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Faculty Profiles: Our Retiring Colleagues

Celebrating 127 Years of Service

As of this publication date, we know of five full-time colleagues who have announced their retirements, including:

  • Mohammed Rajah (1975)

  • Myla Stokes (1988)

  • Neil Moura (1989)

  • Martin Parks (1999)

  • Rita Barden (2007)

Collectively, they have devoted 127 years of service to MiraCosta, and a few have shared some memories of their time here at the College.


What are the biggest differences between MiraCosta today and when you started?

MiraCosta College started and was part of the Oceanside High School before we moved where we are now. When I joined the college, there were fewer than 40 faculty members. Many of the faculty members were coaches.

We had the big lounge (next to the Dean’s Office) in the 3600 Building. The President would come and visit and chit chat with the faculty members. We had a lunch hour and secretaries and faculty members would sit and have lunch together.

Classes started at 8am, and by 1pm classes were over. Later on night classes were added. Faculty members were teaching across the curriculum since they had a general credential. One instructor teaching communications taught a math class.

There was no SEC Campus. Then classes were offered in the evening at Carlsbad High School and in an elementary school in Del Mar. Funding came from the local residents of Carlsbad and Oceanside. With the addition of Del Mar up to La Jolla, this is when the expansion took place. A bond passed that allowed the funding to come from property values.

-Mohammed Rajah

Please share one of your favorite MiraCosta moments.

Working with my colleagues in the 100 Building has been a highlight: the Mediterranean lunches to celebrate birthdays, the team spirit that helped us work for the good of the students, and working with my Library department colleagues and Dean, especially these last five years. I am grateful for the respect and support that they have given me, as we worked to create a library environment that supports sound research, instruction, and a safe place where our students could participate in active learning.

-Myla Kelley

What are your plans in retirement?

My grandfather lived into his 90s and my father is now 95, so I am planning on a long life beyond the College. I will be “going places and doing things,” but am also being careful not to over plan or try to do too much all at once… just taking one day at a time will be a joy!

-Neil Moura


Read Mohammed's, Myla's, and Neil's full interviews below.


Mohammed Rajah

interview continued...

Please share one of your favorite MiraCosta moments.

Mohammed 1970s

My favorite moments are many: My colleagues on campus and the camaraderie. Unfortunately, with 170 faculty members, I do not know all the new ones. The nicest parts of working at the College are (1) the open air policy and (2) the wonderful staff that we have (the staff will go out of their way to help). The staff in HR are absolutely the best.

What are your plans in retirement?

When I retire, I am going to Mauritius to help my family (in the family business). All my other brothers have passed away and one of my sisters is running the business. There is a tremendous support in the community. Many of my school friends are doctors and I can see anyone of them at anytime (I do not have to pay them). Mauritius is a very small place, I usually walk from the office to go downtown and I going shopping in the local market.

I am going to miss all the wonderful people here. I will miss Trader Joe’s and the kindness of people in all walks of life. I will make use of my STRS retirement and help other people who are less fortunate than I am.


Myla Kelley

interview continued...

What are the biggest differences between MiraCosta today and when you started?

When I started in February of 1988 the San Elijo campus buildings were being completed. For the first seven months of my tenure I worked in what was known at the time as the Oceanside Learning Resource Center, while I prepared for the opening of the San Elijo campus.

In September of 1988 the San Elijo campus opened its doors to an overflow student population; it was standing room only in many of the classrooms. On opening day there were only six buildings, now there are ten buildings. The 100 building has had one major remodel in 1999 and several small remodels. The name of the 100 building was changed to Library and Information Hub in 1999.

What are your plans in retirement?

I plan to work in Ner Tamid Synagogue library, continue to serve on the Board of the Synagogue, continue my studies in Torah trope, chanting Torah, study Talmud, and Torah, Travel, learn basket weaving, take tap dancing classes, and work in my garden.

I want to take this opportunity to honor the memories of the MiraCostans that have left this side of the universe, whose support, guidance and friendship I treasure: Noriko Kameda, Anthony (Tony) Ngubo, Teresa Gonzales-Lee, Rob Archer, Lisa Menuck, and Malcolm Heard.


Neil Moura

interview continued...

What are the biggest differences between MiraCosta today and when you started?

When I was hired I was the first full-time faculty member assigned to teach at the San Elijo campus, in only its second year of operation. MiraCosta is known for its collegiality and the close relationships among faculty, staff, and administrators. At that time, there was only one dean for the entire College, and administrators shared governance responsibilities with faculty.

Please share one of your favorite MiraCosta moments.

While there are so many moments I value over my many years at the College, those that stand out the most are the times I have seen my students succeed, especially those who initially have doubted their ability to do so. I especially valued the years at Commencement where I could personally hand a student her or his diploma, just to see their pride in their accomplishment and the joy of the moment where it was publicly recognized.


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