Congratulations Northeastern Junior College Employees of the Year 2021

Congratulations Northeastern Junior College Employees of the Year 2021

February 3, 2022
Employees of the Year 2021

Every year, Northeastern and the Community College System honors outstanding employees that are nominated by their colleagues for exemplary work performance. These awards are separated out into the five employee classifications as follows; Faculty Instructor of the Year, Rising Star Instructor of the Year, Adjunct Instructor of the Year, Administrative Professional Technical Employee of the Year, and Classified Employee of the Year. Northeastern is very proud to announce the winners of this year’s awards.

Faculty Instructor of the Year is awarded to Nathan Robinson, Theatre Instructor. Nathan began at Northeastern in 2015. Nathan’s nomination states, “Nathan is able to muster a broad range of participation from his students for his theater performances and his students really respect him. The students who take his public speaking class have nothing but good things to say about the experience and he can bring even the shyest students out of their shell. Every semester starting a few weeks into classes, Nathan starts his rehearsals for the eventual performances that happen later in the semester, and we see him pull long days on campus, arriving early in the morning for teaching duties only to leave well past when the building has already emptied after dark. A teacher of Nathan's caliber deserves teacher of the year at least once in his career, but he's not one to toot his own horn.” The Theatre Department will be putting on a musical this spring, under the direction of Nathan Robinson, and will definitely be an event you will not want to miss! Congratulations Nathan! 

Adjunct Instructor of the Year is awarded to Allen Heggen. Allen is an adjunct instructor in the Liberal Arts Department at NJC.  He has taught English 115, 121, and 122 in the past and currently teaches Humanities 121 and 122.  Allen only recently started teaching Humanities courses and he will tell you he is having more fun than he has ever had in the classroom!  Students describe him as kind and extremely knowledgeable and they love how much interesting material he shares with them. They will also tell you that their favorite part of class is when he spontaneously bursts into song.  Students love Allen because he is an excellent instructor, but also because they feel he respects them so much and treats each of them with dignity. Allen is always reliable and student oriented. Northeastern is very lucky to have such a wonderful adjunct instructor like Allen! Congratulations Mr. Heggen!


Rising Star Instructor is awarded to Tim Opyt, History Instructor. Tim Opyt is an outstanding educator who genuinely cares about the subject he teaches and his students. Tim is a fantastic storyteller, and creates memorable history lessons for his students. In addition, Tim’s students respect him, and he does whatever it takes for them to be successful: he is always available to help. Tim challenges his students. They read primary historical sources and he expects excellent writing in the essays he assigns. He holds them to a high standard and consistently sets expectations for them. Tim is a caring individual, and it shows through his teaching. Tim is nothing short of amazing! Congratulations Tim!


The Classified Employee of the Year is awarded to Lauren Montoya. Lauren is the Administrative Assistant for Records and Financial Aid on campus. Lauren is such a light here on campus. She’s positive, friendly, and makes students feel comfortable. She is an extremely hard worker and has been a go-to person for me when I have questions or need any help! Lauren is a tremendous asset to this campus in how she builds relationships with students and helps them navigate their time here. She is always 100% student focused and does her best to brighten and lighten the student experience. Congratulations Lauren!


The Administrative/Professional/Technical Employee of the Year is awarded to Snow Staples. Snow challenges people in the best way with important questions and insight. She is always thinking about what is best for students and is a true advocate for supporting students with whatever their needs are. It is hard work to support all students in that role, and she does a great job. Snow has been a quiet leader among COVID chaos. In addition to her regular job duties, she has been solely responsible for tracking all student’s COVID positive cases. She connects with both the high schools and health department regarding quarantine/isolation dates. Snow then contact traces and notifies all individuals that may have been “exposed” and advises them regarding the most current COVID procedures. In addition, she constantly maintains an up-to-date tracking sheet to share with leadership at a moment’s notice.

In addition to managing COVID cases, she has also performed above and beyond contacting students regarding academic alerts and attendance issues. If there is a student in the classroom struggling, odds are Snow has texted, emailed, and met with them regarding their situation and provided them endless opportunities for support. Her consistent effort to contact students that are struggling has “saved” countless students over the last couple years of uncertainty. We are very lucky to have this hardworking, unsung hero at Northeastern. Congratulations Snow!

View All News Submit a Story