Four candidates are in the running for the two open seats on the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees and Grand Rapids citizens will choose the winners in next week’s midterm elections.
The two open seats are from Trustee Richard Stewart who chose not to seek reelection, and the seat currently held by Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez was appointed the trustee position in June 2017 after former Trustee Bert Bleke resigned from the board before his term expired. This year, Sanchez is one of the four candidates looking to make his position on the board a six-year one.
The candidates are Carlos Sanchez, Kathy Crosby, Troy Williams and Sheryl Siegel. The Collegiate reached out to the candidates to better understand their decision to run for the available seats. These were their answers:
What compelled you to run for GRCC’s Board of Trustees?
There’s not just one reason to run. One, because representation matters. The Latino population at the college is one of the largest and, I believe, Latino students would like to see themselves being represented at that level. I am not saying I will only represent Latinos, but that voice needs to be heard at the table. Two, leadership is about showing up. One needs to be willing to step forward when the opportunity calls. I want to help in the development of more leaders or color in Grand Rapids and this position would help guide that effort in and outside of the college. Last, because I care about education. I care not just because I work at a university, but because it’s education that has elevated me to these positions. I want to help more people achieve their potential through education.
Crosby (excerpt from GRCC Candidate Forum document)
After careful consideration I chose to run for a seat on the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees because of my experience and knowledge in the areas of:
- Working with adults to learn and prepare for their personal career journeys
- Government funding for services and programs
- Board governance and responsibilities
I am very engaged in the community and will bring the perspective of business, other education entities, and nonprofits to the Board of Trustees. I have experience serving life. Additionally, I am committed to equity, diversity and inclusion for all, and believe that education plays an important role in that area.
A trustee must respect the law, fulfill their oath of office, and be the community’s voice at the table. I am running to be that community voice at the table and to encourage the college to broaden its approach to marketing, including utilizing organizations. My desire is to close the gap between potential adult students that seek higher education and the abundance of resources available to them at GRCC. My philosophy on education is this: it should be tailored to ensure that all students are positioned to reach their full potential as individuals on a personal and professional level. Talent exists in every economic class and those seeking higher education should have an honest and low cost opportunity to do so.
I’m running for an honored position on the GRCC Board of Trustees out of gratitude. Gratitude for the energy and vibrancy that the college injects into the heart of our city; gratitude for the solid foundation the college provided our son to be successful at Kendall; and gratitude for the ability of hundreds of students to have access to a higher education that they would not otherwise be able to afford.
I’m also a champion of the college, understanding its unique role in higher education where students can take a welding class, cross the street, and read Aristotle in a philosophy class.
Not even a state college or an Ivy League school can match the breath of classes that community college offers.
GRCC hosted a community forum for the four candidates on Tuesday. Three of the four were in attendance and answered questions from GRCC’s Academic Governing Council and Student Alliance.