....1025 Old Farm Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360••••• Main, 805-497-2761Fax, 805-374-1167•••••• www.ConejoAdultEd.org••••••WASC-accredited



Staff Spotlight
More testimonials in these programs:
Student... Computer Medical Adult Basic Ed Learning Center
Staff... Computer Medical Adult Basic Ed Community
Computer staff:
Michele Baggenstoss Diane Folsom David Mitchell Jody Tiefel Cindy Wagner
'Never fear a computer—treat it with no more respect than you give to your toaster. Learn to make it do what you want.'— Cindy Wagner, Coordinator

Cindy Wagner, Coordinator, Computer Training Center

Cindy Wagner, right, Computer Training Center Coordinator


Cindy Wagner, a long-time Thousand Oaks resident, has been using personal computers and training people to work with them since 1982.

A graduate of CSUN in Business Administration, Ms. Wagner worked as a manager/trainer in publishing and direct marketing companies before choosing teaching as her vocation in 1999.

The mother of two adult children, Cindy listened to her father's wise advice when her children were young. He advised her to always have a computer at their house because he believed that his grandchildren needed to be using technology as it evolved throughout their lives. Cindy agreed, knowing that in her generation there is a large number of adults that did not grow up with computers and find using them very difficult & frustrating--even frightening to some degree. Helping people learn how to use their computers to get jobs and to make their lives better is a big reason Cindy continues to enjoy her job at the Conejo Valley Adult School.

Cindy often tells her students, "Never fear a computer--treat it with no more respect than you give to your toaster. Learn to make it do what you want."

Jody Tiefel, Teacher

Jody Tiefel, our longest-serving instructor in the Adult School's Computer Training Center program, has had the unique opportunity of witnessing the evolution of the digital revolution from a teaching perspective. She was there from the dawn of its inception, all the way to the present-day, cutting-edge technology. Indeed, the access we have to all kinds of devices and software that is now available and is taken for granted, had its humble beginnings.

Before coming to the Adult School, Jody taught at Moorpark High School, where she comprised the entire business department, instructing students in shorthand, typing, bookkeeping, and office machines. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she served as the Work Experience Coordinator. Subsequently, when her son John was born, she decided to seek out other teaching opportunities that allowed for flexibility in her work schedule.

In 1983, when the Adult School's office was located in a portable building parked in front of Thousand Oaks High School, Jody could be found teaching evening classes there as well as at other district high schools. To open what was then called the Office Skills Lab, Jody took it upon herself to order all the


furniture, typewriters, and other office equipment.Computers? What computers? There were few that were being mass-produced for either personal or business purposes at the time but certainly not within the range of affordability for a school's budget. Eventually, someone donated a Radio Shack Tandy computer, and later on, the school acquired some IBM models for student use.

Jody grew up in Seattle, then later moved to Vancouver, Washington. She majored in business education and minored in history at a small Christian college and earned her degree and a teaching credential in those subject areas. During the next three years she taught in high schools in Washington and Portland, Oregon. In the summer of 1969, after finishing her first year of teaching, Jody received a scholarship to attend a 6-week course at UCLA for business education and home economics instructors. Little did she know how much that summer would change her life. During her stay, she met Joel, who would later become her husband, at his church in West Los Angeles. Eventually, when Jody moved to California, she started teaching locally by taking substitute positions in the Conejo and nearby districts.

Instructing courses in the Microsoft Office Suite--Word, Excel and PowerPoint--as well as Introduction to Computers, Mail Merge, Windows, and File Management, allows Jody to impart her expertise on the students fortunate to have her for an instructor. "I feel like I've died and gone to heaven," she exclaims, about having the opportunity to teach at the Adult School for so many years. It offers flexible hours such that she can enjoy life outside of the job, yet do what she loves to do--teach, which she continues to do, even though she recently "officially" retired. It allows her to keep her skills and knowledge of technological advances current, which is reflected in the ongoing revisions of the instructional curriculum materials that she has created.

"The students are so appreciative and encouraging, and I like to encourage them." She attributes the strong motivation of her adult students to being at a different place in their lives than that their high school counterparts. "My adult students know they have to work hard to get a job and be competitive out in the working world." Her love of being with people really benefits her students. In addition to her instructional role, she takes on mentoring and advising them beyond the classroom, and she enjoys seeing their progress and shares in celebrating their success.

Jody's husband Joel retired from teaching Chemistry and Biology at Moorpark High School in 2011. Her adult son, John who has special needs, serves as an inspiration for her. She has traveled to various countries such as Cuba and Peru to deliver wheelchairs to physical disabled people through the Christian ministry organization, Joni and Friends. She and her husband also assist in running a Newbury Park-based church group for disabled teens and adults, in which they enjoy teaching Bible stories to the participants.

Outside of teaching and involvement with her church, Jody enjoys working with her hands, pursuing the art of cross-stitching, an activity she finds relaxing. At the same time, she continues to keep her hands in the digital realm by staying current with the latest computerized devices and applications, such that those around her consider her to be the go-to tech guru.

Interview & Article by B. Kane

Diane Folsom, Teacher


'I really like that the students who come to my classes really are eager to learn what the course has to offer' ...Students like taking the fast-track courses, rather than the ones offered at the college level that might take longer to complete.... 'This way, they can get a jumpstart, with first-hand experience.' — Diane Folsom

Diane Folsom reports for double-duty in two of the Adult School programs, both in related subject areas. For the Computer Training Center her specialty is QuickBooks I & II, and in Community Service she's the evening instructor for the 4-part Bookkeeping Certificate Program. It is her goal to help her students acquire a foundational knowledge and the necessary tools via hands-on learning that they can apply once they enter the workforce.

She has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Accounting from California Lutheran University, a Designated Subject Credential in the subject of Accounting and runs a business that offers QuickBooks consulting and bookkeeping for small businesses.

It was in August of 2005 that she started teaching for the Adult School. "I really like that the students who come to my classes are eager to learn what the courses have to offer," says Diane, who enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.

Diane gets the ball rolling when it comes to her leisure time by competing in a bowling league. She enjoys reading and taking in a good movie.

Whether one is just starting out in the field or is a small- or medium-sized business owner, Diane is ready and willing to provide her expertise and guidance with navigating through the various requisite accounting skills that enable the businessperson to effectively and with the utmost confidence get the facets of their financial house in order. All this with the command of a powerfully sophisticated, yet user-friendly computer application.

Interview & Article by B. Kane



For more information, please call 805-497-2761 ext. 1301, or e-mail Daren Iezza at DarenI@ConejoAdultEd.org

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