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Dr. Dan Famini joined the SRJC Ag/Natural Resources faculty in fall 2009. Dan received his DVM from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. For the previous four years, he served as a Veterinarian at the Humane Society of Sonoma County where he practiced traditional open-to-the-public medicine, performed over 6,000 surgeries, and adopted an eel. Dan was also the third generation in his family to attend and transfer from Santa Rosa Junior College. He continues to serve as the Veterinarian for local wildlife, reptile, and bat rescue groups and as a 4-H leader.
Pj LoCoco studied at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where she earned a bachelor of science degree in ornamental horticulture and a master of science degree in agricultural sciences. She has taught horticulture at Santa Rosa Junior College since 1982, and has served as Department Chair, Academic Senator, and President of the California Agricultural Teachers' Association State President. Pj is a member of the California Agricultural Teachers' Association, the California Landscape Contractors' Association, the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, and local advisory committees.
Viticulture Program, Department Chair, Agriculture/Natural Resources Department
Merilark Padgett-Johnson received a bachelor of science degree in plant science, a master of science degree in horticulture, and a Ph.D. in plant biology from UC Davis. After managing vineyards and acting as a consulting viticulturist for several years, she began teaching at Allan Hancock College in Santa Barbara County. There, she developed the Viticulture and Enology Program through teaching, writing curriculum, and hiring faculty members from the wine grape industry. She is a member of the Sonoma County Grape Growers’ Association, the Russian River Valley Winegrowers’ Association, the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, and the Australian Society for Viticulture and Oenology.
Kasey Wade joined the SRJC Agriculture and Natural Resources faculty in Fall 2000. She teaches Environmental Conservation, Natural Resources Management and Parks and Recreation classes. Kasey left her 19 year career as a Park Ranger, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in recreation administration with an emphasis in natural resource management from Chico State University. She is a member of the National Association of Interpretation, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Pacific Crest Trail Association and California Ag Teachers Association.
George Sellu joined the SRJC Agriculture and Natural Resources faculty in Fall 2013. George received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Environmental Science with an emphasis in Soil Science from the University of Sierra Leone and a Masters of Arts degree in Agricultural Education from the University of California, Davis. George has 10 years experience teaching high school agriculture courses and coaching judging teams in California. In addition to high school teaching, George joined the faculty at Woodland Community College in 2011 where he taught a wide range of agriculture courses. George’s vision is to guide students develop effective business skills that address community and industry needs. He is an active member of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association (CATA) and the American Association of Agricultural Educators (AAAE).
Dan Berger is a national and international wine writer, wine symposia presenter, and wine events judge at the New World International, San Francisco Fair, California State Fair, Los Angeles County Fair, the International Wine Competition Ljubljana, and events in Australia, among others.
Gerald D. Boyd is a wine and spirits contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle and other national and international magazines. He is Chief Judge for the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition and Director of Commercial Wine Judging for the San Francisco Bay Wine Competition.
Galen George is SRJC’s Chemistry Department liaison and contact for the enology concentration in the Wine Studies Program and has been a full-time Instructor in chemistry since 1982 and a past coordinator for the "Chemistry of Wine Making."
Marie Gewirtz has devoted 23 years to public relations and marketing in the international wine and food industry. Fifteen years ago she founded Marie Gewirtz Public Relations to promote the preservation of agriculture as a lifestyle.
Pat Henderson is a Senior Winemaker whose university and hands-on expertise is applied at Kenwood Vineyards and, previously, at Domaine Chandon, Schramsberg, Chappellet, and Valley of the Moon wineries.
Brad Ish, owner of the American Beverage Group, is associated with the marketing of the Marilyn Monroe line of premium wines. He has extensive experience in import, export, and international wine sales.
Ray Johnson authored The Good Life Guide to Enjoying Wine and is the Editor for Wine Smarts. With 15 years professional experience, Ray judges wine at state and local fairs and is Assistant Director of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Tom Simoneau is a former country rocker turned grape grower, winemaker, wine marketer, educator, and critic on Santa Rosa's News Talk KSRO. His wines are among the best amateur wines in the country. He is Sales Director for Windsor Vineyards.
Elizabeth Slater of In Short Direct Marketing works with wineries and winery associations presenting seminars and workshops on sales and marketing, customer service, staff training, and team building. She writes regularly for Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine.
Kryss Speegle teaches in the Wine Studies Department at SRJC and is the Winemaker for Lake Sonoma Winery and the Assistant Winemaker for Kenwood Vineyards. She has worked harvests in Napa, Mendocino, Germany, and New Zealand and spent three years at Ravenswood Winery. Kryss has been a judge for the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the West Coast Wine Competition. She holds a master's degree in food science/enology from the University of California at Davis, a diploma in wines and spirits from the UK-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and is currently a Master of Wine student.
Richard Thomas is Professor Emeritus at SRJC with over 30 years as the Viticulture Program Coordinator. A world-renowned expert in viticulture practices, he was the first coordinator of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and often judges U.S. wine competitions.
William Traverso is the owner of Travero's Gourmet Food, Wines and Liquors. As a professional wine judge, he has served on the Board of the Sonoma County Harvest Fairs and is a member of the Board of Visitors and Fellows for Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.
Chris Wills, Winemaking Consultant, former winemaker, and Enology Instructor, teaches winery practices and enology/fermentation science classes at SRJC. He holds an associate in science degree in chemistry and a bachelor of science degree in fermentation science.
Shawnon Kaiser attended SRJC before earning a degree in animal science specializing in equine science from UC Davis. Shawnon holds a RVT license and has been working with veterinarians since 2003. As part of her work with small animals, she completed an internship in fall 2006 with Dr. Sophia Yin, a renowned veterinarian and behaviorist, assisting her in the production of a textbook, “Low Stress Animal Handling”. She is a member of the CaRVT Committee and Rotaract, and also works as a full-time RVT in Petaluma.
Stephanie Larson is a County Director and Livestock Range Management Advisor. Her specialties include sheep management and production, fiber production, rangeland and natural resource management, and water quality.
Kit Crump has bachelor’s degrees from the University of California at Santa Cruz in biology and environmental studies and a master’s degree in biological sciences from San Jose State University. He helped start a bird of prey rehabilitation center and has done a variety of raptor conservation projects. Kit has also worked for the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as a Wildlife Technician and for consulting firms doing projects on a variety of threatened and endangered species. He worked for a resource conservation district doing habitat restoration, and currently works for the National Marine Fisheries Service with the NOAA Restoration Center. He is a program lead for salmon and steelhead habitat restoration in California, and currently teaches NRM 84 Wildlife and Fisheries Management and NRM 85 Forest Hydrology and Watershed Management at SRJC.
Joel Neuberg earned a bachelor’s of art at University of California, Berkeley (BA), a master’s degree at San Francisco State University (MA), and a MLIS at San Jose State University. He worked as Manager of Agricultural Cooperatives with the U.S. Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa, and served as Volunteer Work Coordinator on Kibbutz Mazuba in Western Galilee, Israel, before coming to SRJC as a student in the Forestry Program in 1971. He has worked as a Field Supervisor for the Student Conservation Association in Yosemite and Lassen Volcanic National Parks, Olympic National Forest, and the King Range BLM wilderness, and served as SCA’s Assistant Director of College Level Programs. He worked as a Park Ranger for the California Department of Parks and Recreation and Sonoma County Regional Parks. He was the Executive Director of the Holocaust Library and Research Center in San Francisco and President of the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust at Sonoma State University. He also served as the librarian at El Molino High School and Sonoma Academy. He has taught in SRJC’s English, AG/NRM, and Library departments since 1973.
Tim Pudoff started his career in geography and cartography when he was 12, but it wasn't until he completed 2 1/2 years of study at SRJC that he became aware of geography as a discipline and discovered the field’s great rewards, both personally and professionally. Tim holds a master’s degree in geography from San Diego State, a bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University, and an associates degree from SRJC. He works with many organizations in Sonoma County government to promote the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in decision making. Read more about Tim Pudoff on his instructional Web page.
Bill Trunick has worked in the Park Ranger field for over 25 years, for the City of Walnut Creek Open Space, National Park Service, California Land Management, Southgate Recreation and Park District, California Department of Fish and Game, the County of Sacramento, and, currently, Sonoma County Regional Parks. Bill received his AA from Diablo Valley College, and graduated from CSU Sacramento with a bachelor’s of science in recreation administration with a special emphasis in recreational resources and visitor management. Bill became interested in the park ranger field while he was on a service project with his scout troop. As an Eagle Scout, he has to assist over 40 scouts earn their Eagle rank while also doing constructive projects for the parks. Bill, his wife, and their family were foster parents for more than seven years to over 80 children. He has been a guest lecturer for several years and became adjunct faculty at SRJC in 2009.
Marshall Turbeville is a Battalion Chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), currently assigned to the Russian River Battalion of Sonoma County where he oversees three fire stations and one privately-funded lookout. His primary responsibilities include the prevention, suppression, and reduction in losses from wildland fires. He is assigned to CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #5. He has taught NRM 72 since the 2003 spring semester. Marshall graduated from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo with bachelor of science degrees in civil engineering and forestry and natural resources. After graduation he began his professional firefighting career with CAL FIRE. Marshall assists with planning and conducting prescribed burning, maintains qualification as a fire investigator, and is interested in fire behavior modeling and prediction. He is a member of the SRJC’s Fire Academy staff, and instructs several courses for CAL FIRE at their fire academy.
Michelle Beko, DVM, is a practicing Veterinarian and owner of Empire Equine Hospital. She graduated from UC Davis Veterinary School in 1991. In addition to teaching and practicing veterinary medicine, she enjoys horseback riding, traveling, and hiking.
Maxine Freitas has been an Instructor in SRJC’s Equine Science Program for 17 years, and she developed the first community college-level curriculum in therapeutic riding. Serving as Executive Director and Instructor of Equi-Ed, which offers an individualized equestrian experience to motivate academic, personal, social, and physical growth for students with and without special needs, Maxine received the Equus Award. She is a member of the CHA-Certified Horsemanship Association, NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association), and EFMHA (Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association).
Stuart Greenberg teaches practical horseshoeing at SRJC and is a frequent demonstrator and instructor at horseshoeing events all over the West. Stuart is not only a good teacher, but a fine horseshoer with a wonderful eye for structural alignment and comfortable stance, which is the basis of orthopedics. He is frequently called as a consultant with the more difficult cases and rehabilitation, working with various veterinary practices and clinics.
Raye Lochert of Mill Valley, California is well-versed in many different horse training methods. In 2001, he attended the John Lyons Certification Program, earning the status of Select Trainer. In addition to teaching at SRJC, Raye provides instruction and training at his ranch in Santa Rosa, California.
Lisa Lombardi has been a professional CHA-certified riding instructor for adults and children (English and Western) since 1987. She has taught Equine Science classes at SRJC since 1990, specializing in safety and full enjoyment of recreational horses through gentle and true communication. Some of her more advanced students currently compete in multiple disciplines, ranging from English equitation to reining.
Guillermo Recio, with his wife Haley, owns and manages Sonoma Mountain Equestrian Center in Petaluma, one of the largest horse facilities in Sonoma County. Avid competitors in rein cow horse and reining, both have won many awards in both disciplines. He is an accredited international judge for reining and a NRCHA judge. Guillermo’s affiliations include NRCHA, NRHA, AQHA, APHA, NCRCHA, NSHA, WCHA.
Diana Thompson teaches acupressure and massage in the SRJC Equine Science Program. She operates the Hands-On Horse Care® horse training facility in Santa Rosa. She studied equine anatomy and movement early in her horse training career, and quickly saw the benefits of incorporating massage, acupressure, and other alternative therapies into her training methods to help horses relax, to quicken learning, and to increase strength and soundness. Having worked with horse owners in 13 states, she has also taught in Moscow, Russia and Chelmsford, Essex, England. She was featured in EQUUS, Horse & Rider, and many regional horse publications and has produced a video about equine emergency massage and acupressure. She is an award-winning writer who just published the book Acupressure Point Charts for Horses, An Illustrated Guide to 128 Point Locations and Uses.
Joyce Torrigino is directly responsible for the SRJC Equine and Animal Science units where she assists instructors with animal/equine science laboratories. A graduate of Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in equine science, she is also the owner of Wine Country Equine Reproductive Services, which provides most reproductive services for mares and stallions.
Will Bakx started Sonoma Compost Company in 1985, and in 1990 he implemented a pilot program to compost curbside collected yard debris for Santa Rosa. He implemented a backyard composting education program for the city of Santa Rosa, and since 1993 he has been Director of product development and soil scientist with his company, one of the most recognized compost facilities in the state diverting more than 1,200,000 tons of yard trimmings from the landfill. Bakx has a bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University in environmental studies and planning and a master’s from UC Berkeley in soil science. He is the Adjunct Instructor for the compost class at the SRJC, and is the co-founder of the California Organic Recycling Council (CORC), the California Compost Quality Council (CCQC) and the California Compost Coalition (CCC).
Courtney Dellelo earned a B.S. in ecology and systematic biology and a master’s in social sciences: environment and community, which supports her position as a Farm Manager at Canvas Ranch, a Farmers’ Market Manager, Naturalist at the Woodleaf Outdoor School, and, most recently, an Instructor in SRJC’s Agriculture/Natural Sciences Department. As Farm Production Manager at Long Meadow Ranch, Courtney is responsible for all aspects of farming at LMR Rutherford Gardens. She also leads the educational program at the gardens, creating opportunities for local schools and agriculture groups to visit the gardens and learn about organic sustainable practices.
Heidi Hermann has taught seven courses at SRJC, including Organic Gardening and Food Production, Organic Crop Planning, Organic Crop Production, Organic Fruit and Berry Production, Direct Farm Marketing, CSA Community Supported Agriculture, Agriculture Enterprise. She has much experience running both the production and business aspects of successful small farms, and owns and operates Strong Arm Farm in West Sonoma County, specializing in wildcrafted seaweeds, canned goods, and certified organic herbs, flowers, and produce. She earned a B.S. in ornamental horticulture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with an emphasis in crop science and pest management. She is currently completing her master’s at SSU, in experiential outdoor education. She has worked internationally in sustainable farming ventures and has strongly supports small local farms. Heidi has interests in native plants (especially oak woodland species), landscaping, and local food enjoyment. She also speaks Danish and German.
Wendy Krupnick has had a passion for more than 30 years for organic farming and gardening, and loves sharing her enthusiasm with others. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from UC Santa Cruz in 1975. Her gardening training started at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden, where for 10 years she managed the variety trials and demonstration gardens for Shepherd’s Garden Seeds and was the lead garden advisor for many farming and gardening professionals nationwide and worked with fine restaurants across California, producing herbs, edible flowers, and vegetables for their use. She also managed the Felton farmers market for 10 years. She is involved with organizations that further more sustainable agriculture, including Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Ecological Farming Association, and the Sonoma County iGROW and Food System Alliance projects. For seven years she coordinated the four-acre garden at Shone Farm, which is part of the Sustainable Agriculture Program. and is currently an Adjunct Instructor in this program. Wendy has also taught Master Gardener classes since 1992, teaches workshops on edible gardening through Santa Rosa Parks & Recreation Department, and assists home garden clients.
Zach Berkowitz is a Viticultural Consultant in Sonoma and Napa counties.
Gail Davis works for Sonoma County as an Erosion Control Specialist for orchards and vineyards.
Laura Mendes earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of California Santa Cruz in alternative agriculture education and a master of science degree in agriculture (emphasis in crop science) from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. At UCSC, she served as a Research Assistant for the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems. After teaching Agriculture at Fallbrook Union High School, Laura joined the teaching staff at SRJC in 2000, serving as the Instructor and Program Coordinator for Sustainable Agriculture. She developed a viticulture and winemaking program at St. Helena High School. Laura currently serves as the interim Program Coordinator for the Sustainable Agriculture Program at SRJC. She has been active with the California Agricultural Teachers' Association, serving as CATA Regional President, and is currently involved in numerous industry groups.
Mike Porter is a Viticultural Consultant in Sonoma and Napa counties.