By CLAIRE ST. JOHN
Long-time Tuolumne County resident Pat Dean has been appointed to represent Tuolumne and Calaveras counties on the Yosemite Community College District Board of Trustees.
Dean will fill the post held by Joe Mitchell, who died in a May 16 car accident.
Dean will represent Area One, which also includes a part of Stanislaus County, on the board that manages a budget of $100 million and makes decisions for the 27,000 students in Modesto and Columbia junior colleges.
Dean, who graduated from college after having five children, said she wants to encourage people to "recognize the spark" of desire to get better or higher-paying jobs. She recognizes, however, that getting an education is no easy matter.
She will retire from her position as health occupation teacher at Sonora High School on Thursday, and said she has the time and energy to be a trustee.
Dean was still mourning the death of Mitchell whom she had known since he was administrator of Tuolumne General Hospital and she served on the TGH board when friends started approaching her about filling the position.
"I thought I knew a lot of people in the community, so I thought I would have a good ear," she said.
Dean said she is honored to be selected for the position because she was competing against six other candidates.
"They were extremely capable people who were there," Dean said. "(The board) even commented that all the candidates were amazing."
Dean said she is also honored because she will be able to carry on the work Mitchell was so passionate about.
"I think it's a great school and I'd like to support keeping it a great school and learning ... what needs there are," Dean said.
Dean will serve until November 2004, when she will have to run again to complete the last two years of the trustee term for Area One.
"She is especially well qualified and possesses enthusiasm for the position," YCCD Chancellor Pamila Fisher wrote in a press release. "We look forward to working with her."