The man behind the scenes

Tony Petzold spends long hours in the scene shop, creating and building sets for college drama productions.Tony Petzold

Whenever Centralia College’s Corbet and Wickstrom Theaters open their doors, Tony Petzold is there. Although the audience may never see him on stage, Tony’s technical skills and craftsmanship shine during every drama production and concert in Washington Hall. He’s the man working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure each performance runs like magic.

As Centralia College’s technical director, Tony manages everything from stage lighting and sound to set design and construction.

“I do everything backstage…including mopping the floor,” he said.

Tony works closely with Drama Professor Brian Tyrrell to develop and design sets that uniquely fit each college drama production. In addition, he provides technical assistance for all college concerts, lyceum lectures, staff meetings, and community events like the Nutcracker, dance recitals, high school plays, Lewis County concerts, town hall meetings, and even weddings and funerals!

Working primarily as a one-man crew, Tony often puts in long hours “doing whatever it takes to make events happen.” This coming year, he expects around 60 separate “door opening” events at Corbet, not including multiple performance days or extra days for rehearsals. He will be there every single one of those days.

Candy Lunke, Centralia College’s former events coordinator, worked closely with Tony on many occasions.

“Regardless of the type of event I was working on, Tony was the first person I would call to check on availability of the venue. Tony would be the first person to unlock the facility and open the theatre. He assisted with loading equipment, conducting sound checks, setting up of the venue, providing  lights and sound during the event, and then was the last person to leave and lock up the facility,” Lunke shared.

As if that didn’t keep him busy enough, Tony also teaches college classes to those wishing to learn backstage skills. Over his past 14 years at Centralia College, he has taught stagecraft and lighting for both theater and television, Drama 100 in the scene shop, and set design for theater. And when there weren’t enough students to form a class, he has offered an independent study option.

“I like academic theater—passing along that knowledge to the next generation coming up,” admits Tony, who enjoys watching students take that abstract technical information and apply it on stage in a creative performance. “It’s quite exciting.”

Tony works hard to involve students as much as he can, giving them opportunities to use the basic stagecraft skills they have learned in class to help him build sets. However, the more complicated technical aspects, such as programming and running the light board for performances, are often left to Petzold alone.

“There’s no one else in town who knows how to program the light board,” he admits. This is one of his concerns should he ever become sick or unable to work. One of his goals is to train students and interested community members to do some of more technical skills for this very reason.

Tony has a long history working in theater.

“I’ve been in and around theater since I was in third grade,” he said.

After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in puppetry, he spent four years in the Army working for the chaplain in Germany, where he gained valuable experience setting up for various events.

He later taught vocational and technical theater classes in the Kent School District, worked for the Village Theater in Issaquah, and taught at Mercer Island High School.

Tony came to Centralia College 14 years ago, just weeks before Washington Hall officially opened, and he is still here today—very much at home building and creating in his shop behind the scenes.

Jobs at CC

The following positions are now open at Centralia College.

  • Director of Enrollment (Student Services)
  • Talent Search Specialist (TRiO Programs)
  • Applications Developer (IT)
  • Adult Basic Education Assistant Professor (GHEC)
  • Diesel Technology Assistant Professor (Workforce Ed)
  • Counselor (Student Services/Counseling Center)
  • Pro-Rata Assistant Professor (CCEast Campus)
  • Computer Science Assistant Professor (Workforce Ed)
  • Adjunct English Instructors (Academic Transfer)
  • Adjunct Communications Instructor (Academic Transfer)
  • Office Assistant 3 (IT)
  • Secretary Senior(TRiO Programs) 
  • Art Instruction & Classroom Support Tech 1 (Academic Transfer)
  • Program Coordinator (Center of Excellence)

View these and other position announcements.

KNOLL workday Aug. 14

Volunteers help clear brush and weeds from China CreekKNOLL workday

Bring your garden gloves and join students and faculty, staff, and community members for the summer workday at the KNOLL from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14.  All are invited!

Refreshments and drinks will be provided, and you are encouraged to bring your own gardening gloves and reusable water bottle.

Volunteers will take advantage of the dry summer by weeding and cleaning up the banks around China Creek.

Thanks to a Hanke Staff Mini-grant, which was awarded to Emily Hovis, seasonal KNOLL workdays like this one will be offered once each quarter to enhance the native habitats in the outdoor learning lab. The grant provides funds for materials and refreshments.

If you are able to come, please contact Emily so she knows how many tools to bring and refreshments to provide.

You can reach Emily in the biology department  at or 360-736-9591, ext. 481.

TRIO receives $1.6 million grant

TRiO graduateThe U.S. Department of Education announced it has awarded Centralia College $1.6 million over five years to support TRIO Student Support Services for first-generation, low-income, and disabled college students.

“These funds allow Centralia College to provide critical support for students who might not be able to graduate and pursue their dreams without these additional services,” said Dr. Robert Frost, Centralia College president. “Our TRIO staff has been incredibly successful in helping these students earn degrees, continue in higher education, and transform their lives.”

The grant, which was awarded following a highly competitive, nationwide application process, will provide personalized academic advising, tutoring, transfer and career planning, mentoring, and specialized workshops and activities for up to 220 students annually.

“Sometimes young people need a helping hand to tap into their full potential, and Centralia College offers that help to our community through the TRIO program,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Camas). “I want to congratulate Centralia College on receiving this federal grant to empower individuals – those who are either living with disabilities, coming from low-income circumstances, first-generation college students, or overcoming other challenges– achieve and sustain successful lives.”

The mission of TRIO is to help students succeed in their classes, stay enrolled, and graduate with a certificate or associate degree, or transfer to a four-year college or university, explained Liisa Preslan, TRIO director at Centralia College.

“Our team at Centralia College does an outstanding job supporting the TRIO students,” she said. “We have great success rates and it’s an honor to continue to provide these services for the next five years.”

Robert Cox, vice president of Student Services, offered congratulations to Preslan and the TRIO team.

“Winning a $1.6 million dollar grant to fund these services for the next five years is a huge accomplishment, and speaks volumes about the talented people working in the TRIO program,” he said.

At Centralia College, TRIO Student Support Services assisted 241 students in 2013-14 academic year. Of those, 63 percent graduated and 56 percent transferred to a four-year college. Overall, 86 percent of TRIO participants stayed in college from one year to the next.

For more information on TRIO programs at Centralia College, call 360-736-9391, ext. 201.

CC leads development of library consortium

library 7.27.15Centralia College has taken the lead on developing a statewide library consortium among the state’s community and technical colleges.

The project, which will take two to three years to implement, will allow the sharing of resources across the CTC library system.

“This will be a leaps and bounds improvement to students and faculty at Centralia and across the state in terms of access to quality resources and information services,” says Sue Kennedy, dean of library and eLearning.

Currently, students and faculty members have access only to what is available in their own library. The consortium will open up resources of more than 30 community and technical colleges statewide, allowing students and faculty members to borrow resource materials through an inter-library loan and to access databases through shared licenses.

“Resources will expand exponentially,” Kennedy affirms.

Kennedy, who is on the governance committee for the project, has been helping to build the entire framework. She said they are looking at models of consortiums already implemented in Oregon and Ohio community and technical colleges.

The project will require colleges to migrate to a new library system. Julie Nurse, technology librarian, is leading Centralia College’s system migration, which is scheduled for this spring.

According to Kennedy, the project will allow colleges to leverage resources across the system so that librarians can focus on service and instruction.

“It’s truly a monumental time for CTC libraries!” she said.

Two new programs this fall

Survey and Mapping Technician is one of two new programs at CC this fall.

Survey and Mapping Technician and Industrial Automation are two new programs at CC this fall.

Starting this fall, Centralia College is offering two new Workforce Education programs designed to get adults into high-demand careers quickly.

Students are encouraged to apply immediately. Fall classes start Sept. 21.

For information about either program below, contact Workforce Education at 360-736-9391, ext. 427.

Industrial Automation

This two-year associate degree program prepares students for entry-level positions in the installation, repair, and preventative maintenance of industrial machinery, as performed by industrial maintenance mechanics or millwrights.

“The Industrial Automation program includes training in electronics, robotics mechatronics, and welding to expose students to the skills necessary to repair, install, adjust, and maintain industrial machinery,” explained Durelle Sullivan, dean of Workforce Education. “The program was developed with local employers, who have jobs available right now.”

Students who complete the program will simultaneously earn forklift, flagger, First Aid and CPR, and industry-specific robotics certifications.

Survey and Mapping Technician

Centralia College is offering a new program for adults seeking careers in land surveying and mapping. The job is perfect for those who who enjoy math and computers, but hate the idea of working at a desk.

In this one-year job training program, students learn field survey techniques, calculation, and office skills using hands-on training on a variety of instruments.

Students who complete the program will earn both a Land Survey and Mapping Technician Certificate and an Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) Certificate.

English instructor shares research

Dr. Rose Reigle.fw

Winner of one of the new campus Open Education Mini-grants, Dr. Rosemary Reigle is excited to share her research work with a greater audience through the open education format.

Dr. Reigle’s research project, “The Odyssey of Building the Foundation for Western Civilization as seen in Ancient Greek Literature,” stems from her love of Greek epic poetry, prose, and drama and her interest in the connection between ancient literature and the foundations of Western Civilization.

She hopes her work will inspire academic freedom by challenging readers to explore the concept of truth through intellectual discourse. The mini-grant will help cover research expenses.

In her work, Dr. Reigle poses this question: “When does myth become legend and legend become truth?” Referencing a quote by John Milton, “Let [Truth] and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter” [Milton, “Areopagitica,” 1644], Reigle believes Milton  expresses the “way to the truth is in a free and open public sphere.”

While Dr. Reigle offers her truth of how Greek literature is representative of Western Civilization in the 21st century and how it serves to build the foundation for our nation, she also wants to challenge her readers to grapple with her point of view—in essence, she desires for readers to enter into a kind of dialogue with her by asking, “Has this been scientifically proven to be true?” or “Is it reasonable to believe it?”

This kind of interaction promotes the kind of academic freedom Milton wrote about, which, according to Dr. Reigle, is “the freedom for scholars and intellectuals to express their ideas of truth, scientifically proven or perceived, through intellectual discourse both verbal and written.”