One is an associate professor who teaches students about becoming teachers, and one is an educator who brings real-world medical-field and private-sector experience into the classroom. The third is described as a “steadfast rock” who will be missed when she retires at the end of the school year, and the fourth is a powerful advocate for students.

Each year, Colorado Mountain College students and employees recognize faculty and staff members who demonstrate exceptional contributions to the college. Each of the college’s seven campuses, central administrative offices and online learning department can nominate campus honorees.

For the 2018-19 academic year, Colorado Mountain College Leadville and Chaffee County recently named Erin Allaman the campus’s full-time Faculty of the Year. Adjunct (part-time) Faculty of the Year is Cindy Harman. Allaman is an associate professor of teacher education and Harman teaches chemistry and tutors students.

Mollie Sorenson, an executive administrative assistant, was named full-time Staff of the Year at the campus. Jennifer Speight, who coordinates the TRIO Student Support Services Center at the campus, is the part-time Staff of the Year.

The teacher’s teacher

Allaman joined CMC’s teacher education program in 2017. She received her doctorate in educational foundations from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2013, and was an educator in public schools and in international settings.

“Erin has brought education to our tiny mountain region,” wrote fellow faculty member Darren Brungardt, assistant mathematics professor. “She is bringing teachers to my community from my community. It is outstanding to work with such a dynamic educator on a daily basis.”

Brungardt is looking forward to seeing the full circle of CMC students show up in his classes.

“Erin will help forge a new generation of teachers who will one day send awesome students to me,” he said.

A ‘kind and humorous way’

Cindy Harman is an engaging science faculty member, and a valuable educator with Leadville’s TRIO Student Support Services Center where students can go for extra instruction.

“She is a dedicated tutor. She can help any student with any task,” wrote Kelli McCall, developmental education faculty, in her nomination of Harman. “Cindy has helped me with so many students. Whenever I needed backup, she is there to offer another perspective and to try to connect with struggling students in a new, kind and humorous way.”

Twenty years of excellence

Sorenson started working at Colorado Mountain College 20 years ago – first at CMC Breckenridge and later, at the Leadville campus. She will be retiring this spring.

“I’ve known Mollie since she arrived at the Leadville campus 10 years ago,” said Skip Lee, dean of Student Affairs at Leadville. “As executive administrative assistant, Mollie has had widely varied duties and responsibilities, and she carries them out with exceptional hard work and dedication to the campus. It is fitting she received the campus Staff of the Year award – she earned it!”

“Mollie is committed to CMC and student success in a way that is exemplary and reflects the very best of CMC,” said Rachel Pokrandt, vice president and Leadville and Chaffee County campus dean.

“While she prefers to stay in the background and out of the limelight,” wrote McCall, “her dedication to CMC allows us all to shine. She will be missed when she retires!”

Speight is the campus’s TRIO Student Support Services Center coordinator. TRIO is a federally-funded academic guidance and advocacy program that helps students reach their potential. CMC Leadville chose Speight as the part-time Staff of the Year for 2018-19.

‘The biggest heart’

“Jen Speight has the biggest heart for our students and is an inspiration for me as a colleague,” said Kellee Rickenbach, an academic advisor at CMC Leadville. “She is one of the best listeners I’ve ever encountered, and after I spend time with her I feel more at peace and ready to tackle any obstacle. I know that our students feel the same way as I see her work impact our students every day.”

“Our faculty and staff – both in the classroom and behind the scenes – play vital roles in ensuring that our students succeed,” said Carrie Besnette Hauser, CMC president and CEO. “Because of all of you, our college and our students are thriving.”

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