Outstanding Faculty 2017-18

Most Outstanding Faculty 2017-18

  • Mathew Shimazu - CHEMISTRY
Matthew grew up always enjoying science. “My mother would always relate everything to science, especially chemistry that instilled love for science!” Then, when he took his first college chemistry class, he knew this is what he wanted to study.
Matthew came to teach part time at Cerritos College in 2015 after receiving his Master’s Degree in Chemistry at California State University, Long Beach. “When I started teaching, I felt like I won the lottery; I knew that this is what I was meant to do!” He loves teaching chemistry to his students!
He especially enjoyed collaborating with the chemistry faculty to integrate technology into the chem lab so students see chemistry work in real time. He is forever indebted to the Cerritos College Chemistry Department faculty.
They have been his mentors these past three years. Matthew is married to his wonderful wife of ten years, Louise, and has a wonderful 16-month-old son, Asher. He and his family enjoy traveling around the world. Matthew and his wife are active Christians and work with a youth group in their church.
  • April Griffin - SPEECH
April is a faculty member in the speech department at Cerritos College. In addition to teaching courses within the speech department, she serves as the co-director of Cerritos College’s forensics (speech and debate) team, which recently traveled to China and Canada for international competition. Beyond her work in the Speech Department, Dr. Griffin currently serves as Secretary on
Academic Senate and is the Cerritos College coordinator for San FACC. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Organization Communication from Point Loma
Nazarene University, a Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication from
Pepperdine University, and, most recently, a Doctorate in Educational Leadership
from California State University, Fullerton. In her spare time, Dr. Griffin enjoys spending quality time with friends and family in the Orange County and Los Angeles areas. She and her fiancé are members of the Huntington Library, are Disneyland annual passport holders, and are always on the lookout for new
dining recommendations in the area.
  • Kamal Damian - MATHEMATICS
Professor Demian has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, Communication Section from Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, and a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach.
He used to work in the industry as a CAD Engineer and a Printed Circuit Board
Designer. Professor Demian started working at Cerritos College as a full time Mathematics and Engineering instructor in 1997. Professor Demian teaches classes from college algebra to calculus; in addition to these courses, he has taught statics, electric circuit analysis, and graphing design for engineers courses at Cerritos College. Professor Demian is the coauthor of the College Algebra with Graphing Technology textbook, published by McGraw Hill.
  • Debra Johnson - ACCOUNTING/FINANCE
Debbie is completing her 29th year of teaching accounting courses at Cerritos College. She believes she has one of the best jobs in the world, because she works at an institution she loves, with colleagues that inspire and motivate
her and, most importantly, with students that she cherishes. She teaches with a servant’s heart. Debbie is in the middle of three generations of business instructors at the
college. Her mother, Betsy Stewart, taught business communications classes
prior to her retirement. Her daughter, Stacey Smith, teaches economics classes
at Cerritos and Coastline. Her husband, Dr. Adolph Johnson, served Cerritos College students for 29 years prior to his retirement.
A graduate of California State University at Fullerton, and a licensed Certified
Public Accountant, she enjoys bringing accounting to life by incorporating
current news and technology into every classroom. Prior to teaching at Cerritos,
she worked at a Big Four firm which provided invaluable experience working with large international companies in a variety of industries. Debbie is well known as an “early bird” who is often found chatting and working
with students hours before her class starts. It’s in these one-on-one experiences that she finds her passion for helping students succeed in their chosen fields. She keeps in contact with many students long after they leave Cerritos College for bigger and better academic pursuits. She is thankful and blessed that she
could have some small place in many academic journeys.
  • Carlos was born in Los Angeles, California, but moved to Ecuador when he was 1½ years old and did not return to the United States until he was 21.
The first obstacle he faced upon his return was the language barrier, which led him to enroll in ESL classes at Cerritos College. Carlos also picked up math and physics courses, as his goal was to earn a degree in electrical engineering and work for an aerospace company.
Carlos received his degree in engineering and worked as an electrical engineer for ten years, but he kept remembering the physics classes he had taken at Cerritos College. They fascinated him, and that interest hadn’t waned. So, he decided to return to school to pursue a graduate degree in physics.
Carlos returned to Cerritos College to work as the Physics Department lab technician in 1998. During his 18 years as a classified employee, Carlos was given the opportunity to teach physics as an adjunct faculty member. In 2015 a full-time teaching position became available in the physics department and Carlos was finally able to achieve his dream of becoming a full-time physics instructor.
Carlos’ office is always filled with students. Whether he is in office hours or not, students seek him out and he always finds time to help them. Students come to ask questions about the classes, to visit, and to ask for advice. Often, students come back to ask for help with material from classes that they are taking at their four year institutions. He stays in contact with his students after they have transferred, either by email or phone. He truly cares about them and they know it.
As a physics instructor, Carlos has not only worked hard to provide students with the best physics education possible, but he has also helped to provide students with opportunities beyond classes. Carlos is a club advisor for both the Robotics and STEM clubs, and this year he received recognition from
ASCC for his work in this capacity. Carlos works closely with his department chair in the California Space Grant Consortium Program to provide students with education in Arduino. Students get to work on projects using Arduino and then visit a NASA partner facility and present their project to engineers and scientists. He is also a great advocate for the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program, which allows students to visit NASA partner facilities and join other community college students for education, networking, and cooperative competition.
Carlos goes above and beyond in teaching, helping, mentoring, and advocating. He has achieved his dream and now helps students achieve theirs.
Steve was born in Topeka, Kansas. His father was an officer in the Air Force, so he lived throughout the United States and Puerto Rico before settling in Southern California. He began his college education at the University of Southern California where he neglected to study or attend class. He transferred
to Cerritos College where he was placed on academic probation. Fortunately, Professor Bob Allen became his mentor and refocused his academic efforts. He received his AA Degree in 1966 and transferred to California State University, Long Beach. He returned to the University of Southern California in 1967, where he received his BS Degree in Business Administration and an MBA Degree. He
subsequently received an MS Taxation Degree from Golden Gate University and completed the UCI Executive Program.
Steve started his business career in public accounting and went on to be the
Chief Financial Officer of several public companies, including Varco International,
Viking Office Products, and Scantron Corporation. In 1970 he began teaching
part-time at Cerritos. After retiring from the corporate world, he also taught at
Orange Coast College and Coastline College.
Steve is a Certified Public Accountant and a lifetime member of Alpha Gamma Sigma National Honor Society. Steve and his wife, Judy, have four adult children and ten grandchildren. They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in July. In 2017, they
established the Steve and Judy Kroll endowment, which provides scholarships
for single mothers at Cerritos College majoring in business administration and accounting.
  • Dara Worrel - MATHEMATICS
Dara is the product of local schools, having graduated from Mayfair High School and earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from California State University, Long Beach.
Dara always knew she wanted to teach math. The unknown was whether she would teach high school or college. She was able to see the difference between teaching college versus high school when she taught as a graduate student at Long Beach State and taught full-time at the Jordan High School Freshman
Academy in Long Beach. She made a calculated decision to seek a full time
position at the college level. After working as an adjunct at a finite number of colleges, including Cerritos College, Dara was hired to integrate into the Cerritos College full-time faculty in 2004. Dara loves to impart her math knowledge to students. She feels she is an integral part of the Mathematics Department, as department co-chair and coordinator of the Math Learning Center.
Dara met her husband, Kevin, while they both worked at Disneyland. They have two children, eight-year old Alex and six-year old Lily. When not working, she spends her time at Little League baseball games and Girl Scout meetings. Oh, and Dara likes Pi.
  • Jason Foral - WELDING
Jason was born in Huntington Beach, California, and raised until the age of six
in New Zealand. When returning to the United States, his family settled in Lakewood. Upon graduation, he began attending college focusing on welding and art courses.
Before completing degree work, an opportunity arose to join the International Union of Operating Engineers - Local 12 as a combination welder/mechanic where he worked on heavy earth moving equipment for seven years. He then accepted a position at California State University, Long Beach, with Facilities Management as the operating supervisor for the Metal Fabrication Shop for
ten years.
While working at Cal State Long Beach, he decided to return to college to complete degree work and advance his welding skills. Research for a top welding program led him to enroll at Cerritos College in 2005. He was hired
by the Cerritos College Welding Department as an adjunct faculty member in 2010, and as a full-time faculty member in 2015. He has served as the department chair for the past three years. He is currently working on an additional degree program in Workforce Education Development. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the beautiful Southern
California mountains and deserts in his Jeep along with friends and his dog “Anchovy” and is working on restoring an antique fishing boat.
certifications, and most importantly student success.
  • Anthony Fortner - WOODWORKING
Tony started making furniture in high school and hasn’t stopped. After graduating from California State University, Long Beach, with a film degree, he developed his skills working at several prestigious woodshops where he
handcrafted doors, windows, furniture and cabinetry that were inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement. This led to being selected to recreate furniture and millwork for the Greene and Greene museum at the Huntington Library in San Marino, where his work is on permanent display. Over the years, Tony has been repeatedly asked by over a dozen churches and historic California missions to either restore, recreate, or produce original pieces.
This includes the altar and ambo at Old Misson San Gabriel, where he was married 32 years ago and his parents were married 60 years ago. Tony loves teaching as much as he loves woodworking and because he is highly
regarded in the woodworking community throughout the country, he has been
able to secure jobs for many of his students. He has mentored over ten woodshop
teachers, which goes to show that sharing his knowledge is valuable to Tony, and his unabashed enthusiasm for woodworking fosters a palpable sense of community within his classroom. Tony and his wife Rita have two kids who both live in New York. The Fortner
Family lives in South Pasadena in a 1911 California bungalow, which has been
lovingly restored by family friends. Tony’s generosity in consistently helping others inspires those around him who in turn give back to their own community.
  • Dr. Chace Tydell - BIOLOGY
Chace has loved teaching anatomy, physiology and biology at Cerritos College
since 2010. Raised in Oceanside, California, Chace earned a veterinary degree from University of California, Davis, and practiced pet medicine for 15 years. She accepted a post-doctoral post in the University of California, Irvine, medical school to pursue her interest in the role of the immune system in
health and disease and she discovered a novel bacteria-killing protein. On the strength of this discovery, Dr. Tydell was awarded an NIH grant for research she pursued at the California Institute of Technology. She began teaching anatomy and physiology in 2007 and feels she has found her home among the
amazing students of Cerritos College. As Pre-Health Advisor, Dr. Tydell is intent
on maximizing the success of our students. She leads two Advanced Biology
Seminars each semester. Her Strange Biology seminar has studied animals that can photosynthesize and some that can dehydrate entirely for decades and come back to life!
  • Michael Farina - ACCOUNTING/FINANCE
Professor Farina was born and raised locally, and is a proud graduate of Cerritos College. After graduating from California State University, Fullerton, he joined the international CPA firm of Ernst & Young in their audit department. His tenure with Ernst & Young included international assignments in the Middle East and Asia. Professor Farina left Ernst & Young after seven years, and served
as CFO of a publicly-traded software company and director of internal audit for a large distribution company before returning to school and earning an MBA from UC Irvine.
He served as co-chair of his department for over 20 years, and as a member of
the CCFF Executive Board for four years. During his 26-year tenure at Cerritos, he
has taught ten different courses, and originated the highly-popular QuickBooks and Retirement Planning and Investing courses. Professor Farina enjoys spending time with his family, sports, and wine tasting. He considers his return to Cerritos College as a great blessing in his life.

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