This year, seven Centralia College faculty and staff will be retiring, representing 196 years of cumulative service to the college. All are invited to a reception in their honor on Thursday, June 4, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the cafeteria.
A big thank you to each of the following individuals for their dedication to our students and school. You will be greatly missed!
BEVERLY GESTRINE came to Centralia College in 1975 after completing her master’s degree in counseling. Over the past 40 years, Gestrine has served the college in a number of administrative positions including continuing education, assessment, programs for women and senior citizens, and more recently as the Director of Worker Retraining for the WorkFirst and BFET programs. Much of her career has involved writing and administering grants. During her time at CC, Gestrine earned several honors including the 2002-3 Student Employee Supervisor of the Year and the 2006 SPIRE Award for exempt person of the year. She authored and co-authored several articles. In addition, she helped to design and implement the correspondence course program for Centralia College as well as the Drug and Alcohol Certificate Program, programs in Gerontology, Hearing-Impaired Studies, Paralegal Studies, and classes in senior centers throughout the county. She says, “The greatest honor has been serving all the students over the years and working with the best staff team in the whole world. This is really a great place to work.” During her retirement, Gestrine plans to travel to Hawaii, Mexico and Puerto Rico. When at home, she hopes to paint, play the violin and ukulele, take long walks with her dogs, attend campus events, and “Oh, yes, clean out closets…if I get time.”
CHUCK HILL taught in the Centralia College nursing program for 11 years. Drawn here by the opportunity to teach nursing in his local community, Hill specialized in Mental Health and Community Nursing. After retiring, Hill plans to travel with his wife, volunteer, and enjoy “those sweet, quiet days at home.”
DR. DONNA HUFFMAN is known for her many contributions to the music program at Centralia College. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Huffman has taught courses in music theory, music history, and music technology. In addition to teaching and conducting the Centralia College Choir and Jazz Band classes, she has also conducted the Lewis County Community Band, a community education class. An Ohio native, Dr. Huffman studied trumpet performance and music theory at the Bowling Green State University and Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She then studied in France, earning her Degree Elementaire Cours de Civilisation Francaise from the University de Paris, La Sorbonne, and later went on to earn both her Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois. In recognition of her excellent work, Dr. Huffman received the Exemplary Status by the Washington Community College Humanities Association, Exceptional Faculty Award by Centralia College, and the NISOD Excellence Award. Dr. Huffman is looking forward to playing golf after she retires.
RANDY JOHNSON started teaching here part time in 1981 and full time since 1987. Drawn to Centralia College because of his interest in working with underprepared students, Johnson landed an English faculty position teaching pre-college English and intensive English for international students. In addition to advising many international students, he was also active on the Diversity Committee. In 2008 he was named Exceptional Faculty. Once he retires, Johnson is looking forward to taking it easy, having more time at home with his family, and continuing to volunteer in the community.
CANDY LUNKE has been helping students and coordinating events around campus for the past 25 years. After working in Financial Aid as a part time assistant for a year, Lunke moved to Admissions to serve as the Admissions Team Coordinator. Meanwhile, she also attended part time classes at Evergreen, completing her B.A. in 1994. When the combined Student Activities and Admissions Team (SAAT) was created, Lunke was hired to work as their advisor. Later, she took on the role of Events Coordinator, her current position, which she has held for the past ten years. As the campus contact for the Seattle to Portland bike ride, Lunke nominated Centralia College last year for the Outstanding Institutional Achievement Award for hosting the STP midpoint. She proudly received the award on behalf of the college at the Association of College Event Directors International conference in 2014. After she retires, Lunke says she plans to “turn off the alarm clock, spend a lot of time outside, travel with my husband, and relax.”
PAUL MITCHELL decided to come to Centralia College in 1984 after touring the Northwest and falling in love with Washington’s greenery. He also jumped at the chance to help adults in transition—something he has done successfully for the past 31 years. As a counselor, Mitchell helped students through pre-admission, goal-setting, career exploration, educational planning, and personal problem-solving. During the 20 years Mitchell served as Counseling Director and Advising Chair, he was proud that the college received commendations for the faculty advising system in both the 2000 and 2010 accreditation reviews. After retiring, Mitchell plans to hike with his dog, travel with his wife in their motor home, and “explore new ways of involving myself in the world.”
JULIE PRIDAY began teaching physical education, health, human biology, and nutrition classes at Centralia College 30 years ago. “It has been great to teach the subjects that I am passionate about,” says Priday, a transplant from Australia with degrees in Physical Education and Exercise Science. Originally hired to teach in the Exercise Leader program as an adjunct faculty, she became a full time faculty member within four years, teaching everything from tennis to biochemistry. During retirement, Priday looks forward to visiting her family in Australia any month of the year. She plans to enjoy her roses, children, grandchildren, play more tennis and golf, and “never have to grade another paper ever again—what a relief!” She believes her greatest achievement is making a difference. Knowing that students have lost weight or gained knowledge about their health or changed their diet as a result of her instruction makes her proud to have taught at Centralia College. “I believe I have saved lives.”