Interim Vice President for Colorado Northwestern Community College ‘holds down the fort’ as search for new VP moves forward |

Interim Vice President for Colorado Northwestern Community College ‘holds down the fort’ as search for new VP moves forward

Ron Slinger is "holding down the fort" at CNCC Craig campus during the search for a new vice president.
Sasha Nelson/staff

CRAIG — Resignations and retirements have left Colorado Northwestern Community College short three vice presidents — VP of Instruction, VP of Finance and VP of Craig Campus — as well as voids in other leadership positions. To help keep things on track for the start of a new semester, the Colorado Community College System office has provided support, including an interim VP for the Craig Campus.

“Basically, I hold the fort while the college does a search for a permanent person. It’s unique that CNCC has all three VP positions open at the same time,’ said CNCC Interim Vice President of the Craig Campus Ron Slinger.

Slinger, who is “on loan from his home institution” — Red Rocks Community College, where he serves as associate vice president of institutional advancement for Red Rocks Community College and executive director of the Red Rocks Community College Foundation.

He has been in Craig about three weeks and expects to remain in town for about three months during the search for a permanent replacement for former VP Janell Oberlander. Oberlander recently resigned to accept a position in her hometown of Gillette, Wyoming.

Slinger said it’s his job to be a good listener, ensure nothing gets dropped, and provide an outside perspective, but not create new initiatives he won’t be able to follow-up on.

“Basically, it comes down to serving students and ensuring the student experience is not affected. We are all here for one purpose and that is to ensure that the students have a high-quality education,” he said.

After his time in Craig, Slinger will return to his position at Red Rocks, where he’s worked since 2010. Under his leadership, the RRCC Foundation has raised more than $25 million for scholarships, program support, and capital needs. Prior to joining the college, Slinger was a successful small business owner for more than 15 years. He also has a distinguished track record of public service, as a Gilpin County RE-1 School Board member, Central City council member, Gilpin County commissioner, and, most recently, Central City mayor.

He serves on the Arvada Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, as a board member of the Arvada Economic Development Association, as an ad hoc member of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, as a board member of the Tri-County Workforce Board, and as a board member of the Arvada Jefferson Kiwanis Club. He is currently working on a doctorate in community college leadership through Ferris State University.

Asked how he manages to fit it all in, Slinger said: “Everyone is busy. Anyone worth their salt is busy, and busy people tend to get called upon, because they can get things done. So, I’ve been called on to serve the community and have done so and enjoy it.”

He said his wife of 15 years, nurse Karen Slinger, is good at letting him “know when I’m too busy and need to balance.”

The couple has two children — Katelyn Slinger, 18, and Nicholas Slinger, 23 — who have traveled to Craig several times to visit him.

More than 30 people have applied for VP of Craig Campus and VP of Instruction, with about half that number applying for the VP of Finance position. The application period closes Aug. 16.

“We plan on moving forward quickly,” said CNCC President Ron Granger.

Granger added that the search committees are teams of people representing Rangely and Craig campuses, many departments, and the system office. He said he plans to provide opportunities for the community to meet the candidates and weigh-in.

It doesn’t surprise Slinger that the community would like a say in the next VP of the Craig Campus.

“It is clear that the community is passionate about the success of this campus and the college and are very interested in seeing it grow, and that is exciting,” Slinger said. “Whoever comes in will be in a great place to pick up that energy and excitement and vision for a broader campus here and, hopefully, run with it.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or

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