Champions of Career Education Honored at 2019 Pathfinder Awards

Ventura County businesses and educators who are leading the way in advancing career-related education were honored today in Camarillo at the 2019 Pathfinder Awards. The awards were presented by VC Innovates, a program of the Ventura County Office of Education in partnership with the Ventura County Community College District. VC Innovates connects businesses and schools to provide career education opportunities for middle school, high school and community college students.

Twenty-four award recipients from each of the partner school districts and colleges as well as thirteen business and community partners were recognized at a luncheon at the Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo. All of the honorees have played a pivotal role in bringing career and technical education opportunities to the students of Ventura County.

In addition, special awards were presented to two individuals who have made major contributions to career technical education in Ventura County. Dr. Tiffany Morse, Executive Director of Career Education for the Ventura County Office of Education, received the “Fearless Pathfinder” award in recognition of the tremendous expansion of career education courses and programs that has occurred under her leadership. And Dr. Roger Rice, VCOE’s former Deputy Superintendent for Student Services, received the “Trailblazing Pathfinder” award for his work in maintaining and expanding local career education programs in the wake of major state funding cuts.

A list of the other award winners is below and more information about each honoree is available here. Photo from today’s luncheon are available here.


  • Moorpark College: Ruth Bennington
  • Oxnard College: Amanda Burwick
  • Ventura College: John Clark


  • Career Education Center: George Gabriel
  • Conejo Valley Unified School District: Casey Graham
  • Fillmore Unified School District: Adan Vega
  • Moorpark Unified School District: Andrew De LaTorre
  • Oxnard Union High School District: Cynthia Allen
  • Ojai Unified School District: Naiyma Houston
  • Santa Paula Unified School District: Natasha Sandor
  • Simi Valley Unified School District: Carrie Smith
  • Ventura Unified School District: Nancy Cook


  • Briggs School District: Javier Mena
  • Conejo Valley Unified School District: Gary Norwalt
  • Hueneme School District: Cesar Lopez
  • Moorpark Unified School District: Alison Rosenblum
  • Ojai Unified School District: Amber Monarrez
  • Oxnard Elementary School District: Alec Hess
  • Pleasant Valley School District: Christine Flores
  • Rio School District: Joseph Stewart
  • Santa Paula Unified School District: Doug Johnston
  • Simi Valley Unified School District: Corrine Lightfoot
  • Somis Union School District: Carolyn Gass & David Mitchell
  • Ventura Unified School District: Linda Bergfeld


  • Agriculture and Natural Resources: Mari Escamilla, Reiter Affiliated Companies
  • Architecture: Lisa Sachs, Cumming
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment: Dexter Nunnery, Hip Hop Help
  • Building and Construction: Laurie Bennett, C&W Construction Specialties
  • Business and Finance/Marketing, Sales and Service: Jason Nyhan, Mamba Sports Academy
  • Energy, Environment and Utilities: Greg Wakatsuki, Young Moon Inc
  • Engineering: Cheryl Monzon, NAVFAC
  • Health Science and Medical Technologies: Lisa Safaeinili, Westminster Clinic
  • Hospitality: Kennon Wolff, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
  • Information and Communication Technology: Marc Netka, STS Education
  • Manufacturing: Dan Bronsten, Magnuson Products
  • Public Service: Court Tour Program Members, Ventura County Bar Association
  • Transportation: Dan Poole, A-1 Truck & Equipment Co.


About VC Innovates

VC Innovates, a program of the Ventura County Office of Education in partnership with the Ventura County Community College District, is a collaborative endeavor bringing together educators, businesses and community partners to apply innovative approaches to the education experience, and seamlessly prepare future workers and leaders for the workforce. For more information, please visit


About the Ventura County Office of Education

The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at:


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