Amy Mann posing with her award plaque

During Teacher Appreciation Week, we honor our exceptional faculty member, Amy Mann, and the many other inspiring and caring teachers at FRCC.

Amy Mann never set out to become a teacher—but today, she can’t imagine doing anything else.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado, Amy started her career in corporate communications for the healthcare industry. Along the way, she went back to school for a master’s degree in applied communication at the University of Denver, then continued working her way up.

Finding Her Calling

When she was in between jobs, Amy came across an ad for a position teaching public speaking at Front Range Community College’s Boulder County campus as an adjunct instructor. She applied on a whim and got a call from the head of the communications department for an interview.

Amy Mann

“I was hired to teach one class that winter semester of 2007,” Amy recalls. “I just fell in love with teaching and knew that this was it: This was what I wanted to do.”

By the fall of 2007, Amy had picked up several other classes at FRCC, teaching at the college’s Larimer Campus, too. As a single mother, she made ends meet by working part time in communications too.

In 2011, the stars aligned. A faculty member retired, and a full-time position opened up at FRCC. Amy got the job.

Her Front Range Family

Now in her 18th year at the college, Amy says it feels like home. “FRCC is an amazing place and has become my family,” she says. “I’ve had many great mentors and I’ve made some incredible friends who I treasure.”

She served as chair for the Arts & Letters Department at Boulder County Campus for a few years 12-18, but returned to the classroom full time in 2018. She teaches speech, interpersonal communications and public speaking, and also concurrent enrollment classes for high school students attending Skyline High School and Frederick High School.

Teaching, Amy admits, lights her up. “One of my goals is to create a sense of community in my classroom,” Amy says. “I teach communication, and that really goes hand in hand with community.”

“I love seeing my students learning each other’s names, working together and learning to be in a relationship with each other. These are life skills that they’re learning, which makes it even more exciting for me.”

A Deeply Passionate Teacher

Kelli Cole, chair of the Communication, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department, says Amy is committed to serving students. “I’m so inspired by her dedication,” says Kelli.

“She pours her heart into her job and this college. She is a deeply passionate teacher and works hard to provide wonderful events and experiences for students outside the classroom as well.”

Supporting Survivors

Organizers of 2019's Take Back the Night at FRCC

One such example is Take Back the Night, an annual event on the Boulder County campus that inspires people to stand up against sexual violence in order to support survivors. Amy has run the open mic part of the event for the last five years, which invites survivors to share their stories with a supportive community.

Amy, Catlyn Keenan (philosophy, religion, and women and gender studies faculty) and Mary Ann Grim (history and women and gender studies faculty) are the “founding mothers” of the FRCC event, which started in 2015.

In addition, Amy is a faculty co-advisor for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society with Mary Ann and organizes a PechaKucha night on campus. The October 2023 storytelling event had 13 student speakers, six of whom were high school concurrent enrollment students.

Students First

Mary Ann started full time at FRCC the same year as Amy. In the 13 years since, she has heard from countless students that her longtime colleague is one of a kind.

“I cannot tell you how many students over the years have told me that Amy is the best, kindest teacher they’ve ever had,” says Mary Ann. “Not many people can run the open mic at Take Back the Night like Amy does.”

“She gains the trust of students because she respects them. She creates a safe space for anyone to share their thoughts and trauma. That’s not an easy thing to do.”

A giver by nature, Mary Ann says that Amy wants all students to succeed. “She loves students,” she says. “Honestly, I don’t know anyone who does more for their students than Amy Mann.”

An Avid Volunteer

Teaching keeps Amy quite busy, but when she does have a little free time, you might find her somewhere in the community helping others. These days, that’s likely to be OUR Center, a nonprofit in Longmont that assists individuals and families in need of food, resources and other support to develop the skills to be self-sufficient. She has volunteered for HOPE Homeless Shelter in Longmont for over 10 years.

Lola Denton is a student of Amy’s who is working toward an Associate of Arts degree at FRCC. She also happens to be the director of HOPE, and the she and Amy realized their connection after Lola was enrolled in Amy’s public speaking class. She’s now taken three classes with Amy.

“One of Amy’s biggest strengths is her open-mindedness and the way she encourages individuality and free thinking,” Lola says. “She makes people feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas.

“She’s obviously someone who likes to help others. In class, she tells students they can always reach out to her any time they need support. You don’t see that with many college teachers. Amy is someone I really look up to in many ways.” 

A Commitment to Give Back

To Amy, it’s the least she can do to thank those who helped her many years ago. She was a young, single mother struggling financially and getting her start as a teacher after a divorce and a career change. She’ll never forget the day she found grocery store gift cards on her windshield from some anonymous angel in her life.

“I’ll always remember that,” she says. “I can’t forget it, and I can’t let go of the feeling that it’s my responsibility to give back.”

“I needed help then, and a lot of people need help. I have a love for the underdog, and I’ve often been an underdog myself.”

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