At CBC It’s About the Student

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From left: Kathlyn Patton, Dr. Twila Johnson, Mark Secord, Pete Trevino, Velma Elizalde and Lisa Clark are the newest members of CBC’s leadership team. Collectively, they have decades of experience in serving and educating students in higher education.

New Leadership Focuses on Student Success

“One of the ways we serve our students is by providing a system that has a meaningful, engaged and relevant understanding of our students”, says Coastal Bend College President Dr. Beatriz T. Espinoza. “We’re achieving that at the executive level with the persons we have moved into key leadership positions. We’re working to utilize and honor the talent and experience of the people we already have working for us. All of them have demonstrated their consistent commitment to the student and the individual student’s success.”

What Espinoza is referring to is Coastal Bend College’s recent re-organization and newly filled positions. “The two vice president positions alone represent over fifty years of cumulative CBC experience,” she continues.

Velma Elizalde, Vice President of Student and Administrative Services, began her association with the college as a high school sophomore in the federal Upward Bound program still housed on the CBC campus.

“The successes I have enjoyed in my professional career are a direct result of my affiliation with Coastal Bend College,” says Elizalde. “Through Upward Bound, I was introduced to a world that gave me access to experiences very different from my own.  The program and its staff, like Pete Martinez and Nick Cardenas, provided me the support I needed to succeed.  I have been fortunate to serve CBC in positions that have allowed me to pay it forward.  

“I am excited about my new area of responsibility and about working with Dr. Espinoza and my CBC colleagues because we share the desire to help our students succeed I am looking forward to greater collaboration and an invigorated sense of hope in the future of the college and our students.”

Mark Secord, Vice President of Instruction and Economic & Workforce Development, echoes Elizalde’s commitment to supporting a student-centric environment at the college.

“This is a very exciting time. Not only for me personally but for the college as a whole. We have a great group of people that are all student-centered. I can’t say that enough. I’ve worked here for over 20 years in the science department, most recently as division chair. I know first-hand that CBC has experienced and devoted faculty, staff and employees.

“Teaching is something you should have a passion for, and to share your knowledge with a roomful of students and see them grasp the information you’re imparting – well, that’s really gratifying. Being educated gives you so much. It makes you a well-rounded individual. It’s a privilege to provide our students with a good education. It’s a noble undertaking to help someone improve their life.”

“Demonstrating our commitment to our students starts with everyone we meet,” says Twila Johnson, Dean of Academics.  “A student, a peer, a fellow employee, someone you are conducting business with. It is not about the place, it is about the people in the place and our shared purpose.”

Johnson comes to CBC’s main campus from the district’s Kingsville site and started with Coastal Bend College as an instructor.

“Prior to becoming the Dean of Academics at CBC, I was the Interim Director for External Affairs at the Kingsville site, and prior to that I was full time faculty teaching history and government. Before coming to CBC as a fulltime instructor, I had been teaching for the Kingsville Independent School District since 1995.

“Our faculty are so talented, wise and gifted. It truly is an honor to be able to assist them in my new role. My hope is our new leadership structure will give them a renewed sense of enthusiasm and confidence in the future of the college. I am willing and ready to help them however I can.”

“I know we’re all talking about how excited we are,” says Pete Trevino, Dean of Student Services, “but it really is true. We’re getting some leadership and organization now that will allow us to focus entirely on student success. That’s what it’s all about.”

Trevino comes to Beeville from the district’s Kingsville site where he had functioned as a Special Needs Counselor, Interim Site Director for Campus Management and Lead Counselor. Trevino has been with the college almost seven years and has over seventeen years of managerial and administrative experience.

Trevino continues, “I would have to say my overarching goal will be to do my part to provide the best environment I can for student learning, success and engagement. Our students are why we’re here. Our students are why we do what we do.”

Kathlyn Patton, Dean of Administrative Services, reiterates the connection to students.

“I am a Beeville native. From the time I started my college work at Bee County College, I’ve been grateful that our community has the college. I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Business from Texas A&M and have been at the college for over twenty-four years now. And the fact that I was a student here once is something I am very proud of. It influences everything I do.

“We serve a large, diverse community providing affordable, quality education and a safe learning environment. Part of my role is to ensure that our facilities are maintained and that we have matched the appropriate, credentialed professional with the right job. Our students rely on us to provide that for them.”

“The business office plays a similar role,” says Lisa Clark. Clark has recently been handed the task of acting as the college’s Director of Business Services, overseeing and monitoring all the college’s budgetary and financial activities. This is no small task.

Clark received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and worked for the institution eight years prior to coming to Coastal Bend College. “Working for A&M Corpus really was great experience. I rely on that experience especially when dealing with the state,” continues Clark, “there’s really no way of anticipating when some major policy change might come down from the legislature that significantly impacts our budget.

“Every day is a new day,” says Clark when asked about her job. “We’ve got to be responsive to and considerate of a number of different customers. But the student is our number one priority. I worked my way through school at Texas A&M Corpus Christi while married and raising a child. I know what our students are faced with on a daily basis. Sometimes, the big success of the day is just making it to class. So, when I know at the end of the day that we’ve helped a student – helped keep them on track and in school – that’s a good day. And we have a lot them here at CBC.”

Leadership at the college continues to look for innovative ways to keep the institution focused on student success.  Anyone interested in sharing their insights and comments regarding student success at CBC is encouraged to contact Susan Smedley, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, at (361) 354-2399 or by email at smedleys@coastalbend.edu.

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