SAN MARCOS — When Jenny Fererro came to Palomar College in 2003, she knew she wanted to stay.

“I found a home at Palomar early on, and I’ve always known that this is a fabulous place for our students,” she said. “We’ve got some really great people at Palomar who care deeply about our students and our community—and I like being part of that.”

Across 19 years and counting, Fererro has taught hundreds of students in the Child Development and Education program—but she has also become an increasingly active leader on campus.

She now serves as the Palomar Faculty Federation Lead Negotiator, Vice President of the Faculty Senate, and the liaison between her academic department and the Early Childhood Education Lab School (ECELS). She spent a decade as the Chair of the Child Development and Education Department.

Fererro was named the 2022 “Woman of the Year” by the Empowered Women Alliance at Palomar College.

“Leadership is something I’ve always been drawn to. Being in leadership roles, I get to work with students and help students in a different way,” she explained. “Every semester, I’m in the classroom, but those other roles are always to help make sure our students have a phenomenal experience at Palomar. And I found early on at Palomar that meeting and collaborating people outside of your department is probably the number one way to keep your job exciting and fresh.”

“Nobody deserves this award more than Jenny Fererro,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey. “Her contributions to this institution are profound, and they keep growing every semester. Congratulations to our 2022 Woman of the Year.”

ECELS is a unique operation: a child education center that serves students and employees of the college (as well as some members of the local community) while providing educational opportunities for students in Fererro’s academic department.

“Our Lab School is a lab, just like the chemistry or biology labs—it’s a place for our students to learn the skills they need in order to enter the workforce, while also providing a service for our students, faculty, staff and community,” Fererro explained.

The school has been in operation for decades, and Fererro’s daughter, now a teenager, also attended the Lab School when she was young.

Those who know Fererro’s work said it came as no surprise when she was named Woman of the Year.

“Jenny Fererro is an inspirational and equity-minded leader,” said Dr. Hossna Sadat Ahadi, who founded the Empowered Women Alliance. “She continues to advocate for all women and the LGBTQIA+ community. The impact of her diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership engenders greater belonging for students and employees at Palomar College. I would like to send my heartfelt congratulations to Professor Fererro on receiving the Woman of the Year Award.”

After nearly 19 years, Fererro said she isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon: “When I first got to Palomar, even though I was young, I knew this was where I was going to be for the rest of my career.”