Submitted by The Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College has named Cheryl Batalon Fambles as the recipient of the 2021 Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award.  

Cheryl Batalon Fambles. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State College

The award, named for Joe Dear, an accomplished 1977 Evergreen graduate who dedicated his life to public service, is given to college alumni who continue to go above and beyond in public service. 

Cheryl Batalon Fambles embodies the legacy that Joe Dear left behind with her work advocating for rural communities, issues of inequity and the redemptive power of work. She has been the Chief Executive Officer for Pacific Mountain Workforce Council since 2012 and previously held executive and senior leadership positions in the Washington Workforce Association and in local government agencies including King and Thurston counties, the City of Issaquah and the Skokomish Tribal Nation.  

“I did not know Joe Dear, but his reputation is one of competency, creativity and caring,” Cheryl said upon learning of the honor. “These awards remind us that the work we do and the places we professionally inhabit are both ours and belong to others. You make this award believing I am some of what Joe Dear represented. I accept it because he and I share an experience of excellence in public services, a love of that work and that we are both students of Evergreen. There is mutuality and destiny in that.” 

Cheryl is a 1982 graduate of The Evergreen State College where part of her field of study included economics and microbiology/immunology and received her bachelor’s degree. She went on to complete her Master of Public Administration at the City University of New York. In addition, she is a graduate of the Senior Executives in Local Government Program JFK School of Public Service at Harvard.  

“We are pleased to award the Joseph Dear Distinguished Alumni Award to Cheryl,” said Evergreen President, John Carmichael. “She is a perfect example of the excellent work that Greeners go out and do. Her commitment to public service and extraordinary leadership is exactly what this award and its namesake embodied.” 

Cheryl is completing a second term as a Board Director for the Seattle Branch of the San Francisco Reserve Bank and is a Trustee for the Thurston County Chamber and Capital Medical Center.  

When speaking about her time at Evergreen, Cheryl said, “When I think about my Evergreen education and how it affected my career as a public servant, it is nothing short of fundamental and life changing. It was through my Evergreen experience that I found a belonging that became the bedrock of my career.” 

In 2019, Cheryl was chosen as a Distinguished Leader by the Thurston County Chamber Foundation, and in 2021 she was given the Righteous Leader award by the Washington Workforce Association. She has a longstanding involvement with SafePlace Olympia, the YWCA of Olympia, and Thurston County United Way-Women United. 

Cheryl will be honored at the college’s annual alumni reunion Return to Evergreen, which will be held virtually from 1 -2:30 p.m., Saturday, November 6. For more information about Return to Evergreen and the Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award, visit To learn about The Evergreen State College, visit