Retiring Trustee Tom Breen Receives Sendoff from Gavilan College Boardby Jan Janes on Dec 2, 2016
During the regularly scheduled board meeting, Superintendent/President Kathleen Rose led off the remarks to Breen and hinted at a gentle roast to come. Discovering his full involvement with the college required a bit of digging.
"You've served the board with distinction and honor in 16 years, and the district would like to thank you for that service," she said. Citing her presidential rights, Rose also pulled his transcript. She noted his GPA and the range of classes he took, which included drawing and composition, conversational Spanish and astronomy.
"Astronomy, pretty darn good at a B," Rose said. In addition to board responsibilities, Breen became part of the college community as a student.
"And as a new president last summer, when I showed up to my Coffee & Conversation event in San Juan Bautista at Vertigo Coffee, you were right there ready to talk. I really appreciated that," she said.
Longtime Trustee Kent Childs thanked Breen for his friendship and service. "Your wisdom, incredible humor and humanistic tendencies to lead the board will be sadly missed."
Tom Breen and Kent Childs worked together on the Gavilan College Board
of Trustees for more than a decade, and both attended Gav college classes.
During his tenure, Breen served on four subcommittees: Kinesiology and Athletics, Facilities, Community Education and Offsite Education Center. He supported the passage of Gavilan's Measure E Bond and served on the advisory board of the Aviation Maintenance Technology program.
"Tom and I started exactly the same time and had the same mission here at Gavilan when we started," said Trustee Mark Dover. "I was the young loudmouth who wouldn't be quiet, Tom was the quiet one." Dover said Breen served as the rock who pulled the board together.
Walt Glines, a board member for six years, thanked Breen for his service to the community. "He cares, he's thoughtful, has a great sense of humor," said Glines. "He will be missed."
"I've only known Tom for the five years I've been on the board," said Jonathan Brusco, "and he's been an incredibly honest person, a pleasure to work with." He noted the Breen family's historical roots in the Central Valley, thanking him for his work as well as his comments on Benito Link articles.
Before running for election as a trustee, Breen served as a judge in the Superior Court of California, San Benito County from 1980 to 2000.
Board President Laura Perry shared a story of meeting Breen when she was a newly minted attorney working on her second case and needed a summons extension. She panicked when he said no. "I've known Judge Breen since 1992, he ran for the board in 2000, and he's been a phenomenal board member," she said. "You are often the voice of calm and of reason, and the college has benefited greatly from your thought and wisdom."
Gavilan College Board of Trustees President Laura Perry presents retiring
Trustee Tom Breen with a gift. "It has all our phone numbers in it, so he
can call and take us to lunch," Perry kidded.
Dashing to the meeting following the women's basketball team one-point win at the buzzer, Ron Hannon, Dean of Kinesiology and Athletics, talked about the support he received from Breen when first starting at Gavilan. They discussed the different directions the sports program could take and embarked on a long process. "You and other board members were very specific," Hannon said. "You wanted to see our student athletes be successful."
"And you still get to come and sit in the stands and cheer on the coaches and our student athletes, because that's something they all appreciate–seeing you in the stands," Hannon said.
Breen, speaking last, reminded everyone he was leaving the board because of changes in the district's election maps. "The reason I'm not going to be on the board anymore is because this board voted me out," he said to laughter, sharing his legendary humor. He introduced family members attending the meeting to honor his retirement, describing the links each of them has to Gavilan College through academics, training and sports.
"We have lots of connections to Gav in my family, so thanks!" said Breen.
Tom Breen gets a hug from his granddaughter during a break in the
Gavilan College Board of Trustees meeting.