October 3, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Krebs Quits

Posted today on the college's electronic mail server, Infolist:
Virginia Krebs, Johnson County Community College’s first employee and a trustee since 1985, has resigned from the college’s board of trustees. The board will accept her resignation at their regular meeting Oct. 16.

The trustees will appoint someone to complete the rest of Kreb’s term, which ends June 30, 2009. Her seat on the board is up for election in April 2009. An announcement regarding the appointment process will be made at the trustee meeting.

“Virginia has been an inspiration to her fellow board members and the JCCC college community,” said Shirley Brown-VanArsdale, chair, JCCC board of trustees. “She recognized the dynamic role of the community college to be responsive to the needs of students and employers. Her knowledge and historic insights have been invaluable as we look to keep JCCC in the forefront of the community college movement.”
“Mrs. Krebs dedicated her life to the education of children and adults throughout Johnson County,” said Terry A. Calaway, JCCC president. “She truly was a leader in making JCCC one of the best community colleges in the United States. Our community is forever indebted to her and her family for all they’ve done to improve the quality of life in this county.”

Krebs spent a lifetime contributing to the community and to Johnson County Community College. She began on a small scale, as she helped establish the Crestview-Merriam PTA and served as its first president. Later, she served as the president of the Hocker Grove Junior High School PTA, president of the Shawnee Mission North High School PTA Council and president of the Shawnee Mission Area PTA Council. Her articulate and forceful support of public education in Johnson County earned her statewide recognition, and she was named program chairman for the Kansas State PTA.

In this position, she was able to help lead the movement for a number of key bond issues that began to establish the county’s public school infrastructure. This leadership role also gave her a broad perspective on the key issue of school consolidation, and she was appointed to state task forces responsible for revision of the state school code and the consolidation of area school districts. From this, the Shawnee Mission Unified School District was formed.

In 1963, following her PTA involvement, Krebs was appointed by the board of county commissioners to a task force charged with studying the feasibility of building a community college in Johnson County. She worked for three years on this task force, which organized the creation of the community college taxing district and put the issue to the voters. The proposal was approved 2-1 by Johnson County voters in 1967.

Krebs was urged by many in the community to run for the new college’s board of trustees, but she chose instead to become the college’s first employee, the assistant to the first board of trustees. She kept the official board records, was instrumental in helping the original board establish the philosophy and mission of the college, and helped the board hire the first college president. She and her late husband, Al, also helped the college find and occupy its first buildings in Merriam.

In 1969, Krebs was hired as the first director of community services at JCCC and figured prominently in the development of what became one of the largest and most successful continuing education programs in the Midwest. She helped identify needs and mobilize cooperation to create women’s programs, programs for senior county residents, a county-wide group to support the arts, a world affairs discussion program and family-oriented events, both educational and entertaining, and was instrumental in establishing cooperative agreements with community organizations. She retired in 1984.

In 1985, Krebs ran for JCCC’s board of trustees and won. She was then re-elected to the board for six consecutive terms, the last in April 2005. As a college trustee, she served as clerk, treasurer, vice chairman and chairman. She received the American Association of Community College’s regional trustee award in 1993 and the Regional Leadership Award from the National Council on Community Services and Continuing Education, Region VII, in 1996. She has been also been recognized by the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, which conferred on her its prestigious Woman of the Year Award. In 2004, she was named to the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

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Read Krebs' bio here

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