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Rachel Pokrandt has been appointed as the vice president of Colorado Mountain College Leadville and Chaffee County, effective immediately.

Photo of Rachel Pokrandt, new vice president of CMC Leadville

Rachel Pokrandt has been named vice president for Colorado Mountain College Leadville and Chaffee County, effective Dec. 5, 2016. She has been serving as interim campus leader since Aug. 1; before that time, she had served the college as Rifle campus dean. Photo Kate Lapides

Pokrandt has been providing interim campus leadership in Leadville and Chaffee County since Aug. 1, 2016, after the previous campus vice president, James Y. Taylor, accepted a position with Utah State University. Previously she had been the campus dean for Colorado Mountain College Rifle and has also held leadership roles at CMC’s Edwards and Breckenridge campuses.

Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, CMC president and CEO, said, “I understand how important it is to have the right leader in place serving Lake and Chaffee counties, so for the past several weeks I have solicited feedback from both campus representatives and community members, as well as counsel from an interim study committee, and have considered my own observations and the needs of the college and the campus.

“While I generally encourage internal or national searches for most position, there are occasions when timing and one’s fit with the unique needs of a department or campus require a different approach. This is one of those times,” said Hauser. “After watching Rachel at work these past months, and listening to all the feedback I’ve received, I am convinced that she brings the desire and commitment to serve extremely well our communities in Lake and Chaffee counties.”

“I am truly honored to be offered this position,” said Pokrandt. “I am ready to roll up my sleeves to provide our campus and community with the stability, enthusiasm and creativity that they need.”

Pokrandt brings stellar background

Before being named campus dean in Rifle, Pokrandt was an instructional dean at Front Range Community College after a 10-year career in the nonprofit sector working on educational programs with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, DuPont and Dow Chemical. Pokrandt has trained over 5,000 teachers and nonprofit staffers in the U.S., Ireland, England, India, Bangladesh, Germany and Puerto Rico.

Pokrandt has a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies and British literature from Manchester University, U.K.; a Master of Business Administration from Western Governor’s University; and a graduate certificate in sustainability from Harvard University, and is scheduled to receive her doctorate in management from University of Switzerland, Zurich in the winter of 2016.

Last year at the Rifle campus, she introduced a novel program called Career Academy and enhanced concurrent enrollment options. The local school district had gone to a four-day school week because of budget cuts, and Pokrandt and her staff created a program of concurrent enrollment courses on days the K-12 schools were not in session. As a result, this year 65 high school students in west Garfield County earned certificates in such areas as nurse aide, culinary, welding and early childhood education, bumping up the campus’s graduation numbers to record levels.