New CMC dean: ‘I think I’ve arrived at a very important time’ in the college’s growth |

New CMC dean: ‘I think I’ve arrived at a very important time’ in the college’s growth

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Eric Drummond

BRECKENRIDGE ” When he was in college, working in higher education was not the path Alton D. Scales planned to follow.

In fact, that happened completely by accident when his roommate lured him into a job with the dean of students based on a promise of a recommendation. It was then that he discovered his passion for the work. Now, Scales has held a career in higher education for 25 years spanning universities and two-year colleges, and recently he started as the dean of Colorado Mountain College Summit Campus.

“I’d like to continue the path of excellence that CMC has traveled,” Scales said after his first couple weeks at the school.

Leah Bornstein, Ph.D., who served as dean for the Summit Campus for about four years, accepted a position as president of Coconino Community College in Arizona. In August, she left behind the campus she helped grow.

Scales began at the college Nov. 26, ready to take the college even further.

He is originally from Texas and graduated from the University of North Texas with a masters degree in manufacturing engineering. For 14 years he held various roles working at the university he attended. From there, he took a role as the director of the multicultural resource center at the University of Kansas.

He also was the dean of students at Neosho County Community College in Kansas and the interim vice president for academic affairs. Most recently, he was the assistant vice president for student services in Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

And higher education is something that is important to his entire family. Scales wife, Renay Scales, currently works at a university in Pennsylvania, and he has two daughters, Cristi and Joi Ford, who are at a college and university.

At CMC, Scales said he is looking forward to enhancing new activities and projects and forging learning partnerships with the faculty. One example of a project that he is working on with staff is a poetry slam that will be planned for next semester.

“I think I’ve arrived at a very important time,” he said. “The college is experiencing growth. We’re in the process of building a new facility. We’re creating and enhancing partnerships with various constituencies in the community.”

And in fact, Scales will be working with the Town of Breckenridge as plans continue to progress for the new facility on Block 11 near the Town’s entrance. When Bornstein left, the final details on the outside of the building were in the works with a groundbreaking planned in spring. Now, Scales will be working on the interior of the building and helping it come to fruition ” something that is not foreign to the dean.

“The goal is to come up with a building that will serve the county and students. … It’s not my first endeavor,” he said with a smile. “I’ve built other buildings.”

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