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OJC Press Release ID: 2555

Monday, August 29, 2016

OJC announces new faculty for 2016-2017

With the start of a new academic year, Otero Junior College is proud to announce the addition of several new faculty members.

Richard Gambino, who claims both West Texas and San Francisco as home, has joined the Math and Science department as Developmental Math Faculty. He will be supporting student success in qualitative and algebraic literacy and contributing to other faculty growth and development.

Gambino has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas - El Paso, a Master of Arts degree in educational administration from New Mexico State University and a Master of Arts degree in education from the University of Denver.

Gambino’s work experience includes teaching at several community colleges and universities in New Mexico and California and at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy.  He also has experience working for various utilities, including gas and electric.

“I am here because of OJC’s commitment to student success.  Few colleges hire faculty specifically to support students that need a little extra help and support,” said Gambino. 

Outside of work, Gambino enjoys photography and watching baseball.

Helen Haley, Las Animas, joins the nursing faculty. She will be teaching psychosocial nursing.
After 20 years as a K-12 special education teacher, Haley returned to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Colorado State University-Pueblo.  She is currently working on her master’s degree in nursing education. Haley has worked in several areas of the nursing field including cardiac care, emergency nursing, med-lines, and in the prison system.

“Coming to OJC to teach is like coming home,” said Haley. “My sister works here. My son graduated from here. I am teaching the children and grandchildren of people I went to school with.”

Haley’s goal is to complete her master’s degree and move into a leadership position. In her free time, Haley enjoys reading, crocheting, cross stitch, garden and lawn work and caring for her three dogs. 

Jesse Hight, La Junta, moved from part time to full time automotive faculty.  He brings 45 years’ experience to his role; having worked in various Ford dealerships, independent auto repair shops and two bus manufacturing plants. 

“I was assistant to the previous automotive instructor and am interested in seeing the current automotive students complete their classes,” said Hight. “My goal is to prepare these students for successful careers in the automotive industry.”

Hight enjoys auto restoration and auto racing.  He is married and has seven children, 15 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Dol Nath Khanal, Nepal, joins OJC’s math and science faculty.  He will be teaching algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics courses. 

Khanal earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Tribhuvan University in Nepal, a Master of Science degree in applied math from the University of Nevada-Reno, and a Master of Science degree in Statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Prior to OJC, Khanal was a teaching assistant at both the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Nevada-Reno as well as full-time math faculty at Xavier Academy. 

“Professionally, I am devoted to providing a comprehensive mathematics program to meet the needs of developmental students, transfer students and the students whose careers will rely heavily on mathematics,” said Khanal.

Khanal is married and has seven-year-old twin boys, Adit and Ashit.  He enjoys travel, social events and making new friends.

Cassidy Litle, from Winfield, Mo., is a new Arts faculty member. He will be teaching English, communication and theatre classes. 
Litle’s instruction background includes working as an English instructor at Western Illinois University and as an adjunct instructor at Carl Sandburg College and Spoon River College.  He received a Master of Arts degree in English from Western Illinois University and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and history from Culver-Stockton College. 

“I was drawn to the small, community-oriented focus of the college from my first visit,” said Litle. “My best experiences as a student came from small classes with faculty dedicated to each student and OJC values the same experience. I hope to teach English and communication courses that are accessible, relevant and empowering for students while developing theatre courses to expand the ways students can express themselves.”

Outside of work, Litle enjoys creative writing; in particular, science fiction short stories and absurdist plays.  He also enjoys playing guitar, running and playing video games.  He and wife, Emily, have an infant son.

Emily Litle, a native of Canton, Ill., has joined Arts department, teaching Developmental English and English Composition.

Litle gained her teaching experience as an adjunct instructor for Spoon River College and Carl Sandburg College in west central Ill. She also has experience as an outreach worker for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission on Financial Aid and Student Mentoring program.  She earned an Associate of Arts degree from Spoon River College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Illinois College, a Master of Arts degree from Western Illinois University and a post-baccalaureate certificate in literary studies.

“OJC prepares students for transfer or for career entry. It is very student focused,” said Litle. “The interview committee all seemed to love OJC so much. I know I can find a home here. I hope to expand my resources as an English faculty member and incorporate pop culture and digital media into the learning environment.”

When not working, Litle enjoys cooking and eating new foods, exploring the outdoors with my family and reading. She also hopes to learn to sew.  Born to an agricultural family, Litle appreciates the small town atmosphere of La Junta. The Litles have a son who was born in May.

Jeffrey Reed, McLean, Va. /Washington, D.C., is OJC’s new History/Political Science faculty.

Reed has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Harvard and a Master of Arts degree and a PhD from Emory University. Most recently he served as department chair for the Culture, History and Politics department at the College of Western Idaho in Boise. Prior to that, Reed was a history and political science instructor at several Midwestern institutions and also did a stint as a writer/editor and communications specialist for USAID.

“I wanted to get back to teaching after being an administrator for three years,” said Reed. “I love teaching at community colleges, particularly small colleges, the position at OJC seemed a natural fit.  My goals are to be the best teacher I can, to get students excited about history and politics and see them grow as scholars and individuals.  I also want to contribute to the institution in any way I can.”  

Reed’s hobbies include reading and playing and collecting board games. He is married and has four dogs, Machiavelli, Simone, Paz and Marley.

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Richard Gambino, Developmental Mathematics

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Helen Haley, Nursing

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Jesse Hight, Automotive