Rock Valley College

Board Members

Gloria Cardenas Cudia RVC Board of TrusteeGloria Cardenas Cudia, Board Chair

Term Expires: 2025

Gloria Cardenas Cudia was elected to the board in April 2019. She graduated from Rockford West High School and studied at both Rock Valley College and Rockford College for courses associated with her positions as the Employee Relations Director at WIFR-TV and Rockford Clinic where she worked as a medical secretary and translator for over a decade. She retired from the Rockford Park District after 20 years of service as a staff marketing manager and an appointed Park District Commissioner. Gloria is a television producer and currently volunteers at the Comcast Cable Company to produce and host two public service programs. Gloria is also a non-denominational Christian ordained minister who retired after 16 years of service. The Rockford Register Star’s and Rockford Woman magazine’s panel of judges selected Gloria as the 2010 Rockford Woman of the Year because of her long-time service to the Rockford area community. She has been married to Frank, her high school sweetheart for 49 years. They have two adult married children and several grandchildren.

Contact Gloria: or (815) 289-5970

Completed State Required Leadership Training on June 12, 2021, as required by the Illinois Public Community College Act, 110 ILCS 805/3-8.5.


Paul GorskiPaul Gorski, Vice Chair

Term Expires: 2025

Paul Gorski was elected as a Rock Valley College Trustee in April 2017, to fill a two-year unexpired term. He was then re-elected to a full six-year term in 2019. Paul has previously served as a Cherry Valley Township Trustee, Cherry Valley Library District Trustee, and Winnebago County Board member, and plans to bring his positive experiences from those leadership roles to his position as RVC Trustee. Paul is also involved locally as a contributor to The Rock River Times newspaper, and is the editor of the non-profit social media news outlets and on Facebook and Twitter. As an IT administrator and part-time news reporter, Paul enjoys asking and fielding questions. 

Contact Paul: or (815) 874-2916

Completed State Required Leadership Training on June 19, 2021, as required by the Illinois Public Community College Act, 110 ILCS 805/3-8.5.


Bob Trojan Bob Trojan, Secretary

Term Expires: 2023

Robert (Bob) Trojan was elected to the board in April 2015 and in 2021 was appointed to fill a two-year unexpired term. He graduated from Chicago Vocational High School, served in the U.S. Marines and completed his BS in Mechanical Engineering from U of Illinois, and an MBA Marketing from Northwestern. He has spent his life working in and managing manufacturing companies, domestic and international. Bob came to the Rockford area in 1990 as President of Hydro-Line, Inc. and started Rockford Linear Actuation Inc. in 2002. His community service includes serving on boards of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Growth Dimensions, Abilities Center, Rockford Area Ventures, Community Foundation, Discovery Center, several committees dealing with manufacturing and a member of several voter referendums. He was a Community Member of the Rockford Register Star Editorial Board. Bob has been the Award recipient of the Chamber's Manzullo Individual Catalyst (2007), People You Should Know (2011) and the Robotics Make It Loud Award (2013). Bob and wife Norma's family includes three sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.

Contact Bob: or (815) 494-7633

Completed State Required Leadership Training on June 19, 2021, as required by the Illinois Public Community College Act, 110 ILCS 805/3-8.5.


Lynn KearneyLynn Kearney

Term Expires: 2023

Lynn Kearney was appointed on February 8, 2021, to fill a vacancy on the RVC Board of Trustees. She previously served on the RVC Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2019, including as Board Chairperson from 2018-2019. Kearney is a retired educator from Harlem Consolidated School District 122 and taught middle school science in the local area for 35 years. Prior to retiring from teaching in 2012, she had served as the President and then Co-President of the Harlem Federation of Teachers Local #540 of the IFT for 25 years. She also currently serves as a Vice President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers IFT-AFT AFL-CIO, a role she has held for the last 20 years. In the community, Kearney has served on the board of Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, as Chair of the Preschool Board for Christ United Methodist Church, and in years past served on the advisory board of the Regional Office of Education. She is a graduate of Rock Valley College and Northern Illinois University.

Contact Lynn: or (815) 520-4715

Completed State Required Leadership Training on June 19, 2021, as required by the Illinois Public Community College Act, 110 ILCS 805/3-8.5.


Headshot of Richard KennedyRichard Kennedy

Term Expires: 2025

Richard Kennedy was appointed to the Board of Trustees in February 2023 to fill a two-year unexpired term. He is a graduate of Belvidere High School and attended Northern Illinois University (NIU) on a Division I football scholarship. Richard graduated from NIU with a degree in Sociology-Criminology and is a 20-year veteran of the Rockford Police Department. He served the last 10 years of his police career as a supervisor in the patrol division. Now retired from the police force, Richard is a substitute teacher for the Harlem School District and works in the Central Reporting Unit for the City of Rockford. He holds an array of law enforcement and safety-related certificates for emergency management, supervision of personnel, crisis intervention, team training, organizational accountability, investigations, and HAZMAT awareness.

Contact Richard: or (815) 742-7499


John NelsonJohn Nelson

Term Expires: 2027

John Nelson was elected to the Rock Valley College Board of Trustees in April 2017 and to a six-year term in 2021.  He practices law in Rockford, Illinois as a sole practitioner.  He obtained his BA in economics from St. Olaf College and graduated from Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana.    He served as the City Attorney for the City of Rockford, Illinois from 1976 until 1980 and has been in private practice ever since.  While in practice from 1980 – 1983, he served as part-time Winnebago County Public Defender.   John is also on the Federal Defender Panel representing criminal clients in the U. S. District Court, Northern and Eastern Districts of Illinois. He has been a member of the Illinois Township Attorneys Association for 25 years and currently serves as President.    He has served as the Harlem Township Attorney since 1993. In addition to practicing law, Attorney Nelson has a particular interest in politics having voted in the last five electoral colleges.  He also served four years on the Illinois State University Parent Association serving his last year as President of the association.

Contact John: or (815) 980-9918

Completed State Required Leadership Training on June 19, 2021, as required by the Illinois Public Community College Act, 110 ILCS 805/3-8.5.


Headshot of Crystal SoltowCrystal Soltow

Term Expires: 2027

Crystal Soltow was elected to a six-year term on the board in April 2021. She is what you call a “BNR,” born and raised in Belvidere, IL where she continues to play an active role in organizing and supporting community activities. Crystal is owner of Power Combat Fitness (PCF) in Belvidere where she actively teaches classes and serves as a fitness/life coach to help others pursue their health and wellness goals. As a busy mother of four, she also serves as vice president of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at her daughter’s school.

Contact Crystal: or (815) 298-5914

Completed State Required Leadership Training on December 22, 2021, as required by the Illinois Public Community College Act, 110 ILCS 805/3-8.5.


Ryan Russell, Student TrusteeRyan Russell, Student Trustee

Term: 2022-2023

Ryan was elected Student Trustee in May 2022. After graduating from Byron High School in 2020, Ryan started his military contract/obligation on active duty and is now finishing with the Air National Guard. He represented the RVC Student Veterans Association at the Student Veterans of America National Conference, and he was inducted into RVC's chapter of the national honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. Ryan is currently pursuing an Associate of Arts degree as it allows him to explore multiple subjects like psychology, political science, and English. He plans to graduate in May 2023 and then transfer to Northern Illinois University.

Contact Ryan: