Graphic withe background of employee headshots with text that reads, "Commitment to Excellence Awards 2023"

April 11, 2023 (Denver, CO) – The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) held its fifth annual Commitment Excellence Awards ceremony today, celebrating 54 employees from across the System for their contributions to the overall success of their college, students, and communities. 

“As open access institutions, our community colleges are committed to serving every learner who walks through our doors no matter their experiences or background,” said CCCS chancellor Joe Garcia. “This mission would not be possible without the incredible teamwork among CCCS faculty, instructors, and staff who put students first in everything they do. I am proud to recognize our Employees of the Year and acknowledge the outstanding efforts of our entire CCCS workforce.” 

The event, hosted at the Hudson Gardens & Event Center, was made possible through sponsorship from the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (Colorado PERA). Colorado PERA has partnered with CCCS to highlight the vital role Colorado’s community colleges and their employees play in the state and supports the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges for the seventh year in a row. 

“I continue to be impressed with the stories I’ve heard of our members making a difference in their communities,” said Patrick von Keyserling, Colorado PERA senior director of communications. “We are thrilled to support the recognition of these deserving honorees who exemplify excellence and service throughout the state.”  

Representing CCCS’s 13 colleges, this year’s cohort demonstrates a wide range of skills and passions. Among many achievements, awardees helped colleges implement learning management systems, secure housing for students, and forge partnerships with community organizations to provide new learning opportunities for students.  

“The best part of my job is interacting with students and watching them grow,” said Cindy Clements, a mathematics faculty member at Trinidad State College. “When students tackle a challenge, like building a robot, there’s a whole lot of learning that happens beyond the classroom.  I enjoy watching them learn how to be part of a team and watching them conquer challenges,” she said.  

Many of the honorees were recognized for their work advocating for historically marginalized populations, including first-generation and LGBTQIA+ students. Paul DeCecco, Director of Military and Veterans Programs for Pikes Peak State College, was named the administrator of year for his efforts to build community among the college’s veteran and active-duty students.  

“When I started at the community college, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to be able to help military members, veterans, and their families in their transition into college and be successful,” said DeCecco, who left miliary service in 2017 . “What I found within the college is a group of highly dedicated and passionate professionals who go above and beyond every day for the students and the community we serve. It is truly humbling to think that this group of professionals selected me to be their APT employee of the year.” 

View the digital program with honoree snapshots here. 


2022 CCCS Commitment Excellence Award Honorees:  

Arapahoe Community College 
Administrator  Danielle Staples  Associate Provost and Dean of Communications, Humanities, Art & Design 
Classified   Cristina Elizondo  Custodial Supervisor 
Faculty   Kelli McCarthy  Mathematics Faculty 
Instructor  Erin Jordheim  Mathematics Instructor 
Colorado Community College System 
Administrator  Jonathan Grant  IT Systems Administrator 
Classified   Makenna Becker   Administrative Assistant III 
Colorado Northwestern Community College 
Administrator  Meghan Davis  Dean of Career & Technical Education 
Classified   Brad Wollman  General Labor 
Faculty   Jessica Kruger   Psychology, Sociology Instructor  
Instructor  Tona Ogden  Cosmetology Instructor 
Community College of Aurora 
Administrator  Sydney Pedregon  Director of Student Life 
Classified   Stephanie Agner  Administrative Assistant III 
Faculty   Candace McClelland-Fieler  English Faculty 
Instructor  Eed Cefkin  Community ESL Instructor 
Community College of Denver 
Administrator  Jane Binns  Learning Management System Coordinator 
Classified   Steven Mai  Accounting Technician  
Faculty   Aaron Adams  Geology Faculty 
Instructor  Chuck Roy  Business and Theatre/ Performing Arts Instructor 
Front Range Community College 
Administrator  Hannah Brown  Director of Admissions & Outreach 
Classified   Kara Rudnick  Program Assistant 
Faculty   Chris McGilvray  Business Faculty 
Instructor  Christy Cummings  Psychology Instructor 
Lamar Community College 
Administrator  Anne-Marie Crampton  Director of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Director 
Classified   David Martinez   General Labor 1 
Faculty   Joe Shields   Business Faculty 
Instructor  Deborah Elam  English Instructor 
Morgan Community College 
Administrator  Jane Fries  Assistant to the President 
Classified   Tammy England   Custodian I 
Faculty   George O’Clair  Electromechanical Technology Faculty 
Instructor  Alyse Campbell  History Instructor 
Northeastern Junior College 
Administrator  Kade Roelle  Academic Technology Coordinator 
Classified   Andrea Wasson  Administrative Assistant, Student Success 
Faculty   Mike Anderson  Agriculture Department Chair 
Instructor  JoAnn Gilliland  Accounting Instructor 
Otero College 
Administrator  Tim Kelley  Webmaster/Portal Administrator
Classified   Kurt Paugh  Custodian III 
Faculty   Brooke Matthew  Agriculture Science Faculty 
Instructor  Fred Boettcher  Western Civilization and US History Instructor 
Pikes Peak State College 
Administrator  Paul DeCecco  Director of Military and Veterans Programs and Instructor 


Classified   Jordan Burks  Administrative Assistant II 
Faculty   Katie Wheeler  Assistant Professor of Communication 
Instructor  Heather Byrne  Instructor 
Pueblo Community College 
Administrator  Alejandra de Anda  Manager of Operations, Pueblo Corporate College 
Classified   Kari Monack  Program Assistant I  
Faculty   Johanna Parkhurst  English Instructor
Instructor  Tim Brotherton  Early Childhood Education and Political Science Instructor 
Red Rocks Community College 
Administrator  Patricia Bolton  Director, Child Care Innovations 
Classified   Frank Barnes  Structural Trades I 
Faculty   Brandon English  Chemistry Instructor 
Trinidad State College 
Administrator  Laura Gowen  Perkins Assistant 
Classified   Leslie Hollingsworth  Financial Aid Advisor 
Faculty   Cindy Clements  Mathematics Faculty 
Instructor  Tate Kindschuh  Law Enforcement Training Academy Director 




About the Colorado Community College System  

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 115,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 35 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college. 

About Colorado PERA 

Colorado PERA provides retirement and other benefits to more than 620,000 current and former teachers, State Troopers, corrections officers, snow plow drivers, and other public employees who provide valuable service to all of Colorado. PERA is a vital and stable contributor to Colorado’s economy, distributing more than $4.2 billion in 2020 to more than 105,000 retirees who live in Colorado.