Napa Valley College has launched the “Dr. Ed Shenk Excellence in Student Service Award,” announced Oscar De Haro, assistant superintendent/vice president, student affairs. De Haro’s executive assistant, Martha Navarro, is the inaugural recipient of the award, created to recognize and honor student service staff members who have contributed to the success of Napa Valley College students through activities that promote student learning, retention and growth.
Navarro will be honored in the inaugural virtual ceremony on May 22 and will receive a monetary award in the amount of $500.
“It is my great honor and distinct privilege to announce the first-ever annual award specifically acknowledging the exemplary work of a student services/affairs employee,” said De Haro. “And I couldn’t be more proud that the generous donors selected my executive assistant to be the first recipient. Martha’s commitment and dedication are unmatched and she is so deserving of this award.”
The award is named in honor of Dr. Ed Shenk, who spent 30 years at Napa Valley College, first as assistant dean for student services and then retiring in December 2005 as vice president. It was created by Sue Dee Shenk and her parents, Jerry and Peggy Schlosser, who established a $25,000 endowment to fund an annual award. The donors reserved the right to select the first recipient, and chose Navarro. Future recipients will be selected through a nomination process by the Office of Student Affairs.
A longtime supporter of student services, Mrs. Shenk is a former Napa city councilmember and former executive director of Napa Valley Community Housing. She also led the efforts to build a school in Liberia for 100 children, which was dedicated in 2016.
“The student experience at Napa Valley College begins with an interaction with a student services employee. The consequences of this interaction can impact the quality of the student’s educational opportunities and success at Napa Valley College,” said Mrs. Shenk. “In addition, quality service is the hallmark of a valuable student service staff member. Empathy, integrity, listening skills, creative problem solving and asking the third question are skills that embody excellence in student services delivery by the personnel in student services.”
In his professional career, Dr. Shenk epitomized the criteria this award requires for consideration. “Dr. Shenk’s local, state and nationally recognized work in student services is a legacy that will never be matched,” said De Haro. “His genuine passion for the care and nurturing of students became the model expected of his managers and emulated by the entire student services staff.”
Prior to working at Napa Valley College, Dr. Shenk spent five years at Grossmont College, El Cajon, CA, and after retirement, worked another 10 years at Alliant International University, as well as serving an eight-month stint at City College of San Francisco.
The $25,000 endowment will be held and invested by the Napa Valley College Foundation, to ensure the continued monetary recognition of recipients in the future.