Welcome To The Circus

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Welcome to the battle, Mr. Zilisch. Or maybe it’s the circus. Either way, you’ve come in the nick of time.

John Zilisch is one of those Rim Country treasures: He retired here after a lifetime of accomplishment that included running multi-million-dollar training programs for Caterpillar and others.

In the 13 years he’s lived here, he’s given his time and expertise to a host of good causes — including Payson Helping Payson, the Rim Country Classic Auto Club Car Show and the Gila County Community Action Program.

Now, he’s agreed to fill the long-vacant slot on the Gila Community College Board of Directors.

The community college remains one of the most vital institutions in Rim Country, since it provides a path to lifetime success for students. In an age when lawmakers seem content to let increases in tuition put college out of reach for more and more students, community colleges still provide an affordable start. They also offer vocational programs vital to economic growth.

The GCC board has long been torn. Divisions between north and south, distracting infighting and concerns about its second-class, provisional college status have all played a debilitating role.

Now, the divisions have been largely healed and the board has resolved to seek full, independent status. Moreover, the long, stubborn effort to bring a university campus to Payson offers a marvelous opportunity for a partnership between Arizona State University and GCC that will yield huge benefits for students — especially bright, hard-working local kids seeking an affordable, high-quality education.

Mr. Zilisch seems perfectly positioned to make a serious contribution to that healing. In addition to his marvelous experience with vocational training programs, he brings to the GCC board close connections to the Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) board.

We believe he’s the perfect person at the perfect moment. And we extend the gratitude of this community for his willingness to work so hard for so little on our behalf.

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