Former Hancock College educator Suzanne Levy was sworn in to a seat on Hancock's board of trustees Tuesday after triumphing in November's two-person race to represent Area 2.

Levy took her oath of office over Zoom along with reelected trustees Hilda Zacarias and Jeffery Hall, who will be entering their third and second terms, respectively.

Fellow board members applauded and congratulated Levy after she was sworn in by college President and Superintendent Kevin G. Walthers. 

“We look forward to working closely with our new trustee as we continue our mission to change the odds for students in our community and ensure student success,” Walthers said.

As the board's Area 2 trustee, Levy represents the areas of Orcutt, Cuyama Valley and southern Santa Maria. She ran against Kerri Common, a former classified employee at Hancock, for the position, and replaces outgoing Area 2 trustee Dan Hilker, who served one term on the board. 

Levy's work with Hancock began in her role as a computer science teacher at the college in 1990, where she stayed for 13 years before becoming a program specialist at Santa Maria's Brandman University.

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From 2012 to 2018, she worked as a medical education specialist and training specialist for Marian Regional Medical Center, connecting Hancock medical students with internships. 

In retirement, she has held several leadership roles at Hancock and in the community, serving on the board of directors for the college's Pacific Conservatory Theatre, the North County Women's Fund, the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Children's Museum and the Orcutt Children's Art Foundation. 

Her education includes a bachelor's degree in teaching mathematics, a master's degree in electrical and computer engineering and a doctorate in education.

“My heart has always been with Hancock, and I always tried to say involved with the college even after I left,” Levy said. “I look forward to working with this board, Dr. Walthers, and all our campus and community stakeholders to continue this college’s history of excellence and service to our students.”

Zacarias ran unopposed for her Area 1 seat, representing central and northern Santa Maria, and Hall emerged victorious in his race against challenger Robert Mercado for the Lompoc Valley Area 4 seat.

Hall was nominated once again for the role of board vice president at the Tuesday meeting, with trustee Larry Lahr nominated as the board president. 

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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