CCC board candidate Q&As

The Clovis Community College Board of Trustees election is Tuesday. The only contested race is in District 1 where incumbent Gayla Brumfield faces Donald Sharer.

We asked each candidate to answer the same four questions via email:

Gayla Brumfield, 59, is a Realtor, president and broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Colonial Real Estate

She has lived in Clovis for 49 years.

Tell us about a significant memory you have of your education. For instance, did a teacher or class influence you?

My fifth-grade teacher at James Bickley, Mrs. Lois McCready, made me fall in love with reading, geography and history.

She made everything come alive and made me feel that learning was important and fun. She made me believe I could reach any of my educational goals. This is why I went back to school, received an associate degree from CCC in real estate and went on to finish a bachelor degree.

What would your priority be as a board member?

My priority as a board member would be to continue to strengthen student and community access to lifelong learning opportunities through strategic recruitment and outreach, financial affordability and management of course and program offerings.

I would also work to support and promote student achievement of CCC's educational goals, ensure the college is providing relevant, quality programs and services to best support student learning and educational achievement, and by supporting enrollment of student groups that have been traditionally undeserved.

I will continue to focus on workforce training with our local businesses to help with training for current and future employees, which helps our local economy. During my tenure on the board of trustees, one of my main concerns is the financial debt students incur over the years, so we need to minimize financial barriers to the extent and assist students so they have manageable debt loads.

Where do you think CCC is lacking?

CCC faces specific challenges as a rural community college. One of the biggest challenges has been recruiting faculty and staff for positions that require specialized education or experience.

In the spotlight more than ever before, community colleges are increasingly being asked to do more with less — facing greater pressure to produce more college graduates at the same time that state funding is being reduced, including our very own community college.

To build on less funding we need to continue to test and improve methods for helping students succeed in gaining new skills and making their way into the labor market. There is nothing that I like better than seeing students who have worked so hard, balance work and family, and struggled financially to walk across the stage to receive their diploma. The smile on their face is worth it all!!

What's the strongest attribute you would bring as a trustee?

The strongest attributes I bring as a trustee are experience, commitment and passion for CCC. For over a decade it has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of Curry County as a member of the CCC Board of Trustees.

Together we have grown the college to serve more students, seen the start of the Cultural Arts Series, implemented programs for our high school students to receive college credits and built infrastructure to meet our growing demand.

As a member of the board of trustees, we've constructed the Health Sciences Center, the Dr. W.D. Dabbs Library and Technology Center, acquired funding to keep CCC active without massive layoffs during the BRAC process, assisted in the acquisition and renovation of Mesa Theater and adjacent properties as well as implemented new course tracks including: Nursing, radiology, emergency medical services, fire science and wind energy.

As a graduate of CCC, I have a keen understanding of student needs, non-traditional students, and going back to school after marriage, children and building a business, so I can relate to how it is to try and balance it all.

Donald Sharer, 44, is a science teacher at Portales High school

Sharer has lived in Clovis for eight years.

Tell us about a significant memory you have of your education. For instance, did a teacher or class influence you?

I have always enjoyed my opportunities to learn. I know how education can benefit an individual and make one stronger. I have been fortunate to have great memories of education and am privileged to work as an educator today.

When I look back at my time as a student, I find three people who had a tremendous impact on my learning: My high school principal, a government professor at New Mexico State University and an instructor pilot when I was a student in Air Force pilot training. That impact continues to this day in how I help others learn.

My principal showed me how important a diverse background is and that we should take every opportunity to learn about new things and ideas, no matter the field of study.

The government professor showed me how to truly evaluate my own beliefs, not in a manner to change beliefs but rather solidify them. It opened my world to deep thinking and deeper understanding.

The instructor pilot showed me how to really explain a concept, use empathy and demonstrate ability. He taught me how to bring out the best in myself.

What would your priority be as a board member?

Clovis Community College must continue to be a leader in emerging education. It is the job of the board of trustees to have a vision that promotes education that the people of Clovis and the surrounding communities need.

CCC should continue to be a leader in medical service education. It also needs to take steps to make certain it is a leader in educating for tomorrow's needs in fields such as alternative energy and water management.

The establishment needs to be proactive in its endeavors to bring programs that meet the current and future needs of the community.

Where do you think CCC is lacking?

The word "lacking" is not a fair description of the institution. CCC is filled with dedicated professionals serving a critical need for our community. I envision that CCC will continue to be a leader in meeting educational needs.

As a member of the board of trustees I will work to have the college develop programs that provide opportunities for people to earn and maintain critical skills for future employment in such areas as the medicine, energy and water management.

The school must also be ready for a changing world in education. As a high school teacher I see first hand the changes that are coming in the next few years.

CCC must be prepared for a different high school system than most of us experienced if it will fully serve future high school graduates along with high school students enrolled in courses at the college.

What's the strongest attribute you would bring as a trustee?

My experience in leadership as a former military officer and my experience as an educator allow me to bring a unique skill set to the board of trustees, one that I believe will benefit the faculty, staff and students of the college.

— Compiled by CMI staff writer Benna Sayyed

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