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OJC Press Release ID: 3003

Thursday, February 20, 2020

OJC Employees of the Year for 2019


Otero Junior College is pleased to announce the faculty and staff members who have been named Employees of the Year for 2019. There are four categories of employees that are recognized each year for their outstanding service and dedication to the college. Those categories are: faculty, adjunct instructor, classified and administrative/professional technical.

This year’s honorees include Warren McClure, faculty of the year; Pat Reed, classified employee of the year; Jennifer Johnston, administrative/professional technical employee of the year; and Denise Root, adjunct faculty of the year.

Faculty of the Year:

Warren McClure, biology faculty at Otero Junior College brings a love for learning to his student by continuing to be a student himself. McClure is in his 11th year teaching at OJC. He values the learning process and it's importance and is eager to share this with students who are still figuring out how to be students.

McClure teaches at the junior college level because it allows him to teach college aged students that are still figuring out how to be students. He can have a greater impact on their learning. It is also a perfect balance for the things most important to him. He is closer to his parents, allowing his kids to know their grandparents. It balanced with his desire to teach at the collegiate level.

When asked what the greatest joy he gets from teaching is, he explained, “Grading! I just love grading, Don’t you?” Using humor as a strategy to teach has paid off for Mr. McClure, his students would most likely describe him as deceivingly laid back. He enjoys having the opportunity to keep learning. It is his hope that by sharing his love for learning with students that they will begin to develop a love of learning as well.

Classified Employee of the Year:

Pat Reed is an employee who takes her role as a grounds keeper with consistent attention to detail and pride in doing her job every day. She is eager to learn more and try new things in making the OJC campus as presentable and visually appealing for everyone to enjoy.

Reed’s responsibilities include maintaining flowerbeds, researching new plants for diversity, plans for spring plantings and cultivates plants in the greenhouse. She also does weekly chores like of mowing, trimming and weeding. Reed is visible on campus and very approachable. Many times new students will stop and ask her for information concerning local evenings, buildings and general OJC inquires. She is always happy to "point the way" to help someone.

Reed takes customer services seriously and her interactions with others are positive with a smile on her face. She often speaks out about how much she loves her job and OJC. She also enjoys campus holiday by dressing up/and decorating different areas on campus for others to enjoy. She has designed and built bird houses to encourage more birds and is implementing a reading garden to exchange books and have a quiet area to sit and enjoy their book and their outdoors.

Administrative/Professional Technical Employee of the Year:

Jennifer Johnston, controller at OJC, is an important member of the business office team and works with all campus personnel at various times to help with an assortment of opportunities and problems. She performs her job duties in a very effective and timely manner and does not hesitate to assist others outside of her regular assignments in order to meet the needs of Otero Junior College.

Johnston always resolves issues utilizing her understanding of the college’s policies and procedures and readily explains to personnel the reasons for the required process to arrive at an amicable settlement among all parties. She is an ardent advocate for OJC. Her performance and professional attitude have been beyond reproach during the time she has worked for the college. She is well respected among OJC personnel as well as the System Office employees she works with.

Adjunct Instructor of the Year:

Denise Root spent many years in the nursing department at OJC both as full-time faculty and the Director of Nursing, retiring in 2016. Her current assignment includes part-time instructor in the allied health programs and program development in the nursing field.

Root is a master teacher and student thrive when working with her. She is always looking for avenues to build and sustain classes and programs that will benefit students. She has been instrumental in collaborating to build an articulation agreement with Metro State University for the Health Navigator program.

Additionally Root works with the Rural Health Care Consortium between TSJC, LCC and OJC for the purpose of collaboration and program expansion to provide access to students in rural communities for clinical addiction counseling, health navigator and sports management. Her expertise and continued commitment continue to provide OJC strong nursing and allied health programs for students.

In addition to being honored at OJC last week, each of the honorees will be recognized at a special awards ceremony later in the spring, hosted by the Colorado Community College System in Denver.

Press Release Photo
The 2019 Otero Junior College Employees of the Year were recognized at an awards event on Friday, Feb. 14. (l-r); Warren McClure, faculty of the year; Denise Root, adjunct faculty of the year; Jennifer Johnston, administrative professional technical employee of the year; and Pat Reed, classified employee of the year.