Employee award winners and Dr. Simpson taking a selfie

Faculty and staff give their all to help students reach their goals.

Each year, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) honors some of its best and brightest faculty and staff members from colleges across the state. This year’s four honorees from Front Range Community College have worked especially hard to meet students’ needs.

“I’m continually impressed with how creative, dedicated and resourceful our employees are in helping our students navigate the challenges of school, work and life,” said FRCC President Colleen Simpson, EdD. “Each of our awardees plays a critical role in helping FRCC enrich lives in our communities through learning.”

“As open access institutions, we are committed to serving every learner who walks through our doors—no matter their experiences or background,” says Colorado Community College System Chancellor Joe Garcia. “This mission would not be possible without the incredible teamwork among CCCS faculty, instructors, administrators, and staff who put students first in everything they do.”

Fifty-four employees from across the 13 CCCS schools were honored in April as part of the statewide system’s annual Commitment to Excellence Awards. The winners were lauded for their contributions to the overall success of their college, our students and our communities.

FRCC Employee Award Winners

Outstanding Faculty Member: Leah Morley | Early Childhood Education (she/her)

Leah is the lead faculty member for FRCC’s early childhood education program who is incredibly passionate about expanding access to education to as many people as she can. Through Leah’s leadership, for the first time in the 2023-2024 academic year, FRCC offered a Spanish-language program in which students could earn their Early Childhood Assistant Teacher Certificate online. The aim is to provide certification to monolingual Spanish-speaking students, as well as Spanish speakers who prefer to learn in their native-language.

Leah herself is not a Spanish-speaker and created this program as an advocate for, and a believer in, the power of education. She sees how having access to this certification can increase meaningful employment options for our students. As she led the development of this program, Leah not only hired new instructors to develop and teach these Spanish-language courses, but also made herself available to FRCC’s academic advising team to support their ability to help students register for this new opportunity.

The new program is serving its second cohort of students this semester, and Leah is ensuring that graduates of the first two cohorts can continue to seek out other certification options by expanding these Spanish-taught options to other certificate programs in her department.

Leah is a pioneer—she is creating a template for how FRCC can expand our course offerings to multilingual students, opening up many possibilities for the future of our college.

Leah is a passionate collaborator who seeks out opportunities to work with colleagues not only in her own department, but within various other student-facing departments. Leah creates a positive and inclusive team environment in which participants feel encouraged to share ideas, ask questions, offer suggestions and contribute to the creation of strategies that best serve our student populations. As a leader, communicator and collaborator, Leah goes above and beyond the call of duty to break down silos between departments by seeking out many different perspectives, working to create programs to advance equity and inclusion efforts, and by creating inclusive messaging for the student populations she is trying to best serve.

Colleagues admire Leah’s ability to facilitate teamwork—and her willingness to learn from the expertise of the individuals she works with is an important part of her leadership style. Even when Leah’s vision is curbed by the capacity of available resources, she never allows her spirit to falter or her vision to be dulled. She continues to create a supportive environment in which the people she works with can thrive.

Leah is an incredible innovator and role model at FRCC who should not be overlooked for her efforts and successes. Thanks to Leah’s passionate and effective leadership style, many of FRCC’s bilingual and Spanish-speaking students have earned a certificate that they previously thought would be impossible to earn.

Outstanding Administrative/Professional/Technical Employee: Campus Security Supervisor Jared Wyn (he/him)

Jared has been an integral part of FRCC’s campus security team, as he simultaneously held the interim director position for the entire college in addition to his supervisor role at the college’s Larimer Campus. As interim director, Jared demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities that contribute significantly to the success and cohesion of the team. Serving as a stabilizing force during the transition period to a new director, he exemplifies adaptability and resilience in the face of change. Jared stands as a role model for leadership excellence in the interim role, leaving a positive and lasting impact on the team and the organization as a whole.

Jared’s communication style goes above and beyond the call of duty by actively promoting a culture of appreciation. By recognizing achievements in team meetings and publicly acknowledging individual contributions, he creates an environment where everyone feels valued and connected. This positive reinforcement contributes to a sense of belonging and shared accomplishment at FRCC. This approach not only ensures that everyone is well-informed but also encourages a culture of openness and dialogue.

Collaboration is at the core of Jared’s leadership style. He actively engages with diverse departments and individuals, recognizing the strength that comes from listening to different perspectives and skill sets. By facilitating cross-functional collaboration, he encourages a holistic approach to problem-solving and decision-making, fostering a sense of interconnectedness within the FRCC community.

Outstanding Instructor: Amber Herrero | English (she/her)

Amber approaches her classes and students with dignity, fun and an eye to help each student grow individually. Her active learning approach in the classroom makes learning equitable and engaging, and she gives her all to every student.

Colleagues have observed her in the classroom and seen how much fun students have participating in the activities Amber creates— amid all the action, their learning is clear to observers. She engages each student in the class, sometimes clarifying information or instruction, sometimes giving feedback on a work-in-progress activity; but throughout she manages the classroom well and guides students in and out of independent, group and whole class work.

Amber uses one-on-one time to give additional support to students who may not be at the same level as their peers, but no matter how skilled or knowledgeable the students are (or are not), Amber treats them all with dignity, optimism and a belief that they can achieve their goals in her class. Since she teaches several concurrent enrollment classes, she helps grow the FRCC student population with her outstanding classroom performance. Her students talk to their siblings and peers, encouraging them to take Amber’s classes as well.

Amber has taken on the additional responsibility of converting FRCC’s Equity Academy of Inclusion into an asynchronous, online format. Through this, she helps instructors from all campuses learn how to approach education more equitably. She is active throughout the academy, regularly connecting with participants and fostering connections between these instructors and faculty. She guides participants in collaborative activities and reflection, which helps them feel more at ease with their colleagues and connect better.

Amber uses those same communication and connection skills with students and colleagues she sees face to face. When a colleague took their class to the on-campus Writing Center, Amber put the students at ease, clarifying what they could expect and clearly explaining the different ways that Writing Center consultants can help students. Students often hesitate to take advantage of available resources, usually because of fear or lack of information. Because of Amber’s approach to working with this class, several students who were initially hesitant later expressed that they were excited to work with the Writing Center.

Outstanding Classified Employee: Administrative Assistant Taylor Couillard-Rodak (they/them)

Taylor works to create a welcoming atmosphere at all of FRCC’s campuses and can consistently be counted on to help wherever needed. Beyond their job with FRCC’s school of Social Sciences, Education & Public Service, Taylor serves as staff sponsor for the Larimer Campus’ Sexuality and Gender Alliance student club, is a member of FRCC’s Hispanic-Serving Institution Task Force, a member of the Equity & Inclusion Council, chair of that council’s Instructional Support and Resources Committee, and a member of FRCC’s commencement planning team.

They also support events across the college, often volunteering to help other teams and divisions with their planning. Taylor is a natural problem solver and a consistent advocate for keeping students at the center of all endeavors at FRCC.

Taylor is an effective communicator and collaborator. They think ahead on projects and always make sure to include all the voices that need to be at the table. Taylor’s focus is on providing an excellent experience for students.

They always respond with kindness and professionalism in a way that acknowledges the people behind the work. They have a positive attitude and can be counted on to work through challenges in a way that respects everyone at FRCC.

Taylor has yet to be assigned a task where they did not thrive. They have an eye for inclusivity and have been known to help problem solve spaces and processes at the college that aren’t fully accessible.

Taylor is an exemplary employee. They strive to make FRCC a place where people want to be and feel welcome.

See all the honorees in the 2024 Commitment to Excellence Awards program.

See all Press Releases

About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.

About the Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving 138,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities.

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