Featured Colleague — Gary Kokaisel

gary-kokaisel-groveBy Joy S. Jones

“Over the years, Valencia has given me so many opportunities to explore my passion and interests. From creative multimedia projects with students, to developing innovative learning experiences with faculty, I get to partner with educators to create diverse learning experiences daily. I really value the moments when I can make technology accessible to educators in bringing relevant learning experiences to their students,” said Gary Kokaisel.

Gary has been with the College a little over 15 years. In that time, he has served East Campus as a library assistant, student computer lab assistant and computer support specialist for the Learning Technology Center; and the Osceola Campus as manager of the Learning Technology Center, manager of faculty and instructional development and in his current role as faculty developer and instructional designer.

“Since starting at Valencia, my most rewarding accomplishment has been earning my Master of Science Degree in instructional design and technology during summer 2015 from Walden University.”

The final requirement for obtaining his degree was a capstone project, a practical application of instructional design principles applied to a real-world learning problem.

“I was excited to be able to satisfy my capstone requirement with a project that also benefited the College. I served as lead instructional designer working with the New Student Experience co-curricular team to adapt four of the in-person GoBes to an online environment,” he said.

GoBes are co-curricular experiences designed to help students go beyond the classroom to explore College resources, discover their personal values, develop plans for their future and make personal connections. The online GoBes were piloted along with the online NSE course during summer term.

Student feedback has been positive, and Gary is looking forward to his continued partnership with the co-curricular team and the improvement of this online experience for students.

“Gary is very passionate about creating meaningful learning experiences and, combined with his congenial disposition, creates an environment in which people continue to seek his support time and time again,” said Shara Lee, director, faculty and instructional development. “He is a wonderful thought partner and a wealth of great ideas. It is a privilege to work with such a talented, dedicated colleague.”

He has also found that working in a learning community has its privileges.

“As an employee, I also find the breadth of internal opportunities to learn from others and develop professionally as one of the best things about working at Valencia,” he continued.

“I recently completed the PIVOT 5 program. Being a part of a cohort of fellow supervisors, attending the workshops and going through the online modules expanded my awareness of supervisory skills and gave me some practical tools and tips for being a better supervisor. Even though I am no longer in a supervisory role, I still find the knowledge and experience I acquired going through the program helpful as I manage projects assigned to me and communicate with my colleagues and partners at the College.”

Gary shared that the instructional problems that are presented to him by colleagues challenge him to arrive at creative solutions.

“I love that the passionate and diverse group of faculty and staff, whom I have the honor of supporting, inspire me and are open to trying out new things and different approaches.”

“Valencia signifies to the community a pathway to realizing your full potential and achieving your dreams,” he concludes. “Through curricular and co-curricular learning experiences, skillshops and service learning opportunities, students have so many opportunities to dig deeper into why they are here and where they are going. These opportunities lead students through a pathway of discovering their purpose that will manifest into a rewarding life in service to the community.”

Besides his Master’s in Instructional Design in Technology, Gary has a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the University of Central Florida and an Associate of Arts from Valencia.

Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.


  • Michael Maguire said:

    The person who first came up with the expression, "going above and beyond the call of duty", was obviously talking about Gary. Kudos, my friend. 🙂

    PMTue, 22 Sep 2015 17:04:03 +0000Tue, 22 Sep 2015 17:04:03 +0000pm15,5:04 pm

  • Lynn Desjarlais said:

    Congrats on this article Gary! You deserve the recognition for your incredible work and support of the College! 🙂

    PMTue, 22 Sep 2015 18:01:44 +0000Tue, 22 Sep 2015 18:01:44 +0000pm15,6:01 pm

  • Amy Bosley said:

    I'm so happy to have you as a colleague. Thanks for all you do to support our faculty, staff, and students.

    PMTue, 22 Sep 2015 18:24:37 +0000Tue, 22 Sep 2015 18:24:37 +0000pm15,6:24 pm

  • Edie Gaythwaite said:

    Congratulations Gary on receiving your Master's degree this summer! You are always a pleasure to work with too!

    PMTue, 22 Sep 2015 18:37:28 +0000Tue, 22 Sep 2015 18:37:28 +0000pm15,6:37 pm

  • Bill White said:

    Great story Gary! We are fortunate to have you here at the college!

    AMWed, 23 Sep 2015 08:19:18 +0000Wed, 23 Sep 2015 08:19:18 +0000am15,8:19 am

  • Adriene Tribble said:

    Just when I think it is not possible, Gary earns himself another Badge of Awesome. Way to go, Gary!

    AMWed, 23 Sep 2015 10:14:40 +0000Wed, 23 Sep 2015 10:14:40 +0000am15,10:14 am

    • Karen Cowden said:

      So true! Many times I have wondered, "Oh my! How am I going to accomplish that objective?" and Gary navigates me through it with Kung Fu-like precision.

      AMThu, 24 Sep 2015 03:50:18 +0000Thu, 24 Sep 2015 03:50:18 +0000am15,3:50 am

  • Steve Cunningham said:

    Gary – We are so lucky to have you on Osceola! Don't ever leave!!

    PMWed, 23 Sep 2015 17:48:40 +0000Wed, 23 Sep 2015 17:48:40 +0000pm15,5:48 pm

  • Vishma Kunu said:

    Gary, thanks for being so supportive over the last eight years. It's fantastic to see you featured here!

    PMWed, 23 Sep 2015 21:40:38 +0000Wed, 23 Sep 2015 21:40:38 +0000pm15,9:40 pm

  • Karen Cowden said:


    Congratulations on the article. It is a nice piece. Whenever a collaborative project comes up you are a solid team player – and consummate professional. Plus, I always learn new things from you that improve my practice all while feeling so supported in our/my goal of serving the students and college-body!

    I appreciate you!


    AMThu, 24 Sep 2015 03:48:57 +0000Thu, 24 Sep 2015 03:48:57 +0000am15,3:48 am

  • Luke Monaco said:


    This is a well-deserved article for a great colleague and inspiration. The work you do day in and day out continues to amaze me, and I'm so glad to be working with someone so dedicated to their work!

    Thanks for all that you do!


    PMWed, 07 Oct 2015 12:22:07 +0000Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:22:07 +0000pm15,12:22 pm

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