Local CNCC board appoints Holloway, Oxley to soon-to-be vacant seats

Colorado Northwestern Community College's Craig campus.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Jennifer Holloway and Christina Oxley will be the newest board members guiding Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig.

Holloway is the executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Visit Moffat County. Oxley, who formerly held the same position with the Chamber, is now the regional business services coordinator with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The two were appointed Monday night in a meeting of the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District board to serve in the soon-to-be-vacated seats currently held by Jennifer Womack and Lois Wymore. They will be sworn in at the next board meeting, to be held Jan. 24.

Holloway, who is Wymore’s daughter, a former CNCC director of student services and an alumna of the college, said the opportunity to serve on the board of a campus that years ago directed her to a successful life was a special one.

“It’s crazy to think about that full-circle moment,” Holloway said. “I was a student here in 1991. I went to my first board meeting here and was like, ‘Wow a board.’ It changes your life. Education is where we can create change. It’s where we can keep our minds open. That’s what our town needs.”

Oxley, who, like Holloway, is a Craig native, said she believes the opportunity the college has at this point in Craig’s history is a critical one to get right.

“The college is uniquely positioned,” Oxley said. “Particularly right now, with all the emphasis on coal and energy transition and dollars coming down — the college is probably better positioned that anybody else in the community to take advantage of those dollars and use them in a way that builds for better. Something that isn’t just throwing spaghetti at a wall, but is actually developing programs. They’re very poised for that, and already have the infrastructure to do that, as well as workforce development.”

A third candidate for the two open positions, Denton Taylor, appeared at the meeting Monday via video conference from where he currently resides in Nebraska as he finishes law school at Creighton. The 2016 Moffat County High School graduate applied for the position and impressed the board — member Terry Carwile particularly noting that a young person like Taylor was “exactly what we need.” However, Taylor’s residence out of state until his graduation in May gave the board pause in selecting him right away to serve on the board.

Board president Kirstie McPherson, however, said she believed another board seat was soon to open due to absences by a current board member, and if the board could verify through its attorney that Taylor was eligible to serve with a permanent address in Craig but a temporary residence out of state, it was very likely he’d be appointed to fill that vacancy as soon as January.

In the meantime, Holloway and Oxley will prepare to take their seats.

“There’s a huge need to get people credentialed and credentialed fast, and community colleges are uniquely positioned to do that,” Oxley said. “I want to be part of strategically looking at what the college and community can do.”

Holloway sees the college as one of the region’s primary resources for positive growth.

“We have lots of assets here — our public lands are one, and our opportunity for education is the other,” Holloway said. “To me it comes down to those two. We have something other colleges don’t have then with that access to place-based education, in-the-field education. And what Chris said about small-time credentialing, badging, short credentials to get people into real jobs right away — we don’t need more over-educated people in this community. We need educated, but not over-educated. That’s why community colleges exist, we need to step up to the challenge and do it here.”

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.