‘Mentor, friend’ inspires community

Former dental assisting professor retires after 29 years of serving students


Cody Perez / The Advocate

Health education department Chairperson Sandra Everhart applauds as Aminta Mickles introduces her during the Retirement Reception and Staff Reunion event at Fireside Hall on Friday.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

When an educator’s career comes to an end, the measure of its success is not the amount of money that was earned but how many lives were impacted for the better and the number of students who were inspired.

For professor Sandra Everhart, the foundation of her career is fostered in improving the lives of faculty and students at Contra Costa College.

Hired in 1988 as an adjunct professor in the dental assisting department, Everhart was hired as a full-time professor in 1990 and served as the chairperson of the dental assisting department until the program was dissolved in 2013.

After 29 years of service to the college, Everhart will step down from the CCC faculty in June.

As a member of the CCC campus community, Everhart has filled the void in multiple departments and has been a member of many of the committees and programs that have helped to evolve the campus and its curriculum to better fit the needs of future generations of students.

“Because of Sandra, I began to learn more about CCC,” health and human services department Chairperson Aminta Mickles said.

“She took me under her wing and taught me different things. I thank her for being my mentor and friend.”

Mickles introduced Everhart at the college’s annual retirement reception on Friday.

Everhart served as the college’s professional development coordinator and on the Contra Costa Community College District’s Professional Development Committee.

Everhart also served on committees such as the Compressed Calendar Committee, Enrollment Management Committee and the Vocation Education/Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee.

Her efforts have spurred meaningful change in the lives of English as a second language (ESL) students looking to earn a meaningful wage in a vocational field. She co-authored the grant for funding to support the Vocational Educational Program for ESL students (VESL).

In addition, the professor also served as the CCC faculty representative for United Faculty, the union that represents college faculty.

However, Everhart said her most meaningful contribution to the growth of the campus has been the dedication she displayed for so many years to the students in the CCC dental program.

After the campus lost its dental program in 2013, Everhart briefly served as co-chairperson and then chairperson of the physical education/kinesiology department, while teaching health education courses.

Although new to the department, the professor’s experience and passion for enhancing the positives in a program to maximize its success made an immediate and lasting impact.

“Sandra retiring is a huge loss for the campus, but I’m happy for her. She’s been very helpful in the athletic department and with me personally,” health education/kinesiology professor Nikki Ferguson said.

“It wasn’t her job description that made her important, it was her knowledge and insight about how departments should operate.”

In retirement, after such a full career, Everhart looks forward to doing whatever she feels like doing — or not doing.

“I’m looking forward to spending time with family and reconnecting with friends,” Everhart said.

Schools need educators like Everhart and community colleges need qualified professionals who care.

Often, students at community colleges slip through funding gaps and need help from people like Everhart, who stood for many who otherwise may have been forgotten.

The dental assisting program always maintained National Board accreditation status and scores of her students have been and are employed in dental offices throughout the greater Bay Area.