June 23, 2020, Santa Rosa, CA – Retired SRJC instructor Pamela J. “Pj” LoCoco has been awarded entry into the California Agriculture Teachers' Association (CATA) Hall of Fame – Class of 2020. The hundred-year-old organization is dedicated to the service of Agriculture, Agricultural Education, and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) in California. Since 2000, those who have excelled in this work have been recognized with this honor and LoCoco is the first female instructor from a community college to be inducted. The distinction, announced at the Virtual CATA Summer Conference this past June, comes to LoCoco after a lifetime in the field.
LoCoco grew up in the Central Valley, where she earned her AA degree at San Joaquin Delta College. She moved on to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo for her Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture and her Master of Science in Agricultural Sciences. She then taught high school agriculture and biology in San Luis Obispo County before transferring to Santa Rosa for her post-secondary role at Santa Rosa Junior College, where she taught for almost 34 years before retiring.
At SRJC LoCoco taught thousands of students in the Environmental Horticulture (EH) program she established and fostered, imparting knowledge and skills crucial to success in the field. She served as Principal Instructor , and Program Coordinator of Ornamental Horticulture for over 15 years, and Chair of the Agriculture/Natural Resources Department for almost a decade. She continued to instruct throughout her tenure at SRJC.
“Some call me a ‘pioneer’ since I was one of the first females to teach in a community college agriculture classroom. My approach was always to lead by example so to inspire others, whether that was inspiring men to retrain for a new career or inspiring women in the operation of power tools. I never asked a student to do anything I had not demonstrated,” LoCoco said.
LoCoco’s instructional projects (labs) included building fences, walls and walkways, planting or pruning the campus landscape, irrigation repair and more.
LoCoco was deeply rooted in SRJC’s community, serving on the Academic Senate for nearly 20 years, the Day Under the Oaks committee, and the EH program’s monthly plant sales with community food and clothing drives. She is a founding member of the SRJC Ag Trust committee. She was also one of the original trainers of the Instructional Skills Program which teaches teachers how to teach.
LoCoco’s list of professional accomplishments is long. One that stands out is her term as State President of California Agricultural Teachers' Association. She was CATA’s first female president.
“Receiving this honor means that all my work on local, sectional, regional and state committees developing instruction, policy, and procedure, as well as my classroom student activities, did not go unnoticed. To this, I thank SRJC, the horticulture industry, and CATA for all of their support.”
“I want to congratulate Pj on her induction into the Hall of Fame,” said George Sellu, Agribusiness Program Coordinator and Instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC.) “This is a great honor and a recognition of her contribution to California Agriculture Education. She joins a select group of educators who have been recognized by their peers across the state for their contribution to the profession.”