About Grand County Higher Education

In Grand County, currently there are limited avenues or opportunities for residents to access higher education or industry certification training programs. Multiple years of qualitative feedback data from businesses, non-profits, chambers of commerce, public school systems, residents and city/county officials have identified, as a major deficit, the void of local access to continuing education and workforce training opportunities. The physical size, geography, and the weather conditions limit the ability of residents to travel outside of the county to access continuing education opportunities. In addition to these limiting factors, most of the existing workforce must balance a work or career with access to continuing education that fits within their work commitments.

GCHE will be a strategic leader and partner in continuing education and workforce skill development in Grand County by identifying current and future workforce needs; development and delivery of educational/continuing learning opportunities; developing partnerships with post-secondary and career-technical training institutions; provide scholarship assistance for residents; develop a county wide list of local experts to serve as instructors and trainers; and provide training locations that best fit the student’s needs living in the county.

 

Educational & Workforce Opportunities

Educational & Workforce Opportunities

Grand County Higher Education (GCHE) was formed out of the need to provide residents a champion to reduce barriers to access to continuing education and workforce training opportunities that do not presently exist in Grand County.

Board & Staff

Darcee Kissler
Darcee Kissler

Executive Director

Darcee Kissler is a life long learner who believes that education is a journey not a destination. Her 31 years of classroom teaching experience allowed her to work and learn with generations of Grand County students; she is a strategic leader and partner in education. Darcee’s passion for education is evident in the many hats that she has worn: literacy consultant, Colorado Department of Education collaborator and presenter, student mentor, Best Practices presenter.

A northern Minnesota native, Darcee graduated with a degree in education from Bemidji State University, earned her Master degree from the University of Colorado Denver in Curriculum, Assessment and Supervision, and holds a National Board Certification in Literacy. She keeps her finger on the pulse of educational strategies and is dedicated to identifying, developing, and delivering post- secondary learning opportunities to Grand County citizens.

Kathy Kopp
Kathy Kopp

Student to Career/Grant Specialist

Kathy Kopp is excited to be joining the Grand County Higher Education Team by bringing over 30 years of teaching experience as well as being East Grand School District’s Health and Wellness Coordinator. Her career as an educator and coordinator has allowed her to work with students providing opportunities to develop sound, positive life long skills preparing them to become productive individuals both personally and within the workforce.

Kathy has served as a consultant and education trainer for the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Health Education Initiative for the past 10 years, designing curriculum, revising state health content standards, and working with teachers and community members around the state building capacity of best practices. Along with her work with CDE, she has been instrumental in writing grants from state, foundations, and local entities that help support and sustain this very important work.

She is passionate about her work within the community and schools, providing opportunities for our youth! She looks forward to this new opportunity to provide Grand County youth and citizens opportunities to further their educational growth.

Ben Watson
Ben Watson

President

Ben is a Virginian who studied Economics and Accounting at Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Virginia. He is a CPA and spent over thirty years working in public accounting and for corporations in the telecommunications and technology industries. His most notable positions were as SVP International Human Resources for PeopleSoft Corp. and EVP Communications and Human Resources for Sprint Corp.

He and his wife Kathy have three daughters and six grandchildren and have been full time residents of Grand County, Colorado since 2003.

Ben has a passion for helping people to achieve their full potential and has been Chairman of the Board for the Kansas City Area Full Employment Council and a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He is currently the Chair of the Board for the Grand Foundation and the President of the Board of Grand County Higher Education.

Darrin Peppard
Darrin Peppard

BOD Member

Darrin Peppard is the Superintendent of Schools in West Grand School District #1-Jt. He has been in public education for 23 years as a secondary science teacher, high school principal, and superintendent. Darrin is a strong advocate for work-based learning and creating relevance in student education. He holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and both a Bachelor’s Degree (Secondary Education/Science) and a Doctorate Degree (Educational Leadership) from the University of Wyoming.

Frank Reeves
Frank Reeves

BOD Member

Frank has been involved in rural, public education for 28 years.  After growing up in Laramie, Wyoming he went to the University of Wyoming and majored in Secondary Education with a emphasis in Social Studies.  He taught for fourteen years in Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado.  After receiving his Master’s in Educational Administration he became a high school principal at Clear Creek High School followed by Wray (CO), High School.  In 2012 Frank became the Superintendent of Genoa-Hugo School District in Hugo, CO.  Most recently, in the summer of 2016, Frank became the Superintendent of East Grand School District in Granby, CO.

Frank is married to Tammy and they have two daughters.  Samantha is a middle school math teacher in Ault, Colorado and Nicole is a Customer Service Representative at Kopy Kat Printing in Winter Park also working on finishing her Master’s degree in Recreation and Event Management.

Travis Hoseli

BOD Member

Travis lives in Kremmling and is the CSU Extension County Director and is a strong educational advocate serving on boards in the county.

Tom Sifers

BOD Member

Tom is the General Manger for Mountain Parks Electric and is an active member in the community.  He has a long history as an educational advocate.

Steve Jensen
Steve Jensen

BOD Member

Education:  Central Washington University - Ellensburg, WA 1988 – 1993 Bachelor of Science, Construction Management.

 

Work Experience:  President - Mountain Top Builders, Inc. 1997 - Present

Owner/C.E.O. of mountain based, residential construction company specializing in custom homes.

Responsibilities cover all aspects of business ownership and include: daily management of field personnel & activities; estimation and proposals for new projects; contract administration; scheduling & logistics management; budget review & cost control; safety & quality assurance; sales & marketing.

 

 

Accreditations/Affiliations:

·       Member of National Association of Home Builders and Grand County Builders Association (Current  President, Board of Directors, chairman of Green Focus Committee, and member of Codes, Ordinances & Utilities Committee)

·       ENERGY STAR® Partner

·       NAHB Certified Green Professional

·       Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce Member

·       OSHA 10-hour

·       Red Cross first aid & CPR certifications

·       ACI concrete field testing technician - Grade I.

Dr. Kelley Glancey
Dr. Kelley Glancey

Board Member

Kelley was born in Denver but spent most of her childhood in New Hampshire. She returned to Colorado of college at the University of Colorado, graduating in 1998 with a degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.  Her education continued with medical school at The George Washington University in Washington DC followed by residency in Seattle at the University of Washington.  She completed Family Medicine residency training in 2005 and continued to work at the residency program training future doctors for another year.  Following this she worked in a private practice for three years prior to relocating to Winter Park to join her Dad’s practice, Byers Peak Family medicine, in 2008.  She has now taken over the business with her father’s retirement and continues to practice full spectrum family medicine along with running an independent medical practice.  She and her husband John, a sales associate with Shamrock Foods, have 8 year old twins Kendall and Logan who are in second grade at Fraser Valley Elementary.  

Kent Hughes
Kent Hughes

BOD Member

Education:

·       1958-62:  University of Oregon:   BS Economics

·       1963: University of Arizona: Business/Finance

Work Experience:

·       1964-67:   IBM:  Sales,  Small Business Machines

·       1968-1975:  Jantzen Sportswear:  Sales, Product Manager, Merchandise Manager

·       1975-1985:  Levi Strauss & Company:  Merchandise Manager, General Merchandise Manager, President Womenswear

·       1985-1994: Mast Industries/Limited Brands:  EVP Marketing and Sourcing

Interests/Activities

·       Past President Fraser Lions Club

·       Business Manager Fraser Lions Club Campgrounds

·       Chairman Fraser Valley Foundation

·       Past President GC Historical Association

Volunteer Denver Children’s Hospital.