Gila County Superintendent Linda O’Dell hopes to find a new Gila Community College (GCC) board member by Feb. 14.
This is the second time O’Dell has advertised this position. The first time she got just two applications and neither worked out.
“One of the applicants withdrew their application, and the other person was not a registered voter,” she said.
Positive board experiences
GCC board president Larry Stephenson and board secretary Sam Moorhead have expressed frustration over the lack of applicants because the two only have positive things to say about their experience on the board.
“The opportunity to serve on the board enables me to help pay forward the debt of gratitude I have to our community,” said Moorhead. “I have learned a lot about public service in general and education in particular.”
Stephenson has a long history with community college and relishes his chance to share his views on serving on the board.
“Serving on the GCC Governing Board is an opportunity for me to give back some of the educational opportunities given me by a small community college I attended as a naïve 17-year-old,” said Stephenson. “The most fun part of being on the board is the ability to attempt to make things better for those students — particularly the younger students — who choose to attend Gila Community College.”
The board position has remained empty since Tom Loeffler resigned in July.
O’Dell said this empty seat has a short shelf life.
“The term of the person appointed to fill the GCC District 1 Governing Board vacancy will expire in December of 2014,” she said. “In accordance with state law, an election for the remaining two years of the six-year term, which expires in 2016, will be held as part of the 2014 General Election.”
O’Dell said registered voters residing in the following Gila County precincts are eligible to apply to the position: Payson 1, Payson 3, Payson 7, Payson 8 and Pine-Strawberry West. (Please see the map of the community college precincts).
No shortage of work
Both Moorhead and Stephenson said there is no shortage of work.
“The board has decided to start the formal process of applying for accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission,” said Moorhead. “I would urge anyone that has an interest to volunteer and provide about 20 percent of the Gila County residents with representation on the board of governors of our community college.”
Stephenson described some of the responsibilities.
“The board has a limited —but important — ability to shape the curriculum and programs offered by GCC and to tailor them to needs of Gila County,” he said. “As board members, we have fiscal accountability to the residents of Gila County for the approximately $4 million in property taxes paid annually as well as the almost $1.5 million in tuition paid by our students.”
Process not complicated
O’Dell said the process to apply is not complicated.
Potential board members are required to complete a short application and participate in an interview as part of the appointment process. O’Dell observed that the signed application document affirms a candidate’s eligibility and provides basic background information as well as insights about professional and life experiences that would support their appointment to the position.
Application packets are available at the Gila Community College Payson Campus during regular business hours, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or online at www.gilacountyschools .org.
The deadline for submission of application documents is 5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31.
Interviews will be conducted with potential board members.
Contact Victoria Sanchez at (928) 402-8783 for additional information about the governing board application and appointment process.