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Board announces selection of new CWC president

January 1, 2014

Dr. Cristobal "Cris" Valdez has been selected as Central Wyoming College's next president by the CWC Board.

Valdez, currently the president at Edison Community College in Ohio, was formally hired Tuesday night when the board voted at a special meeting to extend him a three-year contract that begins July 14, 2014.

The board negotiated a contract with Valdez before trustees voted unanimously to hire him. He will receive a $170,500 annual salary, a $12,000 housing allowance and a $6,000 car allowance. The board also approved a $20,000 in moving expenses.

Valdez replaces retiring president Dr. Jo Anne McFarland who has been at the helm of CWC since 1989 and a member of the college staff for more than 40 years.

"I am extremely thrilled with this opportunity," said Valdez, who spoke to the board and a room filled with students, staff and media to hear who the board had selected. He also thanked Dr. Jason Wood, CWC's executive vice president of Student and Academic Services who was one of three finalists for the job.

"Dr. Wood was the first to reach out to welcome me to the CWC community, which took a lot of grace." Valdez said. "CWC is well positioned to do great things. I believe we can move the institution forward and I appreciate the opportunity."

The seven-member elected board was aided in the hiring process by a 19-member screening committee made up of college staff, community members and trustees. Valdez was chosen over Dr. Wood and Dr. Paul Kraft, vice president of student services at Treasure Valley Community College in Oregon.

Valdez began his college education at University of Montana, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in social work. He earned a master's of social work (MSW) at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash., and he completed an Ed.D. in Community College Leadership from Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Under Valdez' leadership Edison Community College secured in excess of $1.5 million in grant funding and dramatically increased the foundation's assets including a $2 million gift, the largest in the history of the college.

Valdez and his wife Robin have four children: Antonio, Ali, Aaron and Andi. He expects his family will join him in Wyoming in August.