Jun 19, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterWednesday night marked a changing of the guard at Central Wyoming College.
It was the last board meeting for retiring CWC president Jo Anne McFarland, who has been at her post for a quarter-century and has worked at the school for 41 years.
The meeting also was the first for incoming president Cristobal Valdez, who starts July 14. He is the seventh person to hold the title at the school and the sixth CWC president hired on a long-term basis.
Dr. Robert Barringer served several months in an interim capacity as president at CWC.
Valdez attended Wednesday as an observer, but he used the time to visit with staff and students who were present. During the meeting, board chairman Charlie Krebs acknowledged Valdez, who moves to Riverton from Piqua, Ohio, where he previously was president at Edison Community College. The Montana native is bringing along his wife, Robin, and children Antonio, 18, Ali, 15, Aaron, 12, and Andi, 9.
Dancing in the street
Jennifer Rey, CWC's executive director of human resources, took it upon herself to note McFarland's milestone before the meeting adjourned Wednesday.
"I often say to people who are retiring --and I meet with every one --you often go through a bereavement process," Rey said, noting the adjustment that comes with changing schedules and workloads.
She said the staff at CWC will be mourning a loss as well when McFarland leaves at the end of this month along with public information officer Carolyn Aanestad, who also departs June 30 after more than three decade on the job.
"We'll miss working with both of you on a daily basis," Rey said. "We appreciate the contributions you've made to the college and the advocacy you've bestowed on our students."
Chief information officer John Wood invited everyone present to the "Dancing in the Street" event to celebrate McFarland's career from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 27 at CWC.
The title recalls a phrase McFarland often used when jokingly describing her staff's reaction to her impending retirement.
"Jo Anne always has said she hopes when she left this place there would be dancing in the streets," Wood said.
The event will include free food and live music, with speeches scheduled for 7 p.m.