Name: Darrin Green
Position you are running for: Cowley College Board of Trustees
Family members (e.g. spouse, children, grandchildren):
I married Dr. Rhonda (Beeson) Green in 2003. We have two children. Our daughter is Marguerite (Maggie) Green, age 12.A seventh-grader at ACMS, she is involved with ACC Cheer and Prairie Voices. Our son is Everett Green, age 10. A sixth-grader at ACMS, he is involved in Boy Scouts Troop 328 and Ark City Rec Basketball.
How long have you lived in Arkansas City?
I was born and raised in Arkansas City. Graduated Ark City High in 1986. Attended Cowley College and received my degree in Industrial Supervision and Management. I left Ark City in 1996 pursuing a career as a project manager in the hotel energy management industry. I returned to Ark City in 2001 after 9/11 destroyed the hotel job market. Currently, I am the owner and manager of Double Eagle Firearms & Pawn and Green-Way Essentials.
Have you served on any boards previously?
I had the opportunity to serve on the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Chair of Cowley County Mental Health Board, and I am the current Chair of SouthWinds District of Quivira Council, Kansas, Boy Scouts of America. SouthWinds District serves southern Sedgwick, Cowley, Harper and Sumner counties.
Why did you choose to run for this position?
I want to see the college continue to thrive and grow while maintaining fiscal responsibility for the taxpayer.
What do you think of the plans for the new Sumner County campus and how its construction will be financed?
The Sumner Campus is an exciting time for Sumner County, especially for the high school students. This campus will allow high school students the opportunity to take college credit courses while still in high school. This is a huge educational advantage for the high school student while being very effective in financial savings for the student and student’s family.
Allowing high school students this opportunity might well be the “spark” that drives them on to attend college after high school graduation. Or this may be the only opportunity some students have to attend college at all or to learn a new trade to support themselves after high school.
Currently, Sumner County has adopted a half-cent sales tax for a period of 10 years. The estimation for that sales tax revenue is $12 million. Cowley College has secured a loan for the construction cost and then will recoup from the sales tax. The City of Wellington and Cowley College-Sumner is to pay for the construction of the electrical, sewer, water lines, storm drainage, sidewalks, streets, traffic controls, and buildings. This all occurs at different shared expense amounts. With a guarantee that the City of Wellington will make up any shortfalls if $12 million is not generated by the sales tax. The fact that Sumner County voted and passed this measure shows a significant amount of support for the new campus.
Cowley College had a slight increase in enrollment this fall after years of decline. What would you like to see done to try to continue this increase in future semesters?
Allow me to say “KUDOS” to Kristi Shaw and her team! Great Job.
While every college likes full-time students, I would like to see a push for more flexible times to allow more people the opportunity to attend courses. For example, more night classes, weekend classes and specialty senior classes for the Golden Tigers. Of all this, I feel one of the most important goals is to renew the Technical programs. Many people currently living in our community do not necessarily want a degree. Instead, they want a trade or skill. The technical trades can and should be our “meat and potatoes” for the future of this college.
What input would you like to have on the college’s new master plan and what sorts of stakeholders should be part of that process? How much of the current master plan, which is less than five years old, should be retained as part of the new plan?
Every successful business should have a business plan to follow. Without a plan, you have no goals, no direction and no measure of success. Business plans need to be visited and revisited to ensure the business is headed in the correct direction to allow the continued success of the business. The Cowley College master plan is very much their business plan.
While it may look like a correct path to follow at this point in time, it will continually have to be re-examined and tweaked. If only I had a crystal ball to see 20 years into the future… dang the luck.
But as a master plan continues to unfold, the three most important stakeholders are as follows:
- The ENTIRE STAFF of Cowley College, from A to Z. Every staff member deserves to have a voice that is listened to. I would encourage the board to meet with every team member of the college for input and concerns without repercussion. But not just listen, but to actually act upon ideas for improvement. No matter how painful the process might be.
- The EMPLOYERS of these communities. We need programs that help the employer and the workforce. Let’s face it, the more people we have working, the better it is for any community. This not only includes the labor, factory and industrial jobs, but teaching, health care, computer sciences, even cooking. Why not have a Culinary school? Why not have an Artist Blacksmithing and Metalworking school? Why not have classes about Flipping Houses and Rental Management? Or even perhaps an entire Mini-MBA program or Entrepreneur program. All of these would add to the bottom line of our financial success as a community.
- The TAXPAYER of these communities. Regardless of any Pie-In-The-Sky rhetoric, it comes down to: Can we afford it? Can we afford not to? When adopting any new idea, it has to be prudent for the college, the community and the taxpayer. If all three do not show benefit from the proposed idea, then it needs to be re-evaluated until it makes sense or scrapped altogether.
There currently is a vacant trustee position available that will be filled by the other trustees after this election. How do you think this replacement should proceed?
I would say to nominate the person that has the next largest amount of votes in this election.
In general, do you think it is appropriate to leave a trustee position vacant for an indefinite period of time, or should the board of trustees adopt some sort of time limit or deadline to fill future vacancies?
I would consider a timeline valid and needed.
If the college were to add one curriculum or program of study, what would you like it to be?
I would like to see accredited graduate programs while maintaining focus on undergraduate studies and technical programs.
The college begins competing in wrestling this year. Are there any other sports you would like to see Cowley participate in, and if so, how would you propose to finance them?
No, not at this time.
What is your opinion of the job done so far by Cowley College President Dennis Rittle and his administrative staff? What changes, if any, would you like to see in their approach and/or the college’s direction?
I have not had the opportunity to meet Dr. Rittle as of yet. The college is growing and that is a very good sign, but at this juncture of time I do not have adequate information to give you a meaningful answer.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you or why you are seeking this position?
I fully back the Cowley College and wish to see continued growth and development of future programs.
I completely understand that as a Cowley College Board Trustee, WE would have a fiduciary responsibility to the college, the faculty and the taxpayer. WE would have the responsibility of achievement, to ensure every student was given the best opportunity for education and personal growth. WE will be held accountable regardless of outcome or good intentions by the same voters and taxpayers that put us on the board. WE would hold the future in our hands to dictate the direction, path and future success of Cowley College.
If you have not registered to vote yet, please do so soon. If you like these answers and ideas, I would ask for you to vote for Darrin Green on November 7. Thank You.
This information was provided by Darrin Green, candidate for the Cowley College Board of Trustees.