Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce's annual Community Awards Gala is set for Friday, April 14. (Contributed)

On Friday, April 14, the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce will be celebrating the movers and shakers of the city at its annual Community Awards Gala held at Brett Harte Hall at Roaring Camp Railroads from 5-10pm. 

In addition to live music and a live auction, attendees will be treated to the stories of the nominees who help make Scotts Valley a great place to live and work.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Danny Reber shared the hard work and community bonds that propelled each nominee to the top of their category; a few of the winners are featured below.

Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Tobin Shaeffer

Tobin Shaeffer, Chamber Ambassador of the Year

Tobin Shaeffer is a real estate agent for Intero Real Estate Services and Intero Commercial Real Estate. Tobin’s primary focus is on Santa Cruz County, helping clients sell, buy and lease property. His clients enjoy his integrity, professionalism and commitment to the community. 

After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1988-1992, Tobin settled in Santa Cruz to be near his family. He is a graduate of Cabrillo College and raised his children in Santa Cruz. 

Originally a volunteer for the Scotts Valley Art, Wine and Beer Festival, Tobin joined the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce and became a Chamber Ambassador. He has been the Chairperson for the Beer Committee for the festival since 2019. 

Tobin is also a luthier, who has been building acoustic guitars since 1993. He got his start at Santa Cruz Guitar Company before understudying at English Violins and eventually building his own designs.

Man of the Year: Roger Snyder

Roger Snyder, Man of the Year

Roger Snyder and his wife Michele were always active in their four daughters’ schools. Roger served as chaperone on five sixth-grade Yosemite science camps, and worked to pass three local measures to provide funding to rebuild the middle school and increase teacher salaries. 

Roger has served on the Scotts Valley school board since 2016. As board president for two years, he helped lead the schools through the challenges of Covid-19 and began addressing diversity issues. He now serves on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Steering Committee to continue this important work. 

Roger also led the countywide trustees association for two years, fostering communications and collaboration across the county. To advocate for improved school funding, Roger joined the California School Board Association (CSBA) Delegate Assembly in 2020. He has met with our state and federal representatives, and advocated for the need for special education funding reform. 

Why is Roger so passionate about public education? “If we can educate our students to be compassionate and curious about the world and people around them, they can reduce divisions, solve problems, and lead us all to a kinder, better world,” he said.

Woman of the Year: Kendra Kannegaard

Kendra Kannegaard, Woman of the Year

Kendra Kannegaard is a proud product of the Scotts Valley School District and loved her time there so much that she decided to make a career of it. 

After graduating from SVHS in 2012, Kendra began working as the after-school director for the plays at the high school, which sparked her love of teaching and became her true calling. She attended Cabrillo College, where she earned an AA in theater arts. She then transferred to San Jose State to earn her BA, also in theater arts, followed by a teaching credential in English. 

This is her fifth year at Scotts Valley High as the drama teacher, her third year as a freshman English teacher and her 11th year as the director of the drama productions. She is grateful every day to have the best job in the world and to be surrounded by such amazing, kind, driven and talented students. 

In addition to teaching, Kendra is also on the board for the Scotts Valley Community Theatre Guild and has served as a member of the Scotts Valley ADA Committee. Last summer, she married her high school sweetheart, Luke, who she met at her very first drama audition at SVHS.

Claire Hodgin Beautification Award: Scotts Valley Community Theater Guild

Ten years ago, long-time Scotts Valley resident and performing arts enthusiast/theater operator, Lee Besse, created the Scotts Valley Community Theater Guild (SVCTG) and staffed it with fellow diverse enthusiasts. 

Shortly after its creation, SVCTG began in its grand adventure, comparable to the fabled, noble quest of Don Quixote, de la Mancha. 

With help from hundreds of volunteers, contractors and financial support from Scotts Valley citizens, the SVCTG overcame countless challenges and conquered many windmills, including demolishing and repurposing the space into a professional theater, featuring 264-velour seats from the Bellagio Hotel, a 5,000-square-foot stage from Arizona State University, and three tech operation towers; navigating regulations and City concerns, and managing the building progress through the pandemic and making the space available to Cal Fire during the 2020 fires.

Reber is excited to show off the best Scotts Valley has to offer at this year’s Gala. 

“When I hear of the amazing deeds and contributions to Scotts Valley by this year’s awardees, I am in awe and inspired. It is truly an honor to recognize and celebrate these amazing leaders who do so much for our community,” Reber said.

The Gala will be emceed by local celebrity Cheryl Rebottaro with a live auction called by Kevin Andersen. This year’s theme is “Back to the Future,” and attendees are invited to dress in their favorite decade.

Between Swatch watches, go-go boots and exposed chest hair, the Gala should be one for the ages.

Want to see the best and brightest of Scotts Valley be honored for their contributions to the community? Mark your calendars for Friday, April 14, and visit to purchase tickets for entry, drinks and raffle prizes.

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Christina Wise covers politics, education, art & culture, and housing issues. She has a degree in Communication from San Diego State University, and has lived in the San Lorenzo Valley since 1996. She's a community advocate and a mother of two.


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