Dr. Ronald Kraft

Dr. Ronald Kraft, superintendent and president of Napa Valley College.

Welcome to the inaugural College Matters column, where I and other members of the college community will share news and updates from Napa Valley College, your community college and a hub of culture, arts, training and education.

I joined Napa Valley College as superintendent/president in 2012 after spending 25 years in California community colleges and universities. It is a strong school with a bright future, and I remain excited about guiding it to greater heights. The college exists to serve our community by educating students so they can transform their lives, providing skilled employees for the workforce, and offering cultural, athletic and public events that contribute to making Napa County a vibrant place to live and work.

I am proud that Napa Valley College continues to be a top-rated California community college, with a talented mix of full-time and part-time faculty, staff and administrators who support our educational goals. The campus is small enough to maintain a nurturing atmosphere, yet large enough to implement innovative educational programs and activities.

We are currently working on supporting and implementing a number of state initiatives. Guided Pathways is a multi-year program intended to significantly improve student outcomes. The College Promise campaign allows students to complete a community college education without taking on mountains of student debt. And A Degree with a Guarantee streamlines the transfer process between the California Community Colleges and participating four-year colleges and universities for students achieving an associate’s degree.

We’re also working on implementing legislation like AB 705, which took effect last year and will result in new and significant enhancements to Napa Valley College’s support programs and course offerings in English and math beginning this fall. To address the new requirements, we are working with high schools, have revised the pre-collegiate and freshman English and math curricula and developed new placement processes and standards for all incoming students.

In this column, we will offer information about events and activities taking place at the college like Viva Mariachi on March 16, Napa County’s first Mariachi-related educational and cultural event celebrating the rich heritage and cultural traditions of Mexico through performances by acclaimed high school and college ensembles.

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This month also features several performances of “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by our theater professor Jennifer King in the college’s Performing Arts Center. On March 9, our Upper Valley Campus is hosting a free workshop on Shrinking Your Carbon Footprint, and on March 16 it will offer the second annual Napa Valley Cooking School Cookbook Exchange.

Mark your calendars for May 2-4, when Napa Valley College students, faculty and staff will perform a selection of short plays, monologues, dance pieces, song, poetry and other forms of artistic expression in Emergence Festival 3.0, curated by Danielle Cain.

Finally, in future columns, I will also share stories about our administration, faculty, staff, trustees, current students and alumni — the true heartbeat of Napa Valley College. This is an exciting time for the college — and for Napa — and we look forward to a future of growth and increased community involvement.

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Dr. Ronald Kraft is the superintendent/president of Napa Valley College. College Matters is a new column on the first and third Mondays of each month.