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Education Center appoints director of operations

The Archuleta County Education Center has just held its 10th annual Luncheon and Fund-raiser, where it was announced that Pagosa resident Julie Loar has been appointed as the director of operations for the Education Center.

This appointment comes more than a year after she was appointed to the Education Center’s board of directors.

Loar joined the board at a time when the financial stability of the Education Center was highly uncertain. Although this organization had been serving our community for 22 years, operating expenses were substantially exceeding income and it was not clear that it could continue operation.

Since the board had just eliminated the position of executive director to save money, the board itself would have to take over the director’s activities.

When asked why she would join the board of an organization that that was in such a state, Loar responded, “I believe that the Education Center is a vital part of our community and I wanted to save it.”

During the past year, the board implemented a new business plan that has led to expanded services, increased enrollments and improved short- to mid-term financial stability. According to Board President Dave Richardson, “These successes make it possible, as well as essential, to move some of the responsibilities from the board to a director of operations.”

Loar has served several organizations during the past 15 years that she has lived in Pagosa Springs. Prior to moving to Pagosa, Loar had 25 years of experience in management, which includes vice-president of human resources for JC Penny Financial Services Division and director of international training for Lennox Industries. She has authored six books, some of which received national awards. For the past 15 years, she has led annual tours to explore the history and mythology of ancient Egypt.

Having already served on the board, Loar understands the culture of the Education Center. She also understands the potential for the center to serve our community and the challenge to maintain funding. Her success as a business executive and a writer has taught her the importance of providing high quality, high value services.

Richardson also said,“Julie’s experience developing human resources for a major company has led her to see the connection between human resources and community development.” Loar shares the board’s vision that availability of a broad spectrum of educational opportunities is essential for improved prosperity and quality of life in our community.

Loar sees, “great potential for aligning existing core programs with the Archuleta School District and Pueblo Community College.” Although nearly 3,000 hours of instruction were provided last year in the After School Tutoring Program, she notes that it is reaching only a small fraction of the students who are likely to fail in high school.

“We must instill good study habits when youth are in elementary and junior high, so they will be successful in high school.”

The recent designation of the Education Center as an additional location for Pueblo Community College programming brings new educational opportunities for Pagosans. With the availability of college classes in Pagosa Springs comes the opportunity for residents to pursue their post-secondary education without leaving their homes and jobs. Loar plans to expand the number of community college classes, programs and services available to our community.

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