Time for travel

The President of the United States has 14 secretaries. The president of Citrus College has two.

Correction: Make that one.

Pamela Sewell, administrative assistant to Citrus College superintendent/president Geraldine M. Perri, Ph.D., is retiring after 27 years on campus.

“I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Pam,” Perri said. “[She] will be missed greatly. Her contributions to Citrus College are many and will always be remembered.”

A longtime Glendora resident, Sewell began her employment at Citrus College in February 1985. She would spend 14 out of her next 16 years in the department working for then-vice president of human resources Jean Malone.

“I just loved HR,” Sewell said. “I actually came to Citrus for a part-time job [but] got a full-time job. I was only going to stay for a little while because my son was 5 at that time, [but] I’m still here. And he’s 32, married, and moved out of state.”

The full-time position she accepted was that of personnel coordinator—responsible for all things job-related on campus, from accepting initial applications to interviewing potential candidates.

“It’s funny, because I’ve had so many people say ‘You’re the first face I saw when I came to Citrus College’ . . . you just got to know people on campus. You knew everybody who got hired. They shared everything with you: their families, where they came from, [where] they taught. I liked that.”

Seeking both a challenge and an opportunity for growth, Sewell accepted a position in 2001 as administrative assistant to then superintendent/president Louis Zellers.

She would maintain her position as administrative assistant for the next 11 years, working for Michael Viera during his five-year tenure from 2003-08 following Zellers’s retirement, then for president/superintendent Perri after her arrival in 2008.

Having to adjust to the various leadership styles of three of the college’s leaders is no small feat. Citrus has only hired seven superintendent/presidents since the college was founded in 1915.

“It’s [a] very high-stress [job],” said Christine Link, who has worked alongside Sewell since 2002 as the second administrative assistant to the superintendent/president.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on, from students, to grievances, to union issues, to the community, to parades. There’s a lot of demands, a lot of multitasking and [Pam] just jumps in whenever we need her she can anticipate things I haven’t even thought about sometimes.”

Now, after having served the college for nearly three decades, Sewell says she’s looking forward to spending time with her family, traveling to Europe and working on her snorkeling and parasailing skills.

She says she’ll miss the people at Citrus College the most.

“You walk out of a building and you’ve got people practicing performances, dancing, music, playing guitars or singing,” Sewell said. “Or you’ve got the astronomy [students] looking through their telescopes up at the sky . . . there’s so much to offer here at the college, and people are interested and involved.”

“[Once] you’ve been here for 27 years, you kind of miss things. And the people [here] are the best.”