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Schoening gets college board seat until 2014

Schoening gets college board seat until 2014

Feb 21, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

She was appointed Wednesday to fill the vacancy left by Judy Pedersen's resignation.

Nicole Schoening took her seat on the Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees on Wednesday, beating out a pool of six other candidates for the job.

"I'm so humbled," Shoening said Wednesday after she was sworn in. "I hope to live up to your expectations."

She was impressed by the group of applicants, which included Gloria Philp, Tim Payne, Phil Christopherson, Robert Heuermann, Jack Hildner and John W. Mercer Jr. Trustees also were pleased with the turnout; they took about an hour to choose their preferred appointee.

"You seven out there didn't make our jobs any easier," board chairman Charlie Krebs said. "We would be happy with any of you."

Schoening had campaigned for the spot in 2012 but lost to Judy Pedersen, who resigned from the Riverton-Shoshoni subdistrict post in January. Now Schoening will serve through 2014, when she hopes voters will elect her to fill the rest of the four-year term.

"This is a wonderful time in my life to give back," Schoening said Wednesday during her interview. "I love the college, and I couldn't think of a more perfect opportunity for me to serve."

Growing up as her mother, Linda Bebout, served on the board, Schoening said conversations in her home often revolved around issues of higher education. Schoening earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in social work at the University of Wyoming, and now she works as a special education case manager at Riverton Middle School.

"I'm required to be highly organized ... while also adhering to federal guidelines," Schoening said. "My job requires much preparation and time management. My job also requires me to be able to communicate effectively with families in a manner they comprehend."

By nature, she said, she likes working with people.

"I enjoy meaningful dialogue and healthy communication with others," Schoening said. "I hope to contribute to discussion in a positive manner that serves the greater good, and I believe my attitude and behavior (demonstrates) respect for all of my colleagues."

Schoening said she believes in the power of the community college system in Wyoming, and she said she sees opportunity for growth in the future. Vocational programs and General Educational Development courses are important, Schoening said, as is the college's commitment to offering cultural and athletic events.

When asked about areas that need improvement, she talked about keeping up-to-date with technology to attract students.

"Students in the state are exposed to smart boards, laptops, iPads, smart phones," Schoening said. "Technology comes with a price, but I see that as an area we'll constantly want to review and improve."

She also is interested in the diversity of programs available on campus, though she said she wouldn't want to compromise quality for quantity when it comes to instruction.

"That boils down to a staff that's supported and a staff that are really dedicated to the mission of the school," Schoening said.

She is a strong believer in teamwork and talked about cultivating leadership within the staff at CWC.

"This will draw employees in and I suspect will improve employee morale incredibly," she said.

Members of the staff were present Wednesday and congratulated Schoening for her accomplishment, as did student senate president Garrett Von Krosigk, who commended the board for its decision.

"We're encouraged to see the direction the board will be taking with its new board member," Von Krosigk said. "I can say confidently we're all very excited."

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