributions to the college community. (Classified staff is a category of Washington State employees; the majority of non-faculty employees at Clark College are classified.) To be eligible for the award, an employee must have been nominated for the quarterly Classified Staff Excellence Award in the past academic year. Award recipients are presented with certificates and, thanks to the generous support of the Clark College Foundation, cash awards during public recognition ceremonies each year.

The other finalists for the 2019-2020 awards were:

  • Rick Bartz, IT Support Technician 2, Information Technology Services 
  • Lameleanique (Meleani) Bates, Program Manager A, Career Services
  • Emily Castle, Secretary Supervisor, Transitional Studies Division  
  • Chris Chaffin, Program Coordinator, Student Tutoring Services 
  • John Condit, Media Technician Lead, Event Services 
  • Dan Ellertson, Retail Clerk Lead, Bookstore 
  • Margaret (Peg) Estes, Program Specialist 3, Credential Evaluations 
  • Neil Fykerud, Program Specialist 2, Transitional Studies Division 
  • Kate Ireland, Program Specialist 2, Teaching & Learning Center 
  • ITS GROUP NOMINATION, which includes: 
    • Darin Rathbone, IT Customer Support – Journey 
    • Brian Riechman, IT Customer Support – Journey 
    • Vadim Boligar, IT Customer Support – Journey 
    • Lucy Shao, IT Customer Support – Journey 
    • Jim Meek, IT Customer Support – Journey 
    • Joyce Ho, IT Customer Support – Journey 
    • Dennis Davis, Entry – IT Customer Support 
    • Foster Nostrand, Senior/Specialist – IT Admin 
    • David Sims, IT Support Technician 2 
    • Brandon Johnson, IT Support Technician 2 
  • Brandon Johnson, IT Support Technician 2, Information Technology Services 
  • Charla Kimball, Fiscal Technician Supervisor, Accounting Services 
  • Silvia Marinova, Program Specialist 2, Transitional Studies Division 
  • Mira Olenin, Program Specialist 2, Financial Aid 
  • Cathy Reynolds, Fiscal Analyst 3, Office of Instruction 
  • Thao Schmidt, Human Resources Consultant 3, Human Resources 
  • Brenda Shular, Procurement & Supply Specialist 2, Purchasing and Central Services 
  • Mike Silva, IT Support Technician 2, Information Technology Services 
  • Mitch Sott, Engineering Technician 3, Workforce, Professional, & Technical Education 
  • Jenny Stone, Program Coordinator, e-Learning 
  • Bryton Williams, Administrative Assistant 3, Business & Health Services