Central Wyoming College nominates six for Wyoming Community College Trustees Awards

Central Wyoming College will send six outstanding nominees to this year’s Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees Awards ceremony and Legislative Reception in Cheyenne, Wyoming Feb. 12.

WACCT’s mission is to educate community leaders, policymakers and college trustees with a focus on leadership development and advocacy. Each community college in Wyoming was asked to select at least one nominee for the honor in each category: student, professional staff, classified staff, faculty, volunteer service and Board of Trustees member. CWC will send six this year.


Professional staff nominee Paula Hartbank was nominated because as an employee who has served for more than 30-years she has created a culture of supporting students and advocating for their success through her example of strength and perseverance. Hartbank has assisted many students with their transfer needs and helped countless numbers receive scholarships to attend college who never knew they could qualify for assistance.

She has been an incredible advocate for young women who are victims of domestic violence, speaking out from her own personal tragedy to accomplish change in legislation. She is a constant inspiration to co-workers, students, and community members of the power of education.

Classified staff nominee, Heather Holbert has served as a leader of CWC’s Classified Staff in many areas including service as classified staff president, a participant on the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) steering committee,  participation in CWC’s overhaul of the Positive Employee Engagement Strategic Plan key result, restructuring the procedures committee, as well as serving on the Policies and Procedures Committee.

In addition to her contributions to CWC, Holbert was recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves in August 2019. Holbert has served on reserve duty for more than nine years. When she is gone on a drill she is out piloting a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. Because of her willingness to serve, she has been “on-call” more than once to deploy and assist in many locations in the U.S.

Faculty nominee, Jacki Klancher is an educator who inspires students, peers, and fellow outdoor enthusiasts alike, sharing her passion for creating student experiences that accomplish the integration of field-based skills with outdoor education, environmental science, and geospatial information science and technology (GIST). In one program, students join Jacki and her colleagues on a research expedition called the Interdisciplinary Climate Change Expedition, or ICCE, into the Dinwoody Cirque of the North Wind River range. Jacki continually forms and seeks collaborations with other two and four-year post-secondary institutions. Each year she brings guest scientists and other interested faculty on the ICCE expedition, including scientists from the University of Wyoming, the University of Redlands, Colorado State University, the University of California, as well as other faculty from Wyoming community colleges.

Foundation volunteer nominee Scott Estep has served on the CWC Foundation board for eight years, during a time in which CWC transitioned through leadership from a long-term president to a new executive leadership team. Immediately following President Tyndall’s hiring, Estep led the effort to embark on a national search to secure an executive director for the CWC Foundation that would align with the ambitious goals of the new leadership at the college. After managing a successful search, he set out to guide the new director in planning for a highly complex modular campaign. Collectively the projects required more than $20 million in fundraising. Scott maintained the community and board support for these projects and was critical in the successful transition.

To be recognized by your peers is one of the best compliments an individual can receive. These employees are the all-stars of our college and we are incredibly proud of them and the amazing work they do on and off campus. ” – Dr. Brad Tyndall, CWC president

Trustee Leadership nominee Ernie Over, a proud alumnus of CWC, has been a strong supporter of community colleges, attending meetings and events of CWC for many years. As a member of the Education Committee of the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees, he brought together top programs from each of the seven colleges for a “Best Practices” workshop as well as a safety and security conference. He was elected as president of the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees in his second year as a member of the body and has been highly active in collaborating with U.S. Senators and Representatives on behalf of Wyoming’s Community Colleges.

CWC student nominee, Kerim Velbayev is a student who inspires many at CWC. He is an international student representative from Turkmenistan. He is part of the Undergraduate Cohort Advising program by American Councils and communicates with students who are interested in international education. Velbayev plans to become an electrical engineer and to help the environment. He plans to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s in the United States at a large university like the University of Boston. Velbayev is the Campus Activities Board chair, organizing and attending many events for students and community members at CWC. He is also a Student Senator, addressing concerns for the student population and a math tutor for students on campus.


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