The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Candidate Q&A: Clovis Community College Board of Trustees


November 3, 2019

Clovis Community College Board of Trustees member Raymond Mondragon is up for re-election after his first four-year term and he has been challenged by Carolyn Spence.

Election Day is Tuesday.

The News sat down with both candidates to talk about their qualifications for the position.

Candidate: Carolyn Spence

Why are you running?

Because our community gets knit together by specific organizations. It is affected more by things like the community college than standard businesses.

I have a successful business in Clovis and we have a lot of community interaction, but the way the community college affects local businesses I think needs another voice that can help integrate it a little better so it can be a solidifying agent in the community.

What do you believe qualifies you for the role?

I have a college degree and I have been in educational arenas for awhile. I understand what needs to happen to be running a business successfully.

I’ve been involved with the city and I think as a trustee the major thing you need is integrity, a sense of character, a sense of vision, being able to do things differently and being able to interface with many kinds of people. Those things add a great deal to my ability to perform that job well, should I be elected.

What is the best thing about CCC?

The best thing is the flexibility in what it can offer in training and raising up the community in both education and information. It interfaces in the community at a more personal level than say a four-year college. It’s not quite as structured and is more able to fit into our needs. It’s a community college and that’s why it is very, very important to the community.

What is the biggest challenge for the trustees in the next term?

Remaining non-political and broadening the scope of what the community college can do. There’s also managing the budget and getting enrollment to increase for a budget increase or finding additional funding for us.

CCC has just hired Charles Nwankwo as its new president. Nwankwo comes with many credentials, but this is his first time as a college president. What can trustees do to ensure his success?

Ensuring the staff will work with him and give him the insight he needs to manage the different departments and be able to work with him on the budget.

As far as what the trustees can do, it’s the input from the staff that’s most important. If they can really integrate with the staff and see what they do, the staff can feed into steering him in the direction he needs to go. It’s about taking that input and producing good results.

Candidate: Raymond Mondragon

Why are you running?

I am running for re-election after being elected four years ago. There are four important things.

To make decisions that are in the best interest of CCC, number one.

The second reason is to make the best decisions for its students.

Number three is for the faculty and staff that teach these young men and women to help them with their education.

Number four is the community, which is why we’re Clovis Community College because the community is so important and vital.

For example, we have the Cultural Arts Series, which is so important and supported by the community. It’s so important to me that we continue moving forward with those kinds of activities that are in the best interest of CCC and our students.

What do you believe qualifies you for the role?

I was elected by the people. I’m a retired police chief. I’m an FBI Academy graduate through the University of Virginia from command college. I was a city manager for a total of five years.

What qualifies me is that I want to make a difference to students who want to attend college at CCC. I want to be a driving force for them and to make programs and grants available to them.

What is the best thing about CCC?

Our students and definitely our faculty. The ratio is about 17 to one. I’ve witnessed it myself, the faculty are very attentive to our students. There’s no reason why any of our students should fail because we have instructors, faculty and staff that will step up to the plate and take the time to teach our students.

That’s why we call it community college. We work hard for the community and that’s what makes CCC special.

What is the biggest challenge for the trustees in the next term?

We’ve been lucky to receive legislative funding with the oil and gas revenue up. I think the challenge will be to continue to keep tuition low.

We’ve always supported low tuition rates; sometimes it has to go up, but we are one of the lowest tuitions in the state. And as for fees, we try to keep those low too for the students.

Another challenge is keeping up with our infrastructure. We’re working on redoing our parking lot right now.

Security is also a big deal for us, which is good right now, but we want to make it better. We want students and faculty to be able to focus on what’s important.

A challenge is always money and the budget, but we’re fortunate to have local legislators who support the community college.

CCC has just hired Charles Nwankwo as its new president. Nwankwo comes with many credentials, but this is his first time as a college president. What can trustees do to ensure his success?

I was president of the presidential search committee. Charles Nwankwo comes to us very excited. I have had many conversations and spoke with him just this Monday. He keeps telling me, “I am going to make CCC the best college in the state of New Mexico.”

He has a passion for that and a passion for students. His background is also important. He was a cook for a restaurant working his way through and is a product of a community college and now has a PHD.

He comes to us very recommended by his previous university and they’ve all said it’s his time now. I think it’s important that we work with him.

There is a quote he shared with us that we agree with: “If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.”


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