Colorado Mountain College board candidates detail experience, vision
CMC: BY THE NUMBERS
3: National rank for bachelor’s degree affordability among four-year college
5: On-campus solar panel electricity generators
6: Counties in district (Eagle, Garfield, Lake, Pitkin, Routt and Summit)
9: Counties served (add Chaffee, Grand and Jackson)
17: National rank out of nearly 800 community colleges for graduation and transfer rates
24: Average age of full-time student
38: Average age of part-time student
85: Percent of students from Colorado
1,800: Students served by English as a second language programs
3,800: Full-time credit students
20,400: Students attend each year
High Country residents will choose who represents them in local higher education this November as four Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees seats are up for election.
Voters in all six counties of CMC’s district elect the seven at-large trustees, and one resident each is elected from Eagle, Lake, Pitkin, Routt and Summit counties while two trustees represent Garfield County.
The board usually meets every other month at rotating CMC locations, and board responsibilities include employing and evaluating the president, approving the college budget (roughly $60 million in 2015), establishing college goals and monitoring progress.
CMC now offers five bachelor’s degrees along with various associate’s degrees, vocational certificates, training programs and non-credit courses across its 11 locations.
The Summit County campus — which includes Breckenridge and Dillon locations — is home to CMC’s culinary institute; business, nursing, sustainability bachelor’s degrees; and outdoor education, emergency medical services, early childhood education and English as a second language programs.
Summit County’s current representative, Bob Taylor, isn’t running again; longtime local Patty Theobald is running unopposed and will take his spot later this fall.
The only contested seat is in eastern Garfield County, and incumbent Kathy Goudy and challenger Jon Warnick are vying for the spot.
They bring different experiences and skill sets, but both candidates have years of experience with CMC, want to support the college in its current direction and care about connecting campuses with their unique communities.
The remaining two candidates are incumbents, Pat Chlouber (Lake County) and Ken Brenner (Routt County). The other three board members, who were elected for four-year terms in 2013, are Charles Cunniffe (Pitkin County), Glenn Davis (Eagle County) and Mary Ellen Denomy (West Garfield County).
‘WE’VE WORKED SO HARD’
Goudy is an attorney specializing in criminal defense and constitutional law.
She has lived in Minnesota, New Jersey, Kansas and North Dakota, and she earned a degree in history before graduating from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1982. She has taught business law classes and seminars at community colleges in Nebraska and Iowa.
She started taking lifelong learning classes at CMC off and on after moving to Carbondale in 1999. Her son graduated with an associate’s degree in physics in 2012.
When she was elected as a trustee in 2011, she said, the board didn’t have a viable strategic plan. CMC has since experienced leadership changes, notably Carrie Besnette Hauser has taken the helm as president and created a new strategic plan.
“I’m really glad I did it because I’m really glad we’re at where we’re at now,” Goudy said, mentioning enthused teachers, good morale and sky-high enrollment. “CMC is exciting, and we’ve worked so hard over the last four years to get it here.”
She is running on a platform of inclusiveness for all residents in CMC’s district and better utilization of campuses.
For example, if people in Breck want cupcake classes in the winter, CMC should provide that, she said, and the same goes for welding classes and physics courses.
The Leadville campus has been better serving its community in the last few years, she said. “I’d like to see more of that in Dillon.”
She said she speaks her mind if she notices something wrong, pushes fiscal transparency and budget transparency and advocates for lifelong learning classes.
Warnick moved to the Carbondale area in 1998 after retiring from a career in the telecommunications industry with IBM. He worked all over the U.S. for the company as well as in Tokyo and London, and he spent the last 15 years working in China.
“That’s who we’re competing against in the global economy,” he said, and his observations of education in Asia have helped him identify strengths and weaknesses in the U.S.
He has engineering, business and law degrees and started studying religion, ethics, arts, psychology, economics and other humanities courses at CMC. He has taken a class every semester to total 34 in the last 15 years.
“I really am a perpetual student,” he said.
He is running on a three-part platform: community integration, educational excellence and affordability.
He wants the college to collaborate with local school districts, so high school students don’t need remedial courses, and he wants local residents to be able to stay in their communities to obtain the education and training required for local jobs.
“It’s very important that one, the students arrive ready to take college courses and two, that they graduate on time,” he said. Then, “if we do our job right, they’ve been interned, and they automatically have a job.”
CMC also should continue helping students avoid crushing loan debt, he said.
He has served on the board of the CMC Foundation, the college’s fundraising arm, and has been the board’s treasurer and chair.
He was part of the team that helped create CMC’s new strategic plan, and he said he brings 30 years of business experience managing budgets through good and bad times.
SUMMIT COUNTY’S REP
Theobald first came to Summit in 1969 and lives near Breckenridge.
She has a degree in early childhood education and spent 14 years working in education consulting, bringing student athletes from Japan and around the world to study and compete in Summit and other parts of the U.S.
She has been involved in local education at various levels, has served on local nonprofit boards and is in her fourth year on the CMC Foundation board and now serves as chair. She has also been involved with CMC through working on the construction and fundraising for the Breckenridge campus.
“The primary reason that I’m interested in working as a trustee for CMC is that I realize how vital CMC is to our Rocky Mountain community,” she said. “I love the fact that CMC is able to educate our local residents in our hometowns for good-paying jobs right here in our communities.”
Over the last 45 years, she said, she’s seen ski bums become ski area operators, bus boys turn into five-star chefs and retail store clerks transform into business owners.
Her goals are strengthening partnerships with local businesses, working closely with the Latino community, and keeping tuition low for in-district students while maintaining a healthy balance of out-of-district and out-of-state students.
She said she wants the college to be the most affordable, most inclusive, highest quality institution available to Colorado residents and to continue to serve the changing needs of its communities, especially in Summit, which is experiencing growing pains after enrollment growth in recent years.
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