Three employees of Northland Pioneer College (NPC) were recently presented with the Crystal Eagle Emeritus Award by the college and the Navajo County District Governing Board. The awards acknowledge long-serving staff and faculty in recognition of their efforts and successes during their tenure at NPC.
Recipient Colleen Readel is retiring this summer after thirteen years of service to the college. As the front office manager at the Snowflake Silver Creek campus and the lead campus manager overseeing all front office management positions at NPC’s nine locations, Readel leaves behind a legacy of leadership and service. Colleen began her career at NPC as an assistant to the dean of nursing and later became the administrative assistant to the vice president of learning and student services. She has held the role of the lead campus manager, the first of its kind at the college, for the past three years. NPC’s Vice President for Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer, Maderia Ellison explained, “Colleen’s emeritus status recognizes her commitment and contributions to NPC and its students. It is not to be taken lightly. Over the last thirteen years, she has demonstrated how passionate she is about helping students succeed and attain their educational goals.” In all of Readel’s positions at the college, Ellison maintained, “she has used her passion to drive success… all with the intention of benefiting students. Colleen is positive, caring, a good listener, creative, easy to talk to, has a great sense of humor, and gets the job done.” Ellison concluded, “It’s people like Colleen that make NPC so great.” When asked about what she has held most dear while in her role at NPC, Readel stated, “The students. That’s what we’re here for. If we can help someone improve someone’s life, that’s what we should be doing.”
Fellow emeritus recipient Rickey Jackson agrees. After eighteen years of service to NPC, Jackson, who is currently the Dean of Arts and Sciences at NPC will also retire this summer. “I have formed some very special bonds with students… I love my division. It’s a good group of people.” Jackson explained that the best thing about working at NPC was that it always kept him challenged to learn more. To truly be a lifelong learner. NPC’s Vice President for Learning and Student Services Dr. Mike Solomonson noted, “Rickey has had an amazing career. He spent six years as a minor league baseball umpire.” After six years he went into education spending nine years in the K-12 system mainly as an assistant principal and as an adjunct education faculty member. He joined NPC in 2004 and served as faculty in developmental services and education, then as the director of education and developmental services, and later as the associate dean of education and college and career preparation. In 2016 he took on the role of dean of arts and sciences and during a brief transitional time served as the interim vice president for learning and student services for the college. “The excellence that Rickey has brought to NPC has been recognized during the course of his career including in 2006 when he was named ‘Rookie of the Year by the Arizona Association of Lifelong Learning for his work at NPC and statewide,” Solomonson explained. Jackson was recognized as NPC’s employee of the year in 2009 and then again in 2012. “The thing that will stay with me is his deep devotion to the students…” Solomonson notes. “Rickey always has the tenacity to get to the heart of what really matters. How it will benefit students. How will it help students succeed?” Solomonson continues “I’ve come to see Rickey as sort of a moral compass for the college when it comes to us thinking about our mission and the difference that we make in the lives of students. He will be greatly missed.” Upon receiving the crystal eagle emeritus award Jackson stated, “it’s been an incredible eighteen years here. We can’t forget what our students are going through.”
After twenty years of service to NPC, Michael Chance was also conferred with emeritus status and the Crystal Eagle Emeritus Award. Chance recently retired from his position as an information services support technician at NPC. NPC’s Coordinator of Technical Services, Curtis Stevens notes that Chance “worked really hard to gain knowledge to do his job and to do it the best way that he could.” Talking about Chance, Stevens noted, “he loves movies, and he loves reading… he has an extraordinary mind.” In addition, Chance enjoys yoga and meditation as well as listening to podcasts. “He always kept up on the technology so that he could help the college in any way that he could.” Stevens continued, “He worked hard to give students, faculty, and staff the technology and tools they needed to learn, going above and beyond, and doing whatever it took to make things great for the college. He is a dedicated employee and is greatly valued by all at NPC.”
Northland Pioneer College serves the residents of Navajo and Apache counties through four regional campuses and five centers with a variety of educational options for academic, career, and technical and personal enrichment. NPC supports each student’s educational goals through affordable tuition, small class sizes, and caring, professional instructors. For more information about NPC programs and services, call (800) 266-7845.