Winners of the VC Innovates 2017 Pathfinder Awards Announced

Today in Camarillo, VC Innovates 2017 Pathfinder Awards were presented to this year’s most innovative educators, business and community partners for their support of Career and Technical Education. Twenty-five award recipients selected by each of the education partner school districts as well as twelve business and community partners were recognized at a luncheon at the Spanish Hills Country Club. All of the honorees have played a pivotal role in bringing career and technical education opportunities to the students of Ventura County. 

Community Colleges:

  • Moorpark College: Ed Garcia
  • Oxnard College: Marcelo Cabral
  • Ventura College: Ralph Fernandez

High Schools:

  • ACE Charter High School: Todd Gernheuser
  • Conejo Unified School District: Daniel Bell
  • Fillmore Unified School District: Bill Guzman
  • Moorpark Unified School District: Ray Hebel
  • Oak Park Unified School District: Susan Allen
  • Oxnard Union High School District: Jan Quilantang
  • Ojai Unified School District: Michael Swank
  • Santa Paula Unified School District: Gloria Rodriguez
  • Simi Valley Unified School District: Tammy Harter-Hohensee
  • Ventura Unified School District: Scott Manninen
  • Ventura County Office of Education Career Education Center: Justin Riege

Middle Schools:

  • Briggs Elementary School District- Javier Mena
  • Conejo Unified School District- Paul Hanson
  • Fillmore Unified School District- Laurie Merrill
  • Hueneme Elementary School District- Edgar Reyes
  • Moorpark Unified School District- Nathan King
  • Ojai Unified School District- Michael Swank
  • Oxnard Elementary School District- Cecil Baumgartner
  • Rio Elementary School District- Hugo Guzman
  • Santa Paula Unified School District- Terria Duran
  • Simi Valley Unified School District- Dan Shuster
  • Ventura Unified School District- Scott Lehman

Business Partners:    

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources: Henry Gonzalez, Ventura County Agriculture Commissioner
  • Arts, Media & Entertainment: Michael Fusco, Warner Bros. Tours
  • Aviation/STEM: Phillis Thrower, Naval Base Ventura County
  • Building & Construction: Nick Deitch, Main St. Architects & Planners
  • Business & Finance: Josh Sarfaty, Aerotek
  • Energy, Environment & Utilities: Michele Newell, Aera Energy, LLC
  • Engineering:  Diego Ruvalcaba, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Health Science and Medical Technology: Adriene Stefansen, American Medical Response
  • Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation: Jim Cathcart, Four Seasons-Westlake Village
  • Manufacturing & Product Development: Mike Pettit, County of Ventura
  • Public Services: Sgt. Cecil Valenti, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
  • Transportation: Ken Duttweiler, Duttweiler Performance


About VC Innovates

VC Innovates 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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