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Sirena Phillips

Sirena Phillips selected as fall Classified Employee of the Quarter

Yakima Valley College recently selected Sirena Phillips for the fall Employee of the Quarter Award. Phillips is a program assistant in the College and Career Readiness division.

The Classified Employee of the Quarter Award is presented quarterly to one employee who demonstrates a high level of job performance, quality customer service and adherence to YVC’s mission and core themes.

“It is simply human nature to admire people we see at the forefront who are diligently facilitating for the success of our institution’s academic endeavors. Equally impressive are the individuals who are working quietly and tirelessly behind the scenes to keep all the proverbial plates spinning effortlessly in the air. Sirena Phillips is one of those individuals,” noted one colleague who nominated her for the award.

“Sirena Phillips establishes the platform by which we are able to achieve our college’s mission and core themes,” shared another colleague. “Without her continuously scheduling/rescheduling classes and enrolling students throughout the quarter in an accurate, problem-solving manner, there wouldn’t be students to serve. From my perspective, she is that single point of contact who determines if a student starts effectively on an educational pathway or not. Even during the COVID-19 phase of YVC service delivery, she has been able to effectively recalibrate the support the institution offers to all students and staff members — even those in rural communities like mine with very limited access to technology.”

“When I introduce Ms. Phillips to our students and new staff members, I always make a point to highlight her professional behaviors. They can expect a timely response from her; they can be assured that the information she provides is accurate, and they will witness firsthand her ability to be flexible and creative in her approach to accomplish their requests,” shared another staff member. “With data and often conflicting information coming from faculty, staff and students simultaneously throughout the quarter, I am impressed by how she accomplishes our class rosters and multiple sectors of enrollment so seamlessly — all with a positive attitude! This exemplifies the notion that getting a job done well requires more of an YVC employee than just accomplishing the required daily tasks. To be successful like Sirena Phillips, one must always have a flexible, campus community builder-type attitude at the forefront to resolve the inconsistencies and navigate through ‘it can’t be done’ mindset.”

Another colleague noted how Phillips was personally responsible for making certain that two ‘late to enroll’ Ellensburg Step up to College (SUTC) students were successfully enrolled into a Student Success Class and ultimately assigned to SUTC classes for fall quarter 2021.

“By Ms. Phillips spending the very, very last minutes of her work week (and undoubtedly beyond her reported time) ensuring these two students were enrolled and moving effectively back into an educational experience, she showcased a concrete example of an individual YVC staff member caring about whether they were immediately successful or not,” the nominator noted. “She also demonstrated that YVC is committed to working collaboratively with their instructors, their high school counselors, parents and community partners such as People for People to make it easier instead of harder for them to obtain an education. That can be an overwhelmingly positive experience to a 16-year-old who has been routinely marginalized at school and who feels like the educational system has been stacked against them.”

Employees who have been employed by YVC for at least one year are eligible for this award.