Board institution must sit out of CMC election
Post Independent Staff
Who’s not running may be more notable than who is on the ballot in Colorado Mountain College’s upcoming board of trustee elections.
Judith Hayward, of Parachute, who has served the better part of two decades on CMC’s board, won’t be running this year because of term limits. CMC board chair Doris Dewton, of Eagle County, does plan to run again, while Jacque Whitsitt, of Basalt, hasn’t decided whether to seek a second term. Retired educator Roy Brubacher, of Parachute, said he is considering running for Hayward’s seat.
Toni Black, CMC’s election coordinator, said Hayward is the only person to ever have been elected to serve as the western Garfield County board member. The position was first created in 1986, and was filled with an appointee before Hayward was elected in May 1987, Black said. While Colorado voters adopted term limits in the mid-1990s, they didn’t apply retroactively to incumbent board members, so the limits only caught up with Hayward now.
Hayward said she understands the purpose of term limits. She’s been a board member for “a long time, and a person maybe shouldn’t be on a board forever,” she said.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes with the college, 99 percent of them for the good,” she reminisced. “It’s been very exciting and very rewarding to be part of this college.”
She won’t be stopping her involvement with CMC altogether. The college is planning to build a new campus in Rifle, and Hayward said she will continue to serve as a volunteer in that effort.
Hayward’s love of CMC stems from her attendance at a community college in Wisconsin.
“I just believe in this form of education. You can always transfer to the bigger university for more specialized education training, but I think the community college system is right for so many reasons.”
In the course of Hayward’s tenure, she has been involved in hiring presidents and helped the college respond to a citizen petition that would have rolled CMC into the state college system.
The petition drive took place shortly after Hayward began her board service. She remembers the college holding community meetings to see what the public thought about the idea of the college losing its independence.
“And everybody said, ‘We want our college, we don’t want it to go into the state system.’ What a wonderful thing. So often the taxpayers don’t want another taxing entity. I think we’ve done a lot of good things in every community we’re in, and we’re in a lot of them,” she said.
Black said she will remember Hayward’s time on the board with fondness. When Black first began working in the CMC president’s office, Hayward was the first board member she met.
“She was the very first one that came up and shook my hand and introduced herself to me, and she made me feel so comfortable. She has been such an asset, and her loyalty to the college is beyond measure,” Black said.
Dewton said Hayward’s long-term knowledge of CMC has been “very helpful.”
“She actually kept pretty good records and occasionally reminded us that we were revisiting issues that had been decided before,” Dewton said.
Hayward said she’s happy to hear of Brubacher’s interest in running for her seat.
“I just think he would be a great board member,” she said.
“I have not fully made up my mind, but I think it would be interesting,” Brubacher said.
“CMC sure is going to play a prominent role in this area in the next few years,” he said, referring to its growing role in training workers in the energy industry.
Brubacher retired as Colorado’s assistant commissioner for education. He worked for 43 years in education, serving first at a variety of Colorado schools as a teacher, coach, principal and superintendent. He worked for 22 years in the state Department of Education.
His son, Steven, retired a year ago as a teacher in Garfield County School District 16. Roy Brubacher also served a year and a half on the board of that district.
Hayward said she hopes Dewton is re-elected.
“She’s just been a wonderful leader of the board,” Hayward said.
Neither Dewton nor Black has heard of any others expressing an interest in running for the Eagle County seat. However, CMC candidates can’t take out petitions until Aug. 2, and they aren’t due until Aug. 26.
Dewton is a former U.S. Department of Energy employee and later worked as a Washington lobbyist for the oil industry.
She cited CMC’s transition to what is called a learning college as one of the major projects the board has been working on during her tenure. The effort seeks to make sure students are learning rather than just going to class.
“It’s a much more hands-on form of learning that we’re hopeful will actually lead to better student success,” she said.
Dewton said the board also has been working hard to keep CMC financially strong, which is enabling it to pursue several construction projects across the district.
Dewton said that if she is re-elected, she would be interested in serving as chair again.
Whitsitt said she hasn’t heard if anyone else is interested in running for the CMC board in her district, which encompasses the upper Roaring Fork Valley.
“It doesn’t seem like a very popular job. It seems like people tend to run unopposed,” she said.
Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516
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