Bonnie started at Spokane Falls Community College as a Spanish instructor 16 years ago. Immediately after getting hired, she said she fell in love with her job.
"It's what I thought I'd do until I retired," she said.
But after eight years in the role, there was a need for an interim dean in her program, and so she stepped up. She has been the Dean of Visual and Performing Arts for eight years now. Her favorite part of this role is working with the faculty at SFCC.
"They are extremely dedicated and passionate about living lives of service," Bonnie said.
Bonnie shares that dedication and passion, and says that she's motivated every day by CCS's mission and working with students whose lives are changed by an education.
Making education accessible to folks who might not find access otherwise is what she thinks makes CCS unique. And our strength lies in student support. Our students love their field, but they might need support along the way. We provide that support, in and out of the classroom.
When Bonnie was an instructor and had a student who stopped attending class, she'd often reach out to them. One day, a student returned her call and told her that she'd been going through a rough time, and Bonnie's message showed her that somebody cared.
"In the classroom, they're seen, they're noticed. You don't always get that at a larger university," Bonnie said.
That's the heart of our work, Bonnie explained. It's transformative. Each year, she sees students finding a version of themselves they hadn't pictured before. Maybe they see themselves as a leader after attending CCS. Maybe they find their purpose through their coursework.
"They feel empowered to do more than when they started," Bonnie said. "That's the most common story I hear." Like the single mom who got her degree while raising two kids. That degree was her way out of poverty, and she took her family with her. Her son came to CCS and got his degree, eventually becoming a lawyer.
That's just one example that Bonnie's heard during her time at CCS. And, as she pointed out, just imagine that impact multiplied across our community. That's the transformation our employees get to support every day.