NOCE’s Opening Day is the annual back-to-school event for all faculty and staff. This is an event where colleagues gather to learn about institutional updates, celebrate employee recognition, and reconnect before the start of the new academic year.

2023 NOCE Opening Day

Happy Birthday, NOCE! Cheers to 50 years!

Thursday, August 10, 2023

This year’s event is where NOCE initiative leaders joined President Valentina Purtell in sharing exciting updates and celebrating 50 years of service in the “State of NOCE” address. This also included introducing new employees, employee service awards, announcing the 2022/23 NOCE Colleagues of the Year, photo ops, and 50th promo items.

Employee Recognition

  • 2023 NOCE Teacher of the Year

    Headshot of teacher Souzan SahakianSouzan Sahakian

    Adjunct Faculty, English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program

    Souzan Sahakian, Adjunct Instructor for the English as a Second Language (ESL) and Citizenship Preparation Program, was selected as NOCE’s nominee for the 2024 Orange County Teacher of the Year. According to ESL Associate Dean Karla Frizler, “Souzan Sahakian creates a warm, welcoming, and student-centered classroom environment where students are comfortable to ask questions and share ideas. Souzan genuinely cares about her students and is passionate about supporting their success in her class(es) and in the ESL Program.” Congratulations, Souzan, on a well-deserved award!

  • 2022/23 NOCE Outstanding Colleagues of the Year

    Group photo of the 2022/23 Outstanding Colleague of the Year winners.

    Congratulations Colleague of the Year Winners!

    ERIKA LARSEN, Student Services Specialist, Disability Support Services

    Erika Larsen goes above and beyond expectations every day. As a Student Services Specialist in the Disability Support Services Program, Larsen’s workplace in the Anaheim Campus ARISE Lab is overflowing with students, and she makes each one feel seen, welcomed, and supported. She is resourceful, a creative problem-solver, and listens attentively to both students and staff members. She shares a warm smile and calm tone of voice as she mindfully provides grounding, calming, and joyful activities in her daily work for both students and staff. She has provided support and helped to develop plans with students in crisis and students who planned to quit school. She has paid special attention and worked with students in difficult situations because she believes in each students’ ability to self-actualize and succeed, boosting their self-esteem and overall well-being. Larsen has contributed ideas to her department including data tracking; established new initiatives such as Doodle and Donuts, Coloring with Colleagues, and Random Acts of Kindness; and is always open to try new things, help when needed, or work at a schoolwide event. Students have said that they “feel better,” “feel safe,” and “feel empowered” after leaving the Anaheim Campus ARISE Lab, or “Erika’s ARISE Lab” as it is commonly known. Congratulations to the 2022/23 NOCE Outstanding Colleague of the Year, Student Services Specialist for the Disability Support Services Program, Erika Larsen.


    EMMIE LIM, Adjunct Faculty Member, English as a Second Language Program

    Adjunct Faculty Member Emmie Lim has been employed at NOCCCD for more than 30 years! Since day one, she has provided outstanding service to students and fellow colleagues within her department, the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program. And even though she is a veteran employee, Lim participates frequently in professional development, mentors colleagues, and shares her extensive knowledge with others. Lim nurtures relationships and values getting acquainted with all staff, especially new team members, throughout all of NOCE. She does the same with her students that she teaches, standing at the door before and after every class to greet them, learning fun facts about them, and using the students’ native language, which only demonstrates her inclusivity and ability to connect. Lim refers students to counseling and ensures every student receives individualized attention and is not overlooked. She diligently completes all her registration and assessment paperwork accurately and on time and has been a valued member of her union, even serving on the board. An empathetic teacher, Lim encourages her students to attend success events and to continue to reach their goals for higher education after completing their classes within the ESL Program. Congratulations to the 2022/23 NOCE Outstanding Colleague of the Year, Adjunct Faculty Member in the English as a Second Language Program, Emmie Lim.


    TRISEINGE ORTIZ, Director of Admissions and Records

    Triseinge Ortiz, Director of Admissions and Records, has made such a positive impact that many of her team members got together to submit their collective nomination for this award. Ortiz leads with empathy and confidence, empowering her team to work more effectively and collaboratively. A servant leader, Ortiz models hard work, trust, dependability, strong ethics, and a positive attitude. She is open-minded with an open-door policy, always ready to listen, and challenges her team to learn and improve every day. Ortiz has been transformative to her department and NOCE. She is a cheerleader for her team and brings departments together to work toward forward-thinking solutions. She collects feedback and applies solutions to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of our institution, adding new processes and workflows across the departments to best serve students. This, along with her creative thinking and initiative, has had an unquantifiable positive effect on NOCE’s ability to serve students in an effective and timely manner. A leader with a full calendar, Ortiz does not shy away from participating as a member on various school- and District-wide committees to ensure NOCE’s perspective is heard as well as students and staff are represented. This has been demonstrated in her ability to reinstate the hot meal program for NOCE students, dual enrollment for adult learners with college partners, and was a key administrator for supporting students through the COVID mandate and served on the workgroup to develop the hybrid work model for staff. We are pleased to call her a colleague. Congratulations to the 2022/23 NOCE Outstanding Colleague of the Year, Director of Admissions and Records,Triseinge Ortiz.


    MEGAN REEVES, Professor, Disability Support Services

    A superstar in the Disability Support Services (DSS) Program for a while, Megan Reeves transitioned into a full-time faculty role a few years ago and advanced her service and support to a new level for both students and fellow staff members. Reeves is patient, kind, and goes out of her way to ensure that her students in the DSS WISE Program feels heard and valued. Her positive attitude is contagious and her passion for education and unwavering commitment to her students make her an invaluable asset to NOCE. Reeves takes time to get to know her students and their interests individually. She enjoys greeting them before class with personalized attention and students love sharing life updates with her, making her a trusted and supportive figure in their lives. She has modified and created new course curriculum, incorporating a variety of learning opportunities such as computer-assisted instruction, field-trips, guest speakers, and hands-on demonstrations to create a well-rounded experience for her students. She takes time to meet students individually, adapt lessons, or provide supports to ensure they are each progressing in their learning goals, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reeves has also established community partnerships and created a network of volunteer jobs for her students so they can try different vocations to gain work experience. In addition to leading in the classroom, this colleague participates in multiple shared governance committees and mentors other faculty in her department. She understands the unique needs of her students and works tirelessly to advocate for them throughout NOCE. She has been called “the heart and soul” of her department and although a quiet leader who does not like the spotlight, her fellow colleagues knew her excellence needed to be recognized. Congratulations to the 2022/23 NOCE Outstanding Colleague of the Year, Disability Support Services Professor Megan Reeves.

  • 2022/23 NOCE Tenured Faculty

    Headshot of Michelle Patrick-NorngMichelle Patrick-Norng

    Counselor, Disability Support Services

    Starting as an adjunct counselor at NOCE in 2014, Michelle Patrick-Norng has always had a passion to help students reach their goals. Prior to working at North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE), Patrick-Norng had a variety of positions in the education system helping students advance in their educational career. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in education-counseling, a teaching credential, and several certificates: pupil personnel services credential, child welfare and attendance authorization, adult learning disability certificate, and learning disability specialist certification. Patrick-Noring started as a full-time Disability Support Services (DSS) Counselor at the NOCE Wilshire Center, but then quickly provided counseling support at all three NOCE centers. She started her full-time DSS Counselor position at the Anaheim Campus in 2019. Among her many accomplishments, Patrick-Norng has assisted in piloting the Kindness Scholarship through the NOCE Academic Senate; awarding the first two scholarships in the 2022 Spring Semester. She also serves as the Academic Senate Secretary and a member of the CARE Team and Accessibility Advisory Workgroup. Patrick-Norng has a passion for advocacy and wants to support local and statewide initiatives to increase services related to mental health and wellness. She also has a desire to help increase participation in shared governance for full-time and adjunct faculty members. “I believe all students have the right to pursue their educational and vocational goals. I value life-long learning,” she says. Patrick-Norng encourages students to dream big, even if that means making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and starting anew. Congratulations Michelle Patrick-Norng on your achievement of earning tenure at NOCE!


    Headshot of Dr. Kenny YuKenneth “Kenny” Yu, Ed.D.

    Professor, Emeritus Program
    Lifeskills Education Advancement Program

    Since July of 2006, Kenneth “Kenny” Yu has been an active faculty member of the Emeritus Program at North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE), teaching Health & Wellness and Help Yourself to Health classes. Yu brings to NOCE a diverse background of knowledge, skills, and abilities with over 25 years as a fitness professional, 15 years as a teacher, and eight years of experience in clinical rehabilitation. With his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and master’s degree in health administration with a graduate certificate in gerontology, Yu is an asset to NOCE and the students that he teaches. Among his plethora of certificates, Yu has enhanced qualifications including credentials from the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy for Sports Medicine, Cal State Fullerton, and Boston University. Yu receives raving reviews from his students – some who have taken his health and wellness classes for over 10 years! Additionally, he was a member of the NOCE Mission, Vision, and Values Workgroup in 2020/21 and currently serves as a member of NOCE’s DEIAA Committee. He has worked with both faculty and administrators from Disability Support Services to Career Technical Education programs at NOCE, focusing on evaluation, design, implementation, and program monitoring to track institutional, program and student assessment and learning outcomes. Yu strives to “continue to positively impact students, colleagues, and the community by infusing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion through culturally relevant pedagogy. [And to] continue my pursuit of advanced education in the health science discipline.” Congratulations, Kenny Yu, on your achievement of earning tenure at NOCE!

  • New Employees

    A group photo of some of the new employees at NOCE

    2022/23 NOCE New and Promoted Employees

    First Name Last Name Title Department
    Maria Aceituno Instructional Designer Office of Instruction
    Emely Barrera Program Coordinator Disability Support Services Program
    Michelle Bringman Special Projects Manager, Student Engagement Counseling and Student Services
    Edward Cruz P/T Instructional Assistant English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program 
    Erik Diaz Special Projects Coordinator, Recruitment and Retention Basic Skills Program
    Hillary FitzMaurice Interim Full-Time Faculty English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program 
    Hugo Flores Interim Program Manager English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program 
    Nancy Flores Web Content Specialist Campus Communications
    Patricia Haro Instructional Assistant Career Technical Education Program
    Elliot King Admissions and Records Technician Admissions and Records
    Venessa Lagunas P/T Instructional Assistant English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program 
    Linda Langgle Interim Program Manager Lifeskills Education Advancement Program
    June Lee P/T Instructional Assistant English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program 
    Lisa Mednick Takami, Ed.D. Special Projects Administrator CAEP/CCC Technical Assistance Provider, OIRP
    Christian Oleo Clerical Assistant I English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program 
    Judith O’Reilly Administrative Assistant II CAEP / NOCRC
    Stephanie Rodriguez Interim Student Services Coordinator CTE: Parenting Program
    Afraim Sedrak Full-Time Faculty CTE: Business/Computers Program
    Martha Turner, Ed.D. Interim Associate Dean I Lifeskills Education Advancement Program
    Maria Vela P/T Instructional Assistant English as a Second Language/Citizenship Program 
  • Service Awards

    2023 NOCE Employee Service Award Recognition

    5 Years of Service

    Five years of service group photo

    • Margie Abab
    • Amy Bacon
    • Ashley Bowman
    • Malyna Evans
    • Curtis Galvez
    • Edwin Garcia
    • Jonathan Gerrard
    • Carolina Hernandez
    • Jason Makabali
    • Janeth Manjarrez
    • Raquel Murillo
    • Elline Penn
    • Jean Proppe
    • Rosemary Rangel
    • Megan Reeves
    • Courtney Tarango
    • Nirali Thakkar
    • Cheryl Trapani
    • Marcela Valle
    • Joy Yoo
    • Eva Zepeda

    10 Years of Service

    Ten years of service group photo

    • Regina Apuntar
    • Juan Cardiel
    • Shontel Corona
    • Manije Dini
    • Roland Esquivel
    • Raine Hambly
    • Kandace Head
    • Alvin Jimenez
    • Alicia Luna
    • Garrett Mcfarland
    • Enrique Moreno-Herrera
    • Afraim Sedrak
    • Anh Tseng

    15-35 years of service photo collage

    15 Years of Service

    • Peter Heimes
    • Mary Lorge
    • Hardeep Pabla
    • Blake Pederson
    • Souzan Sahakian
    • Benjamin Warner

    20 Years of Service

    • Cindy Allen
    • Mary Ann Babbo
    • Grazyna Kopydlowska
    • Michela Santostefano
    • Fawn Smith

    25 Years of Service

    • Patricia Behrbaum
    • Jean Choi
    • Amy Harris
    • Edna Heredia

    30 Years of Service

    • Mary Gomes
    • Judith Kretschmar

    35 Years of Service

    • Joann Stehly
    • Sharon Witt
  • “I Love NOCE” Photo Winners

    A collage of all the submitted "We love NOCE" photos

    Congratulations Photo Winners!

    The farthest traveled award winner VickiTraveled Furthest with the “I LOVE NOCE” Sign: Vicki Sodman, who travelled to Belize!





    The most submission winner, JenniferMost “I LOVE NOCE” Photos Submitted: Jennifer Carey.

    The winning photo of Curtis, Alli, and CaseyFIRST PLACE Winners: Curtis Galvez, Alli Stanokjovic, Casey Sousa.

    You can see all of this year’s submissions on the “I Love NOCE” Photo Slideshow Powerpoint.

NOCE Committees & Workgroups

Visit the Committees and Workgroups webpage for all the information for each committee and workgroup meeting at NOCE.