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 Full-Time Faculty
 Adjunct Faculty


Adjunct Faculty


 Betty Ballew

Betty Ballew is a Professor of Speech and Broadcasting    She teaches the television announcing class in the Media Arts area.  Betty attended the Pasadena Playhouse and CSULA earning her AA, BA and MA degrees in communication arts. Betty worked as an actress in feature films and television while attending school.  She was a contract player at American International Pictures.  She worked in the news department at Metromedia, channel 11 now Fox TV for several years before becoming the president of an all woman production company, TVS, Inc She has received a Drama Logue Award for Costume Design of The Three Penny.  She has also written produced and directed a history video for LAVC’S 50TH anniversary.

Robert Ballew

Michael Rafferty is an adjunct Broadcasting Instructor who teaches the fundamentals of radio and television and has extensive back ground in radio programming, production, and voice overs.

Joseph Daccurso

Joseph A. Daccurso, Professor Emeritus of Cinema/Media Arts, the senior most member of the department (& co-founder), joined the LAVC faculty in 1978.  Has double B.A.’s (PreMed Sciences & Literature/Creative Writing) from Northwestern U., double Master of Arts in Teaching (Literature/Creative Writing, Drama/Humanities) from Fairleigh Dickinson U., a M.F.A. (Cinema/TV Production) and Doctoral studies in Instructional Technology (emphasis in mixed-media & curriculum development for the teaching of film/TV/media) from U. of Southern California.

Among his numerous other teaching experiences are: USC’s School of Cinema/TV, Educational Technology Dept., & Urban Affairs/Urban Studies (Media Culture) Programs; California State U. (Northridge)’s School of Radio-TV-Film; L. A. City College’s Cinema/TV Dept.; Golden State Schools’ Television & Media Academy; & Director of Film Arts/Studio Workshops in Bradley U.’s School of Art, as well as having taught at several Senior High Schools in the NYC area.  He has also been a guest speaker at twenty other institutions coast to coast.  In 3 decades at LAVC, he has served as Chairman of the Departments of Theater Arts, Cinema, and Media Arts as well as been a long-time member of the Academic Senate.

Joe Daccurso has been a working professional in the film/TV/media industries since the 1960s, both at major studios & independent production houses (currently The Image Center Studios of North Hollywood).  Functioning in various capacities (producer, writer, director, camera, sound, editor, production mgr., actor), he has worked in a variety of formats/media/genres (features, movies-for-TV, commercials, music videos, corporate/industrials, educational/informational, scientific/medical, & multimedia for live theater), with a special interest in documentaries & animation of all types. Worked also as a professional journalist, still photographer, athletic coach, theater director, ballroom dance instructor, & band leader/musician (trumpet/coronet/flugelhorn). For over a decade, Joe served as a jurist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Annual Student Film Awards ("Student Oscars")."

Among Joe’s various professional orgs (including having held office in some) have been: Digital Cinema Society, International Documentary Assoc., Internat. Assoc. of Animators,  Internat. Communications Assoc.,  Internat. Visual Literacy Assoc.,  Assoc. of Independent Video/Film-Makers, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, National Assoc. of Educational Broadcasters, Society of Motion Picture & TV Engineers, Ethnographic Film Assoc., American Federation of Film Societies, Society for Cinema Studies, University Film/Video Assoc., Los Angeles Film Teacher Assoc., American Film Institute (charter member).

In addition to receiving several doctoral fellowships, Joe’s many recognitions include: DV Award, Telly Award, The Communicator Award, The Videographer Award, The Accolade Award, & The Gettysburg Multimedia Award.  His films/videos have been in numerous international competitions, including: WorldFest Houston, Chris Awards/ Columbus Film Fest, Berkeley Film/Video Fest, Newport Beach Film Fest, International Family Film Fest, Hearts & Minds Film Fest, Dances With Films Fest, Port Townsend Film Fest, The Indie Gathering, Bridge Fest (Vancouver), Indie Can (Toronto).    He is also listed in several Who’s Who compendiums: American Artists, American Educators, Contemporary Media Achievement, and College Professors of Distinction. But, Joe says his greatest achievement and honor is seeing his former students’ names in screen and stage credits over the years or their having achieved productive lives.


Richard Holdridge

Richard Holdredge, Professor Emeritus of Education, joined the LAVC faculty in 1980 as Director of theLearningCenter.  He earned a B.A. in Speech/Radio, Television & Film from theUniversity ofWisconsin and an M.A. in Cinema from theUniversity ofSouthern California. He augmented his education with certificates in “Webmaster/Web designer” and “Interactive Multimedia” at the UCSB Extension Program. Holdredge first taught Cinema 101 as an adjunct in 1995, and later Media Arts 102 starting in 2000. Mr. Holdredge’s media work has been mainly in medical education, which began with nine years at theMedicalSchoolat USC, and continued with many free-lance projects at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Currently Holdredge has retired after nine years as Director of the IDEAS Grant atValleyCollege, and plans to teach part-time and consult with the IDEAS program, as well as resume his flying lessons.

Daniel Nyiri

Daniel Nyiri is an Assistant Media Arts Professor and the Statewide Director for the CALIFORNIA MEDiA ARTS CAREER TECHNICAL EDUCATION Program, based at Los Angeles Valley College, serving University, Community College and High School students and faculty in all aspects of career training in Media Arts and Entertainment.  Nyiri has also worked with Richard Holdredge and Dan Watanabe at the IDEAS Center at Valley, and continues as an instructor in Cinema, Broadcasting and Media Arts.  He was elected vice-chair of the Directors Guild of Great Britain from 1997 to 2000, and served on the board of Directors of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (LA) from 1995 to 1997.  Prior to his training at the London Film School, he worked as a cameraman, writer and director in France, Hungary, Israel and the UK.  He also has extensive advertising and movie marketing experience, working with the Hollywood studios, HBO,  Showtime and the Discovery Channel. He participated in the National Film and Television School NSCTU training program in England, and in the Association of Cinematograph and Television Technicians Training Scheme.  Nyiri holds a  Masters degree in the Art and Technique of Film Making from the London Film School, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Bristol, England, where he studied Classics - Greek, Latin, Language, Literature and Philosophy.  In 2011 he was elected to the Board of Directors of The Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education.

Michael Sullivan

Michael O' Sullivan is an adjunct Broadcasting Instructor who has more than 30 years of experience in the broadcast news industry.  He is West Coast Bureau Chief for Voice of America, the US international broadcast service, which reaches a worldwide audience of 170 million.  He oversees VOA coverage in the Western United States and regularly reports on politics, immigration, science, entertainment and other topics.  He covers the Oscars and Grammys and has reported from the scene on the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2009 Samoa tsunami, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster, and in 1999, the Seattle World Trade Organization riots and Columbine high school shootings.  He did extensive national reporting during the 2000 presidential election, including travel with the candidates.

His awards include honors from the Los Angeles Press Club for a report on the impact of the US government shutdown on Yosemite tourism (first place, 2014, International Journalism – Hard News), New Mexico politics (first place, 2006, International Journalism – Hard News), preparations for the war in Iraq (first place, 2003, International Journalism – Features); a National Entertainment Journalism Award on the making of a jazz album (first place, 2011, Best TV Feature); and an award from the Religion Newswriters Association on the role of religion in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake (first place, 2011, National Network Religion Report of the Year).

O’Sullivan completed his undergraduate work in Canada and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics at the University of Southern California.  He has worked in print journalism at community newspapers, in radio for the Pacifica network, and in both radio and television at Voice of America.  He has taught World Religions at Cal State Long Beach, San Diego State University, Cal State LA and Cal State Northridge, and broadcast-related courses at Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge, and East LA College.  He also spent three years on the faculty of Gunma Prefectural University in Japan, teaching Western culture and English language, and was a freshman writing instructor at USC during his time there in graduate school.

He is one of a new breed of reporters who operates solo, shooting video, writing, editing, narrating and producing finished television, radio and web reports from the field, and is excited to be part of the changing media landscape.

 Scott Merrifield

Scott Merrifield is an adjunct Broadcasting Instructor who has been teaching at Valley College for several years while he works as an engineer in broadcast television.

 Douglas Rye

Douglas Rye is an adjunct Broadcasting Instructor that has taught voiceover classes in the Media Arts department since 1998. His education includes graduating from The Lawrenceville School, studying drama at New York University School of the Arts, attending the University of Vermont.  He received his Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from the University of New Orleans. Doug has worked in the music business, on production crews including the original Woodstock Festival and touring with acts ranging from The Grateful Dead to Mel Torme. His extensive voiceover credits include a recurring role as protagonist John Clark in Tom Clancy’s “Rainbow Six/Rogue Spear/Blackthorn” CD ROM series. Other clients include Lexus, Levi’s, Tecate, Motorola, Time Warner Cable, Bank of America, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, NBC Television, and an animated Japanese television.

Tracie Savage

Tracy Savage is an adjunct Media Arts Instructor who has worked in Broadcast Journalism in Los Angeles since 1991. Since then, she has covered nearly every major news story, both local and from around the world. She has reported LIVE from the scene of BREAKING NEWS, from floods to fires to riots. Tracie currently can be seen LIVE every morning on Time Warner Cable, Channel 101, broadcasting “Beat the Traffic”. For the previous 8 years, you could hear Savage daily on KFWB Radio, as the Afternoon Drive News Anchor. By the time Tracie joined KFWB, she was already a household name in Southern California. Savage spent 7 years at KNBC-TV as a Reporter and Weekend Anchor. Before that, she worked at KCAL-TV for 4 years. Recently Savage began covering sports, producing and hosting an LA Dodger’s Pre-Game show for 5 years. She earned a Golden Mike Award for Sports Reporting in her first year as a Sports Anchor. Savage was on the air the historic night Barack Obama was elected President and the day Michael Jackson died. For the past year, she has produced a weekly entertainment segment, “Kids in the Biz” featuring a top Los Angeles Talent Agent, Judy Savage. She has reported on the aftermath of the 911 tragedy and the Bernard Madoff investment Scandal. She was the principal field reporter for the O.J. Simpson civil and criminal trials and the Heidi Fleiss trial, covering all three from opening to closing. She reported live from the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, which included the night of the Olympic Park bombing. Savage also went on site to Oklahoma City following the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building. Savage has interviewed some of the most well known newsmakers of our time, including celebrities such as Anthony Hopkins, sports stars such as Steve Garvey, and even former Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Savage has earned a total of 4 LA Area Golden Mike Awards and 2 LA Area Emmy Awards. As a direct result of her work during the O.J. Simpson trial, and her refusal to reveal sources, she was honored with the “Bill Farr Award” by the US Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association in recognition of “professional journalistic integrity”. Tracie Savage grew up in a “show biz” family, doing her first TV commercial at the age of two. She went on to appear in numerous commercials, TV shows and movies. But, she is perhaps best “known” for her co-starring role in “Friday the 13th, Part 3  


Chad Sustin

Chad Sustin, Adjunct Professor of Cinema/Media Arts, began teaching at LAVC in 2010. His career as a filmmaker, educator, and multi-platform storyteller over the last two decades has taken him in different and fulfilling directions. Beginning in production during film school, he worked on several commercials and independent features. He then quickly settled into the world of post-production.

At Complete Post, he started from the bottom and quickly moved up through the Telecine Department, ultimately landing the post of Project Manager. In this role he managed mostly feature trailer projects in addition to the handling of clients such as Dreamworks, Showtime, and Candid Camera.

At Technicolor, he held the post of Supervisor for the Studio Advertising Services department coordinating feature trailer finishing work for Sony Pictures, DreamWorks, Universal, and various independent production companies.

At both Dreamworks and as an independent Post Production Coordinator, Chad worked on the following feature films: Stranger than Fiction, Stay, Blades of Glory, Dreamgirls, Disturbia, Norbit, Things We Lost in the Fire, The Heartbreak Kid, and The Kite Runner.

Throughout these years, Chad also worked on several digital and 16mm short films and industrials as a Writer, Director, Producer, and Editor winning an 'Audience Choice' award for his undergrad thesis.

Chad's foray into education has landed him jobs instructing a myriad of filmmaking classes here at Valley College and other various institutions. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film with an emphasis in Film Production and a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Cinema.

Chad is very passionate about instructing all aspects of filmmaking. He has found unparalleled enjoyment in passing this knowledge and passion along to the next generation of filmmakers, delighting in new ways to inspire and invoke their creativity.


 Dan Watanabe

Dan Watanabe is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Broadcasting and Media Arts who came to Valley College after extensive experience in development, production and distribution, both in the office and on the set. For eleven years, he served as the "current" and new program development executive at FremantleMedia (formerly Pearson Television, All American Communications and Scotti Bros. Pictures), the production company behind Baywatch and the hit series American Idol, both in scripted and unscripted programming. In addition to being Vice President of Current Programming for Baywatch and other scripted shows, he served as back-up booth person on Family Feud and To Tell the Truth and helped in the development of demo reels for NATPE. Currently, he also serves as a consultant for CRC Entertainment, an independent production company that has just completed a feature film (Boilermaker) and has worked on a horror anthology television series pilot starring Robert Forrester. He has also written audience research reports for OTX Research. But he considers all of that just preparation for his true vocation/avocation as a teacher at Valley. 

 Jennifer Penton

Jennifer Penton, Adjunct Professor of Cinema/Media Arts, began teaching at LAVC in 2007. Jennifer has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Creative Writing from UCLA and a Master’s Degree in Film with an emphasis in Experimental Animation from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California. Jennifer has worked at Warner Brothers, Klaspy Csupo, and Yahoo! and has worked on special projects for Disney. She has also worked with many independent filmmakers as an editor and web developer.

Through CalArts, Jennifer worked for the Community Arts Partnership (CAP), at Inner City Arts. As an Inner City arts video director, she created many animated shorts that have been entered into worldwide film festivals. Jennifer received special recognition at the Directors Guild of America for these contributions to animation. Jennifer has taught Cinema and Media Arts at University of Southern California (USC), FLS International at Marymount California University in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and Pierce College, where she developed curriculum and wrote an Associate of Arts degree.

Jennifer is passionate about technology and has also volunteered at SIGGRAPH, demonstrating emerging technologies to conference attendees. At Los Angeles Valley College, she assisted professionals from IATSE to stay current with technology through the IDEAS Grant. Jennifer loves creating art and storytelling. Her artwork and animation have been exhibited at CalArts, UCLA and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. One of her greatest joys is to help students explore their creativity and gain the technological tools to express themselves through live action and animated motion pictures.


Betty Ballew

Betty Ballew





Los Angeles Valley College

Media Arts Department
Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Avenue
Valley Glen, CA 91401
[818] 947-2600 x5503

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Last Updated: 4/30/15