After nearly ten years with Colorado Mountain College, Rachel Pokrandt, vice president and campus dean of the Leadville and Salida campuses, has accepted the role of President at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me because I absolutely love the Leadville and Salida communities and our amazing, dedicated faculty, staff and students,” Pokrandt said. “We have the most innovative and dedicated people at both campuses and I look forward to following their successes in the years to come. They all have students and community at the heart of everything they do and I see a bright future ahead.”
Pokrandt has been vice president and campus dean of the CMC Leadville Campus since 2016. During her tenure in Leadville, she created teams that stabilized campus finances, created partnerships in the community and raised enrollment and graduation rates. Prior to her time in Leadville, Pokrandt served CMC as the campus dean in Rifle and as an assistant dean of instruction in Edwards.
Pokrandt facilitated the college’s efforts to build partnerships in the communities of Salida and Poncha Springs, which led to citizens voting overwhelmingly to join the CMC special taxing district in 2019. The opening of the Salida Campus was historic for CMC. The college hadn’t opened a new campus in nearly 40 years.
“We are grateful for Rachel’s tireless efforts serving the communities of Salida and Poncha Springs,” said Salida resident David Armstrong, who serves as a liaison to the CMC Board of Trustees. “Thanks to Rachel’s hard work establishing CMC’s team and campus, our local high school students are now able to earn college credit through CMC, and next month we’ll celebrate our first graduating class of college students from CMC Salida. Rachel’s leadership has accelerated the impact and success of CMC in the Salida and Poncha Springs area.”
“Colorado Mountain College is the only local higher education choice for people in our mountain communities, and the college’s presence in Leadville and Salida is healthy and growing thanks to Rachel’s leadership,” said Bob Hartzell, who represents Lake County on the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees. “We are grateful for her hard work, and confident that she’s leaving our local campus in good hands.”
Pokrandt’s last day with CMC will be June 18th. Before launching the search for Pokrandt’s replacement, CMC President & CEO Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser will meet with faculty and staff as well as key community stakeholders in Leadville and Salida to hear their thoughts and priorities.
“I’m tremendously optimistic about the future of the Leadville and Salida campuses thanks to the stable foundation that Rachel has helped build at both locations,” Hauser offered. “Given her many successes at CMC, it should be no surprise that she’s been recruited to lead another college. We’re happy for Rachel and we wish her the best in this new adventure.”