Since joining the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees nearly six years ago, Brandon A. Wood has treasured the experience of seeing the college grow and improve — but it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
Opinion articles in the local news compared Wood’s initial appointment to the board in August 2013 to getting aboard a “sinking ship.” At the time, the college was facing multiple issues, including being on probation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
“I had been going to some board meetings and was aware of the challenges,” Wood said. “I felt like I could contribute and help to solve those issues.”
A defense attorney, Wood’s career background includes more than eight years of service in the U.S. Navy. Upon graduating Chapman Law School, he worked for the largest criminal defense law firms in Southern California before opening his own firm in Victorville. As a strong supporter of both the military and education, he also serves as a university professor at the Ft. Irwin U.S. Army base.
While serving as a board member, Wood has especially enjoyed seeing the college expand with the construction of new and improved facilities, including the Dr. Prem Reddy Health and Sciences Building and the Automotive/Welding Vocational Complex.
“Having been to the old buildings and having heard the complaints of students from how it used to be, to now seeing the new facilities — it’s a world of difference,” he said. “I’m so excited to see the progress on campus and I really can’t wait for the ‘One Stop’ (Student Services Center) to open.”
Among the various VVC events he attends, a couple of Wood’s favorites are the annual Associated Student Body retreat, during which newly elected ASB Council members participate in a four-day leadership conference, and the graduation commencement ceremony.
“I recognize from having walked across stages myself that most of the students have no idea who I am when I hand them their diploma,” Wood said. “What I never realized is how much it means to the person handing you the diploma. They think, ‘I’m getting my reward,’ but it’s really a two-way street. I think I enjoy their graduations even more than my own.”
Looking forward, Wood is confident that if the college “continues on with the trajectory that we’re on” that things will continue to improve.
“We have so many things going so well right now,” he said. “It’s great to be able to stand there now today and say, ‘Hey, I may have gotten onto a sinking ship, but now this ship is floating, it’s steaming straight ahead, and it’s a pretty damn nice ship.’”