It is with many mixed emotions that I finish up my time on CAA’s board as well as my role as board chair. I am proud to end my term (plus some) with a strong board of ten mighty members who I know will continue plowing through the mountain; with DeAnna and Pam energetically paving the path as they strive to get our students on a college campus; with a staff who is committed to teaching without limits every.single.day; and with a growing student population who continue to surpass everyone’s expectations and continue to be our best advocates for their own future.
There is so much energy, so much potential and in my opinion so many amazing things that are “about to happen” at CAA but as we look ahead to each new goal, it often feels like the mountain just got bigger. We continue to expect more (as we should); Parents continue to demand more (as you should); and the Board continues to govern and steer more and more growth (as they should). But as we continue to look to the future, it is just as important to understand just how far we have come and with that I would like to share my top five highlights from my time thus far:
2009 – The moment I first heard about CAA when Jeremy Teter ran into my FITBuddies class and announced with so much pride “I’m going to college Jen!!” There were 9 students attending CAA classes and today there are 90+.
2011 – I taught my first skype nutrition class and will never forget Angel, DeAnna’s sister joining us from Indiana, ”Oh miss Jen you are the highlight of my week,” No Angel, you are the highlight of mine. Today our distance learning infrastructure is growing tremendously with the help of Cisco’s grant enabling students to join classes from anywhere.
2013 – I was nominated as Board Chair with an operating budget of $50k…and we thought that was a huge step forward. This year we approved a budget of $750k.
2014 – We were “homeless” and running classes out of three different locations until one of our students marched into the Swenson’s team office and told them we needed a home. I have no doubt that one of our students will march onto a college campus and demand that they give CAA space to run classes.
2015 – DeAnna started working a second job and Pam continued towards her PHD. How these two women continued to run the college on little to no salary while maintaining additional jobs and commitments was and continues to be humbling. Today these two continue to run the college on a very base salary with so much love, commitment and dedication. To say they are awe-inspiring does little justice.
I am forever grateful for the time I was able to serve CAA and this is not the end but only the beginning of ways in which I will be involved. I can not thank De, Pam, all the professors and fellow board members enough for your energy and commitment to CAA. I continue to be truly humbled by all of you. And to the students, I thank you for teaching me WAY more than I could ever teach you.
Jen Pleimann Mulry, CAA Mountain Mover, 2010 – 2017; Board Chair, 2013 – 2017