Voters to decide Scott Valley seat on COS board of trustees

Charlie Unkefer

Among the many decisions faced by voters in the upcoming November election, one will be over the two seats currently open on the College of the Siskiyous Board of Trustees.

Running for the District’s one Area 6 Scott Valley seat are incumbent William Rowe, a retired COS Fire Science instructor and four term veteran to the board, and Greg Hanna, a Scott Valley rancher with a history of board service, business experience, and youth involvement.

William Rowe

Rowe, who has served on the COS board since 1992, is retired from a career as both a firefighter and college instructor. He was a battalion chief with the LA Fire Department, then taught Fire Science at COS. While on the COS faculty, Rowe was coordinator of the Fire Science program and director of vocational education. Prior to retirement, he also held the position of Area Director for Business and Technology. Other accomplishments include his efforts to help found the Scott Valley Fire Protection District.

Rowe cited a desire to see the Measure “A” Bond Project reach its conclusion as a primary reason he is seeking re-election. “We’re very satisfied with the work that has gone on so far,” stated Rowe, referring specifically to the construction of the Rural Health Science Institute on the Yreka campus, as well as the Fire Program’s Tactical Training Facility.  

Rowe emphasized other board accomplishments over his past 16 years of service, such as: creation of the Distance Learning Center, which allows COS classes to be broadcast to sites throughout the county, and the upgrading of the Fire Science Academy to a two-year degree program, which is now the second largest program of its kind in the state.  

When asked to articulate his vision for the future at COS, Rowe stressed the importance of working to increase enrollment at the college, as enrollment has a substantial impact on the funding that the college receives. “We have an outstanding college, and we need to keep getting the word out through our marketing.”

He notes that through programs such as the soon to be completed Rural Health Sciences Institute, enrollment is likely to increase because of the current demand for nurses.

Greg Hanna

Rancher Greg Hanna is a lifelong resident of the Scott Valley who served on the Scott Valley Elementary School Board and has a long history of youth involvement as a coach. 

Hanna emphasized his commitment to service as a primary factor in his decision to run for office. “I’ve always had a belief in giving something back.” 

With a solid business background and past board experience, Hanna said he hopes to bring a new perspective and enthusiasm to the seat long held by Rowe. 

“COS is a great asset to the county,” asserted Hanna, but he also expressed concerns over maintaining enrollment and shrinking budgets. “COS, like all institutions these days, is suffering.”  On that cautionary note, Hanna said he hopes to bring a fresh outlook and understanding of local issues.

The COS Board, which is comprised of seven area representatives, is entrusted with the governance of the college.  Important board duties include choosing the president, as well as implementing and overseeing major projects such as Measure A.

Though board members serve as regional representatives, county residents all vote on who will fill the seats.

In addition to the Area 6 Scott Valley race, voters will be deciding on the Area 4 Yreka seat, long held by Doris Wood, who has decided not to seek re-election. Running for her seat are Milan Vodicka, a retired COS instructor, Norman Shaskey, a Yreka CPA and Barry Ohlund, a Yreka small business owner.  

COS Board member duties include attending a monthly board meeting and participating in annual board retreats. Additionally, board members attend conferences that might help inform their ability to carry out their duties. For their service, they receive a $240 monthly stipend, travel expenses, and medical benefits equivalent to those received by full time faculty and staff at the college.