Making the Grade: Joyce Mosher |

Making the Grade: Joyce Mosher

LORY POUNDERsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Joyce Mosher loves to watch her students reach heights they never thought they could. She is passionate about reading and writing and strives to find ways to help others develop skills in these areas and see a “bigger world.””If a piece of writing can show something about ourselves that we didn’t know, that’s the magic,” said Mosher, Ph.D., English communication faculty at Colorado Mountain College.Mosher moved to Summit County in 1975 after graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree. She took a job at Colorado Mountain College, which had recently opened, and began teaching French, humanities and writing.

She got into teaching because she loves “watching someone start at one point in life and go somewhere else,” she said. As far back as she can remember she has been teaching one thing or another because of what she referred to with a smile as “older sister syndrome.” And while tutoring in high school, she realized how much she enjoyed the challenge of trying to reach someone who was struggling to understand.At CMC there are two main profiles of students, Mosher said. The first is a 19-year-old snowboarder who decided to “hustle an education on the side” while balancing multiple jobs, she explained. The other is a 40-year-old who never went to college, often because they had bad educational experiences in the past. Both often succeed beyond their wildest expectations, Mosher said. And among these students, the diversity in geography, age and background keeps each day interesting, she continued.

All her students inspire her, bring life experiences to the classroom and they can really learn from each other, she said. She has watched as students go off to four-year colleges and enter careers they’ve always wanted to. For example, one of her former students is a curator at a French museum. And one of her favorite success stories is a 40-year-old single mom who struggled through balancing work, being a mom and all the daily life stresses – and still managed to get her bachelor’s degree.”I have a high regard for CMC students. … My students have always pushed me,” said Mosher who went back to school and got her master’s degree 10 years ago and then graduated this summer with her Ph.D from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.She added that she has continued to further her education over the years so she can keep on top of the latest in education to best serve her students. She “strives for active, theater-based learning” in her reading, writing, composition and literature classes to keep her students interested.

Shortly after moving to Summit County three decades ago, Mosher met her husband, Allyn Mosher, who founded the Backstage Theatre. So, when she wasn’t at CMC, she made costumes, helped with fundraising and acted in some of the plays. Also, she and Allyn take trips to France in the spring to keep up with the language.And, “books follow me,” Mosher said with a laugh as she motioned toward the hundreds that decorate her office in Breckenridge.She paused, “This is a dream job. Small class size, superior administration, great diversity … and all the teachers care about the students.”- Lory Pounder

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