On Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees interviewed three candidates to fill a vacant seat.
On June 8, six-year Trustee Bert Bleke resigned and ended his term early. The chosen candidate will serve the remainder of Bleke’s term, which was set to end in December 2018.
The three candidates are C.J Shroll, a retired employee of GRCC, Sheryl Siegel, the board president at Wellspring Preparatory High school, and Carlos Sanchez, a staff member at Ferris State University.
Shroll has been with GRCC since 1979 as a consultant who served as the chief of economic development and workforce development officer until 1993. Shroll was also the executive director of the workforce development unit for the Michigan Community College Association from 1999 to 2003.
Although Shroll has been retired, he can often be found listening in on the trustee meetings and commenting on the issues at hand every now and then.
“I think I come with a significant benefit,” Shroll said. “Plus, given my experience with the college, I think I have a pretty good handle of how it works and on what things have worked over the years and what things haven’t worked.”
Shroll said what he wanted to see the most was the increase of communication between the college and the community.
Shroll also wants to make sure that they communicate within the college campus to make sure that the students are being taught well and that the students are as ready as they can be to move into the workforce.
Shroll believes that funds are slowly becoming an issue for the future of the college.
“It’s what keeps the roofs on the builds and funds all of the construction…,” Shroll said. “We have to make sure that we keep that pipeline open and keep a careful eye on the funds.”
Siegel was next to be interviewed.
Although it seemed that Siegel didn’t know the ins-and-outs of GRCC as well as Shroll, she gave great praise to the college as it has helped many of the students attending WPHS.
Throughout her career, she has workeRachael Yadlowsky | The Collegiate Lived on many different community building committees and groups. Siegel also also worked at Toyota in public relations for six years.
“Being able to understand and empathize with their legitimate and sometimes illegitimate concern and yet hold up the integrity of the organization’s program,” Siegel said. “It’s a delicate balance and one which I have learned over the course of several years.”
She is also a board member of a organization program called True Success, an organization created to help students learn while also teaching them good behavioral skills to help them further.
Siegel emphasized that she has worked with many people to strengthen the Grand Rapids community and loves doing it. She wants to help GRCC do the same.
Siegel believes that her big visions for the school and the Grand Rapids community will be able to draw more attention to community to help improve the college.
One of Siegel’s concerns for the college is keeping it affordable for all members of the community, whether it be kids fresh out of high school or older residents who are looking to re educate themselves.
Sanchez had the final interview. San
chez is the director of the Latino Business and Economic Development Center for Ferris State University.
“Recently, I’ve been thinking about how can I make a bigger impact in this community,” Sanchez said. “Quite honestly, I want to open the school’s arms wider than what was expected to meet.”
Sanchez explained that he wanted to give back to the community in some way and felt like becoming a member of the board could accomplish that.
“I have a bachelor’s in communication,” Sanchez said. “So, I believe that I can add my experiences to help the institution and its workforce grow.”
Even though GRCC is a very complex institution, Sanchez believes that he has what it takes to keep up with the institution.
“Working at Ferris State University is also a very complex organization,” Sanchez said. “I think that there needs to be a sense of complexity in order for something to be effective.”
Sanchez also believes that the mission of GRCC is underestimated by the community.
“I want to know and figure out how the board can show how this institution serves the community,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez says that he is a busy person and that’s how he likes it. He says that he is constantly looking for something to do.
“I’m always happy to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” Sanchez said.
Although the board is looking for a new trustee who can work well with fellow trustees and is professional, there was one major characteristic that all trustees highlighted.
“We need someone who can add value to our conversations,” said Chairman, David Koetje. “We need someone that will add their experience to ours to improve this institution.”
All trustees will review all three interviews with GRCC president, Bill Pink and the new trustee will be announced on Mon. June 19 at the Board of Trustee meeting.