With fall elections last week, there are two transitions for the Board of Trustees that will occur at the start of the new year.
First, JCCC will say goodbye to two long-serving Trustees. Current Vice Chair Nancy Ingram and former Chair Greg Musil did not seek re-election; both will depart the board at the end of December 2023. Trustee Ingram has served since 2015 and Trustee Musil became a trustee in 2011.
Second, according to unofficial election results, current Trustee Laura Smith-Everett — the only incumbent trustee on the ballot— retains her seat and will begin a second term in January. There will also be two newcomers to the seven-member governing board, and currently those appear to be Valerie Jennings and Greg Mitchell. With the final, official vote canvassing not yet complete, Ken Selzer might garner the votes needed to overtake Greg Mitchell. Final election results are expected by Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Retiring trustees leave a legacy of pride
Both retiring trustees are proud to have served at Johnson County Community College and invite everyone to share an experience there. “From the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art to the Student Center and our ball fields, we should all be proud of this community gem. I know I am,” professes Vice Chair Ingram.
The board transition will occur in January. Trustee Musil offers this insight: “New trustees are stepping into an important and difficult position. There is much to learn, and the first year takes much diligence, time and patience to become comfortable in the decision-making process.”
Trustee Musil has been asked many times over the years about the role of a trustee at JCCC. His response includes, “We set policy, give guidance to the College president and staff, recruit and retain a leader to be president, and to represent all stakeholders who are invested in the College. That means taking a much broader view than special interests on or off campus and considering what’s the right thing for students, staff, faculty, parent, and taxpayers.” He adds, “Trustees need to work together, be prepared for all meetings and topics, and show up for the College and community events. Trustees are the eyes and ears of the College in the community and must commit to listening for ideas on how we are doing well and for how we can improve.”
“Being a good trustee is much more than a title or a position,” Musil acknowledges. “It is accepting a fiduciary duty to the entire county to be smart, thoughtful, caring, and financially sound. Trustees who invest their time, treasure, and talent in JCCC are rewarded by the excitement of graduation and seeing students of all types realize they can and do control their future.”
Trustee Ingram views her role over the prior eight years as far-reaching. “Being a trustee has allowed the opportunity for so many connections in our community. As a wife of a retired public-school educator, my past involvement within that scope provided a foundation for transition opportunities for our local students,” she said. “Joining the Johnson County Mental Health Center Advisory Board soon after my election, we began conversations about a partnership on our campus, with a transition for students seeking continued mental health support. Knowing we can support our students in this way is extremely special to me.”
“I found the Board work extremely rewarding,” Ingram adds. “With everyone’s focus on our students, working together to keep the mill levy down and tuition affordable will always be important. Local leadership on non-partisan boards is so important to the success of the community college system. I was honored to serve as president of the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees for three years, two during COVID. To observe the system from that vantage point has contributed to my continued belief of the importance of our Kansas community colleges.”