The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) has honored three Yavapai College innovators with its annual leadership and professional awards.

The organization representing elected and appointed governors of 1,100 community colleges nationwide earlier this month announced that 17-year YC Governing Board member and seven-time Board Chair Ray Sigafoos has been awarded the 2022 Pacific Regional Trustee Leadership Award.

Winner of the ACCT’s 2022 Pacific Regional Faculty Leadership Award is YC English Professor and Faculty Senate President Dr. Karen Palmer.

And the 2022 Pacific Regional Professional Board Staff Member awardee is Yvonne Martinez-Sandoval who, for the past four years, has served as the executive assistant to YC President Dr. Lisa Rhine and the college’s District Governing Board.

ACCT's Regional Awards recognize the tremendous contributions made by community colleges and their leaders to meet the needs of their communities.

"Community colleges are unique institutions dedicated to making high-quality higher education accessible for all Americans," said ACCT President and CEO Jee Hang Lee. "This year's regional ACCT awardees represent the most outstanding people and programs from throughout the country, and we are excited to be able to bring attention to them."

Mr. Sigafoos’ award recognizes his leadership and contributions to multiple innovative and successful academic and career-training programs and the development of state-of-the art facilities for those programs. Examples include YC’s Promise program, a tuition-reimbursement program that has significantly improved degree-completion rates; the development of the Southwest Wine Center, an acclaimed teaching winery; the launch of the Skilled Trades Center on the Verde Valley Campus; and the award-winning Family Enrichment Center, an early childhood teaching and learning laboratory. As the liaison to the YC Foundation Board, Mr. Sigafoos has helped the foundation significantly increase its philanthropic and scholarship capacity.

A full-time YC faculty member since 2018, Dr. Palmer was lauded by the ACCT for teaching practices that build strong student relationships and engender inclusion and belonging. She was also recognized for her leadership and contributions to the college’s Open Educational Resources initiative that has saved YC students nearly $1 million to date in textbook costs. Additionally, she has championed the college’s Quality Matters initiative to ensure excellence in online courses.

Martinez-Sandoval was honored for her initiative on a variety of projects that enhance the workplace experience and job performance of her peers, colleagues and college leadership. Examples include spearheading the creation of a statewide council of executive assistants to community college governing boards and her pivotal role in a comprehensive review and overhaul of District Governing Board processes and operations.