Cerro Coso Community College

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation consists of 11 members, 8 of whom serve three-year terms. Permanent members of the board are the President of the College, the College Development Director, and the member of the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees which represents Cerro Coso.

Board Members

Foundation Staff

Meet Our Members

Dr. Sean Hancock, President of CCCC

Dr. Sean C. Hancock joined Cerro Coso Community College as president in September of 2020.

He brought extensive experience in higher education administration, instruction, and student learning support services that will ensure Cerro Coso Community College’s continued emphasis on improved student outcomes, building on the outstanding leadership of his predecessor, President Jill Board,” Burke says. “Additionally, Dr. Hancock will have a keen focus on navigating through the current Covid-19 crisis with a long-term vision for transitioning to a more stable environment in the future.

Previously Dr. Hancock served as Vice Chancellor for Student and Institutional Success at Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District in El Cajon. His primary responsibilities included providing vision and leadership for the district-wide academic and student services, community and workforce development, integrated strategic planning, institutional research, and information technologies. He has more than 20 years of experience in community college administration and leadership in California.

He earned an Associate’s Degree from College of the Sequoias in Visalia, a Bachelor’s in Management and Organization Development from Fresno Pacific University, an MBA from TUI University in Cypress, and holds an Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership with emphasis in Higher Education/Community Colleges from University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Dr. Hancock is a strong and innovative leader who can build a successful future for Cerro Coso Community College by working with the Kern Community College District to achieve the vision set forth for student success.

Dr. Sean Hancock

Jack Connell, KCCD Board of Trustee

Mr. Connell represents the Area II (Cerro Coso Communty College) service area and was elected in November 2018. Area II spans across eastern Kern County, and includes Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties.

He is a retired Naval Officer having served at sea in carrier-based combat operations, and led a flight test team in early development of the F-18 fighter aircraft.

He brings to Kern Community College District broad community service experience serving as a director of the China Lake Alliance, South Fork Union School District, Kern Valley Resource Conservation District, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, and Kern County Grazing Advisory Board.

Mr. Connell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from University of Texas at Arlington and a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey.

Natalie Dorrell, Director of Public Relations and Institutional Advancement at CCCC

The Office of Public Relations and Institutional Advancement seeks to advance public understanding, build and strengthen lifelong relationships, and enhance philanthropy in support of Cerro Coso Community College. Natalie started her career at Cerro Coso 1982 in the Office of Information, Development, and Alumni Relations. She spent 7 years as the Coordinator of the department before moving into the position of Bookstore Manager where she spent 15 years running the college bookstore. She returned to her roots in college public relations in 2011. Dorrell holds both an Associate Degree and Certificate of Completion in Business Administration from Cerro Coso Community College, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of La Verne. She is also a graduate of the Kern Community College District Leadership Academy and the Asilomar Women's Leadership Program for women in California Community Colleges.

"I love working in education. You don't work in the same place for 36 years if you don't love it! I believe in our mission to provide a better understanding and knowledge base that can lead to better futures for all who come here. It not only benefits the individual and communities we serve, but society as a whole."

Natalie Dorrell
Derrick Hu

Derrick Hu, CCCC Foundation President

Derrick Hu is the Deputy Director for the Office of Small Business Programs, Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWCWD). He was born and raised in Honolulu, HI.

Derrick is a veteran of the US Air Force serving in the logistics career field.

He is a graduate of Musician's Institute of Technology (MI) in Hollywood, CA. Derrick has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Master's Degree in Administration from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB).

He was hired as an intern for the Navy Acquisition Intern Program (Outstanding Scholars Program) supporting the NAWCWD Contracts Competency and has experience in "cradle to grave" contracting and supporting many of the DoD's Electronic Acquisition Initiatives. Derrick has been a resident of Ridgecrest, CA since 1994. He is married to Teresa (O'Neil) and has two adult children (twins). Derrick enjoys travelling and spending time with his family. He has a passion for music and loves playing and collecting (left-handed) guitars. Derrick is the lead guitarist for recording artist Andrew Ryan and supports other local musicians.

Volunteer Experience:

  • Chair, DoD Western Regional Council for Small Business Advocacy and Education
  • Voting Board Member of the SSUSD Special Education Community Advisory Committee
  • Club President (and various officer positions), Ridgecrest Possibilitarians Toastmaster Club
  • Executive Board Member, China Lake/Ridgecrest Chapter of the National Contracts Management Association (NCMA)
  • Advisory Committee Member, Leadership Ridgecrest Inaugural Program

Kara Tolbert, CCCC Foundation President Elect

Kara Tolbert is an educator, community development advocate, and founder of two local non-profit organizations. Her experience and knowledge working with industry leaders, local employers, and community members to build customized training solutions and professional/personal development programs make her a valuable asset to the CCCC Foundation.

A strong supporter of education Kara served as the Campus Manager for Contract and Community Education at the college for several years before returning to the K-12 system to teach English. Her passion remains with education, youth development, and community service.

She is a strong education professional with a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Secondary Teaching Credential-English focused in Secondary Education and Teaching from Brandman University. She remains very active in local community youth programs in dance, cheer, and gymnastics.

Kara and her husband Justin reside in Ridgecrest and have two daughters Autumn and Emma.

Kara Tolbert
Cameron Bruce

Cameron Bruce, CCCC Foundation Treasurer

Cameron Bruce is a registered professional engineer in private practice after retiring from 35 years in federal service.

Cameron held a series of positions in engineering and management which led him to a rich and rewarding career in research, design and testing of science and technology demonstrations.

"I am forever grateful for the solid foundation I received at Cerro Coso. I was enabled to complete my upper division engineering work at San Diego State University followed by Graduate degrees at CSU Bakersfield & California Lutheran University. It is gratifying to observe that Cerro Coso still has first class faculty to provide great starts for transfer students in all fields as well as specific vocational programs which provide successful careers for students, and top notch employees to meet the needs of local industry."

Alexia Svedja, CCCC Foundation Past President

Alexia Svedja is a native Idahoan that has called the Antelope Valley home since 1999. She is currently the president and executive director of the California City Chamber of Commerce and president elect of the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation board.

Alexia holds a bachelors in German from Utah State University, a masters in Bilingual-Bicultural Studies from the University of Texas, San Antonio, and a certificate of Nonprofit Management from Duke University.

Alexia started her career teaching English at the Defense Language Institute. She continued in the education field as a teacher trainer for the states of Texas and Colorado and as the director of an adult literacy program. Many moves, due to her spouse's career, resulted in an eclectic resume. While Alexia never quite left teaching, she made the change over to nonprofit management and consulting. She specializes in rebuilding struggling organizations and establishing new nonprofits. In her current position she is passionate about bring positive change to her local community and area.

Alexia also taught and rewrote the curriculum for Adult English as a Foreign Language classes at Cerro Coso.

Alexia Svedja

Genesis Johnson

Genesis Johnson is a Cerro Coso Community College graduate (Class of 1999) who joined the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation Board of Directors in June 2019.

She currently serves as a U.S. Navy civilian at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA and has over a decade of experience managing international projects and building partnerships for the USN and DoD. Born and raised in Ridgecrest, CA and a fourth-generation China Lake employee, Genesis earned a B.A. in International Relations with a Minor in Political Science from California State University, Chico and went on to earn an M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College in Illinois while concurrently working as an English Instructor at a medical college in China.

She and her husband, Phil, live in Ridgecrest and love spending time with their family and friends.

“I have been extremely blessed to have experienced such rich and diverse educational opportunities including my time as a student at Cerro Coso Community College. The talented and caring faculty and staff encouraged and inspired me to pursue my dreams and I’m honored to be supporting the Foundation’s continued commitment to access, success, and excellence.”

Genesis Johnson
Deidre Patin

Deidre Patin

Deidre Patin has been a member of the Cerro Coso College Foundation Board since 2015, and served as Foundation Board President for two years. She is an active volunteer at Saint Ann's school and also serves on the Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

An alumni of Cerro Coso Community College, Deidre went on to earn her Bachelor's degree in Business in 2006.

In her full-time career with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Deidre serves as a Public Affairs Specialist and the NAWCWD community liaison.

Both natives to the valley, Deidre met her husband Jason while attending Burroughs High School. They moved away for several years, returning in 2003 to their home-town of Ridgecrest. Deidre and Jason have four children, two adult sons and two young daughters ages 8 and 6. They also have a beautiful grand-daughter and two more on the way.

Kimberly Wade

Kimberly Wade joined the Foundation Board in September 2020. She currently serves as a U.S. Navy civilian at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake. Prior to this work, Kimberly worked as a medical biller, office manager, customer service representative…and a whole host of other jobs! Kimberly moved to the valley in 2008 and is excited to be supporting the Foundation as they execute their mission to all who call this beautiful area home.

Education and continued learning are a passion of Kimberly’s and shows up in her life everywhere. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from SNHU with a BS in Organization and Project Management. This degree means so much because it was 20 years of dedication that enabled her to complete it. Kimberly is a proud Army veteran and married her husband, Greg, and had her son, Byron while she was active duty. After her separation from the Army, she supported her husband’s career as a soldier and had her daughter, Chase. Through countless deployments and changes of duty stations, Kimberly would take classes whenever she could to continue her education. She understands what it means to be a non-traditional college student and wants to encourage others like her to chase their dreams of a college degree. At work, she continues to support continued education by providing training to team members, developing training based on gaps, and using the resources available to recommend additional training for everyone.

In her spare time, Kimberly can usually be found reading a book, listening to a podcast while crocheting, or making a mess in the kitchen as she attempts to make the perfect cake. She also enjoys sitting back with her husband and watching their children (now 20 and 17, respectively) pursuing their goals. Byron is serving in the U.S. Army as Combat Medic with the infamous 82nd Airborne Division and Chase is a Senior at Burroughs High School.

Kimberly Wade

Foundation Staff

Lauren Falk

Lauren Falk, Program Manager for Foundation & Institutional Advancement

Email: lauren.falk@cerrocoso.edu
Phone: (760) 384-6145

Lauren joined the staff in April 2018 as the Program Manager for Foundation & Institutional Advancement at Cerro Coso. She serves as the primary liaison between the Foundation and the College, working tirelessly to improve access to affordable, quality higher education for the residents of Kern County. Lauren recently relocated to California from Washington, DC, and brings with her 7+ years of professional experience in public policy and government relations.

She originally hails from Baltimore, MD, and has a bachelor's degree in political science from La Salle University (Philadelphia, PA) and a master's degree in public policy from American University (Washington, DC). In her free time she enjoys exercising and staying active, taking day trips to the beach, playing with her lovable beagle Fiona, and keeping in touch with friends and family back east.

Amber Reed

Amber Reed, Department Assistant II

Email: amber.reed@cerrocoso.edu
Phone: (760) 384-6262

Amber Reed is the assistant of the Public Information Office and its director of Public Relations and Institutional Advancement, Natalie Dorrell. Her bubbly and cheerful attitude are a welcome addition to the department. Creative by nature, Amber loves to draw, color, and paint. Her favorite medium is digital art. She primarily draws on the computer using a Wacom tablet to create art and uses photoshop to manipulate her work. Amber was born and raised in Ridgecrest and is a proud alumna of Cerro Coso Community College, having been part of the graduating class of 2013. She believes in living life by the golden rule… treat others as you would like to be treated.