Clark College News and Events

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Clark College News and Events

September 19, 2008
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing


Two classified staff members have been honored by Clark College
as “Exceptional” for their service to students and the community 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – An administrative assistant who has played a critical role in strategic planning and a program manager who has enhanced services in the Clark College Assessment Center have been named the 2008 Exceptional Classified Staff honorees at Clark College.  Cindy Heck and Mirranda Saari were honored during a ceremony at the college on September 10.

About Cindy Heck

Exceptional Classified Staff award honoree Cindy HeckCindy Heck is the administrative assistant in the college’s Planning and Advancement unit, providing support for strategic planning, grants support and legislative affairs.  She has been at Clark for more than 10 years and has served as the primary support staff person in the college’s Planning and Advancement office during the three years of preparation for Clark's 2008 accreditation. In addition, Heck co-chaired the college's 2006 Combined Fund Drive.

Heck, who resides in Vancouver, has also assisted with the college-wide Backpack Project, collecting backpacks full of school supplies for children of students in Clark's Displaced Homemakers program, who have children enrolled at Child and Family Studies, or are work study students.   Cindy Heck locates local school supply lists for elementary, middle and high school students and links interested staff with a child in need.  During the five years that the program has been in existence, 210 backpacks full of school supplies have been provided to children of students at Clark College.

Cindy Heck is described by colleagues as "deeply committed to Clark College and [someone who] has provided continuity and institutional history to the many projects she has supported."  Her nominators wrote, "Cindy is always understated and makes her contributions quietly and efficiently with a ready smile and warm, positive attitude." 

They added, "In the year in which the college will host what we know will be a successful accreditation visit and a memorable diamond jubilee, it would be deeply fitting to honor someone who has played such a key role in making both celebrations possible and charting the path for success for our next 75 years."

About Mirranda Saari

Exceptional Classified Staff award honoree Mirranda SaariCommitted to student success. That's how her colleagues describe Mirranda Saari, program manager in the Clark College Assessment Center. Under Saari's leadership, the Assessment Center has become, according to her nominators, “an example in best practices for the state's GED testing site.”

Mirranda Saari has enhanced the Assessment Center’s information on the college Web site and launched an innovative on-line testing appointment system for Running Start students from 26 area high schools. This new system allowed 1,216 high school students to register for testing from their home computers or their high schools.  In addition, she has successfully transitioned placement testing services and successfully implemented early assessment placement testing at off-site locations, particularly high schools.

As a leader for the College Is Possible (CIP) youth development program, Saari, who resides in Vancouver, created and implemented a CIP group at Harney Elementary School.  This group, consisting of 65 fifth graders, participated in a four-part series on the college experience.  They learned about applying for financial aid, admissions, registration, attendance and even had a completion ceremony.  Mirranda Saari also volunteered to co-chair the college's 2007 Combined Fund Drive. She serves on the college's Facilities Master Plan Committee and was a member of the 2007-2008 Clark College Leadership Academy Cohort.

Her nominators wrote:  “Staff and students can count on her to listen to their concerns and to follow through with solutions and ways to improve the testing center, to improve the information that goes out to advisors so that they can better advise our students, and to create a workplace that feels positive and caring."

About the Clark College Exceptional Classified Staff awards

The Clark College Foundation instituted the Exceptional Classified Staff Award in 1997 to recognize “that it is truly a team effort to bring together the quality education and environment that Clark College offers to its students and the community.”

This cash award recognizes staff members who have demonstrated exemplary work performance; outstanding service to the college; a positive and cooperative spirit; and/or special achievements or contributions to the college community. Nominations may be submitted by classified, administrative and exempt staff; faculty; students; alumni; retirees; college trustees; and Foundation directors.



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