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Today in
S.C.V. History
January 19
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
Kirk vs. Gorn commander

Two College of the Canyons leaders were honored by Santa Clarita Valley International School (SCVi) /iLEAD Schools at their recent “Vision in Education” benefit dinner.

College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook was presented with the 2018 Vision in Education Award, while Wendy Ruiz, faculty member at the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Center at COC, and her family were awarded the Founders Family Vision Award at the recent event.

“I am so honored to have been selected as the recipient of this year’s Vision in Education Award,” said Dr. Van Hook. “It is an immense privilege to work to meet the needs of the Santa Clarita Valley as College of the Canyons Chancellor.”

The award is given to community leaders who have made significant contributions to public education and have demonstrated dedication and vision toward increasing educational opportunities.

Effective July 1st, Dr. Van Hook will have served as the CEO of the Santa Clarita Community College District for 30 years, making her the current longest serving community college CEO in California. Her career at COC has been distinguished by her strategic, innovative leadership that has expanded access to higher education in Santa Clarita, and created unique opportunities for students to reach their full potential.

Dr. Van Hook’s results-oriented leadership has also translated into strengthened community ties, collaborative business partnerships, and the development of more opportunities for students of all ages. Never satisfied with the status quo, she is always looking toward the college’s future for ways to stay ahead of the curve.

The college passed three bond measures in 15 years totaling $480 million that enabled the growth of facilities and programs to accommodate its growing student population. The college served fewer than 5,000 students when Dr. Van Hook arrived, and today enrolls more than 32,000 each year. Accordingly, COC has increased facilities square footage more than four-fold under Dr. Van Hook’s leadership, from 199,000 square feet on one campus to 881,855 on campuses in Valencia and Canyon Country. The new classrooms, labs, and other spaces allowed the college to not only serve more students, but also offer a variety of new academic programs such as automotive technology, culinary arts, and medical lab technician.

Ensuring that any student who desires education has an opportunity to enroll, Dr. Van Hook has focused her efforts on reducing one of the most common barriers students face – the cost of college. She championed the adoption of open educational resources, learning materials designed to be freely shared as an alternative to traditional commercial textbooks. Their adoption at College of the Canyons saves students more than $3.5 million in textbook costs each year.

And, in a continued effort to reduce college costs, College of the Canyons launched the First Year Promise (FYP) program earlier this year to provide increased opportunities for new full-time college students to achieve their educational goals.

The addition of the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, named in her honor, in 2009 has enabled more than 3,000 students to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from partnering universities while attending classes in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“College of the Canyons and Dr. Dianne Van Hook are just leaders in innovation,” said Amber Raskin, founder and executive director of iLEAD Schools. “They follow the latest trends and really think far ahead about what’s needed in education, schooling and training. SCVi has the same mission.”

The Family Vision Award honors an SCVi family who has demonstrated a deep commitment to the philosophy of SCVi and iLEAD schools and who has influenced its growth of culture, community and educational vision.

“My family is truly honored to have been given this award,” said Ruiz. “SCVi has been a major part of our lives and I feel so privileged to have been involved with the school from the beginning.”

SCVi Benefit DinnerThe Ruiz Family has been involved with SCVi ever since Wendy was the preschool teacher for iLEAD co-founder Amber Raskin’s daughter at the ECE Center at COC. The two bonded when Raskin decided that she wanted to duplicate the ECE philosophy for school-age programs. Once SCVi was launched, the Ruiz family enrolled their son Riley at the school’s Castaic location. Their son, Ramsey, currently in 7th grade, has attended SCVi since kindergarten. Wendy and her husband Robert have always been deeply involved in SCVi activities. In 2011, Wendy joined the SCVi Board of Directors and now serves on the LEAD Schools Development Board.

“I am so proud of Wendy and her family for their long-rooted commitment to education in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Dr. Van Hook. “This award is a testament to Wendy’s passion and dedication as an educator, which is palpable through her work at the Early Childhood Education Center at the college.”

Founded in 2008, SCVi is a charter school based in Santa Clarita and specializes in project-based learning for grades K-12. The school values the whole child and encourages lifelong learning, critical thinking, problem solving and global citizenry. SCVi later launched other school sites, known as iLEAD schools.

For more information about SCVi, please visit the school’s website.

Photos courtesy of Renee Bowen

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Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Independent Citizens Bond Oversight Committee voted to accept the results of an independent audit confirming the district properly accounted for all bond expenditures in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Monday, Jan 17, 2022
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Thursday, Jan 13, 2022
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