Volume 47, Number 1
Victor Valley coach reveals her secrets
By Debra Blanchard, Victor Valley College
In 1979, I graduated from college in Arizona and obtained part-time work with Rio Salado Community College in the Phoenix area. I drove 350 miles a week and worked in five different locations. At the same time, I also worked for Mesa Community College, teaching one class. Two years later, my husband and I moved to Texas, where I could not find even part-time teaching and ended up working as a waitress in two restaurants and then in real estate. Although I kept trying to find work teaching, it never happened. After eight years in Texas, we moved to Kansas, where again I found no teaching jobs at all.
Finally, 11 years after I graduated, I moved back to California, settling in Ventura. It was too late to get a teaching job for fall, so I took a job driving a school bus. I drove the school bus for one year until I was able to find one class at Oxnard College, followed by other classes at Ventura College. During the same time, I volunteered as an assistant coach for the Ventura College Women’s Basketball team.
In the fall of 1991, I was fortunate to land the women’s basketball head-coaching job at College of the Canyons, plus one volleyball class. I was still living in Ventura, and had to drive from there to Valencia every day, still maintaining the classes at Oxnard and Ventura. I worked until almost 10 p.m. at Canyons, made the one-hour drive home, and then had classes beginning at 8 a.m., in Ventura. During this time, I was raising two young daughters, and had to contend with finding a multitude of babysitters for them with periods that ranged from 7am to 10pm.
Between 1990 and 1992, I applied to 21 California Community Colleges for a full-time job. I interviewed at nine colleges ranging from Columbia to Southwestern. The only thing I kept hoping for was to not live in a hot weather area. I do not like the heat and with my discipline, we teach outside. Naturally, the college, which offered me a full-time job, was Victor Valley College…with heat in the late spring, summer and early fall of over 100 degrees. The job was much more important than my comfort so I quickly and gratefully accepted the offer. Finally, after 13 years of striving, I got that full-time job.
The Advocate invites you to send in your story of how you got your full-time job. E-mail Dina Martin at