Board and Committees

The Board of Directors helps steer CCHE to advance our mission and works towards a sustainable future. The CCHE Board is comprised of 11 members and may have no less than 7, meets the 3rd Monday of the month from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, and each director sits on one or more committees or task forces.

Consider joining our board! If you are interested in becoming a Cook County Higher Education Board Member, please email, Executive Director, Karen Blackburn, or call 218-387-3411, or contact any current board member.

The committees and task force groups support the board’s efforts to guide CCHE. Members include both board members and members of the public, and we invite you to join a group that matches your talents and interest. Meetings are scheduled by the members.

Apply To Join The Board

CCHE was a conduit for me to finish my bachelor’s degree while supporting my family and working full time. It allowed me to stay employed and in my home while fulfilling my goal of higher education. It is an amazing resource for Cook County!

Clair NaleznyClair Nalezny, Board Member

Education is the key to success in life. Helping students achieve their goals through the efforts of CCHE benefits the entire community. As a board member, I hope to be a part of that success.

Mark MorganMark Morgen, Board Member

I am proud of the positive impact CCHE has on both our community and the lives of our students.

Roger OppRoger Opp, Treasurer

I am excited to help Cook County residents experience the transformative power of education; and to provide opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Board Member Karen Halbersleben

Watching the transformation in CCHE students makes me proud and excited. I am inspired by their courage, growth, commitment and passion.

Sue HakesSue Hakes, Board Member

CCHE helps the residents of Cook County by transforming and enriching lives through education. I’m proud to be a part of the organization.

Janice LatzJanice Latz, President

I want to give back to an organization that did so much to help me.

Donna PaineDonna Paine, Vice-President

I am proud to further the education of Cook County residents in diverse ways.

Mary Lou FellowsMary Lou Fellows, Secretary

Current Board Members

Dr. William Youmans, M.D.

William Youmans, M.D.
President

Education
B.S. Wildlife Biology, Michigan State University
Medical Degree, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member

I practiced Family Medicine in Minneapolis for 36 years and spent time leading our group of up to 25 providers.  I was a clinical professor at the University of MN teaching medical students and medical residents for 25 years.

My previous board positions included Minneapolis North Memorial Medical Center Chief of Staff, CareVan/Medisys Corporation, and MMIC/Constellation Mutual Insurance Company. With our rapidly changing world so demonstrated by the convulsions of Covid 19 and technological change, individuals must be prepared for change and supported educationally.  That is as much a personal challenge to become and stay educated as it is a community challenge and responsibility to assist that endeavor.

CCHE’s goal is to meet that challenge of locally supporting training for work skills, degrees and certifications for new jobs, and lifelong learning.

Other

My wife and I live in Grand Marais. I retired from family medicine in 2016. I am committed to the conservation of our beautiful Arrowhead region with an interest in sailing, canoeing, arts, and the history of Cook County.
David Coleman

David Coleman
Vice President

Education
B.S. Chemistry, Southern Illinois University; and Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, University of Wisconsin.

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member
I spent nearly 40 years as a Professor and Administrator; mentor to many Ph.D. Candidates and advisor to countless undergraduate students; am an author and editor; and, officer of national and international scientific societies. Because of these, I have a passion for working with and encouraging students who come from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, and utilization of the best technological tools to foster good education and communication.

Other
My wife and I live nearly full-time on Clearwater Lake adjacent to the BWCA. We have a reverence for its intrinsic beauty and for the need to steadfastly protect the region environmentally. I especially enjoy playing jazz and classical trombone in local ensembles.

Donna Paine

Donna Paine
Secretary

Education
I received my BS in Business Administration at UW Platteville with the help of CCHE.

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member
I want to give back to an organization that did so much to help me.

Other
I am currently employed at the Grand Marais State Bank as Assistant Vice-President, and am the Treasurer of the Cook County Salvation Army Service Unit.

Clair Nalezny

Clair Nalezny
Treasurer 

Education
BES from St. Cloud State University, Management and Human Resources; Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) certificate from HR Certification Institute.

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member
I bring the experience of a person working in hospitality in Cook County and what the needs are from an employer perspective. I also bring a human resource background based on fairness and equality. Lastly, I bring empathy and an understanding of the challenges of the process of pursuing a degree while working.

Other
Currently Co-Owner of Cascade Vacation Rentals. Previously Human Resource Director for Lutsen Resort since 2004. First General Manager of Papa Charlie’s, Lutsen Mountains.

Janice Latz

Janice Latz
Board Member

Education
Bachelors of Chemical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member
My career as a technical and executive manager in a large corporation gives me experience in business planning, strategy, collaboration and project execution. All attributes help me to help CCHE deliver its mission.

Other
Retired in 2014 from Huntsman Corporation, The Woodlands, Texas. I held positions in engineering, technical service, business management, and most recently as a senior executive responsible for Operations in the Performance Products division. Served on the Board of Directors for the American Cleaning Institute.

Sue Hakes

Sue Hakes
Board Member

Education
B.A. Business Administration, Augsburg College and Public Affairs Leadership Certificate, University of Minnesota Humphrey School

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member
I earned my B.A. while working full-time at Honeywell. I earned my Public Affairs Leadership Certificate while living in Grand Marais. I understand the benefits and the challenges of being a non-traditional student. My intention is to support CCHE students in removing learning barriers and enhancing the benefits of remote learning. Being able to earn an education where you live is truly vital to our students and our community overall.

Other
I live with my husband, John Gorski, in Grand Marais where I have served as Cook County Commissioner and Mayor. In 2014, I was awarded a 2-year Bush Foundation Fellowship to build women’s leadership in rural, northeastern Minnesota. Currently, I am delighted to work part-time at the Cook County YMCA and volunteer in my community.

Karen Halbersleben

Karen Halbersleben
Board Member

Education
B.A., M.A., Ph.D. in European History from SUNY-Buffalo; retired college professor and administrator

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member
My career in higher ed helps me to understand the many components of running a higher ed center as well as the challenges facing individual students.

Other
I was President of Northland College in Ashland, WI from 2002-2009; held academic positions at SUNY-Oswego, the U. of Richmond, and Buena Vista U. I currently serve on the Board of the Cook County Community Foundation. My husband Jack Miller and I volunteer with Meals on Wheels deliveries.

Mark Morgan

Mark Morgen
Board Member

Education
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Colorado State University. MS in Software Engineering from University of Minnesota

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member
I have volunteered for several organizations: Boy Scouts of America, at the troop, district, and council level; Feed My Starving Children; Ruby’s Pantry; and, school board finance committee. I have experience in technical skills and data analysis.

Other

Paula Marie Powell
Board Member

Education

AAS, Graphic Communications, Gateway Technical College

Experience that Contributes to My Role as Board Member

As a community member I have utilized CCHE’s offerings as a lifelong learner and college student. I currently live and work in Grand Portage, and was raised on the Gunflint Trail. I understand the challenges of pursuing higher education from rural and remote areas. I bring these practical, real-world experiences to my role as a board member.

Other

Committees

Interested in volunteering on a less regular basis? Consider sharing your time and talents on the Development, Anti-Racism or Technology Committee, or on a Subcommittee or a Task Force. The Governance and Finance Committees are comprised of board members only.

Governance Committee

Ensures high-level functioning of the board, the Executive Director, and the organization.

Members:
Bill Youmans, David Coleman, Donna Paine, Clair Nalezny

  • Board Governance
  • Personnel (Executive Director Review)
  • Board Member Nominations
  • Annual Nomination of slate of officers
  • Legislative Issues

Finance Committee

Financial Oversight for the non-profit organization. 

Members:
Bill Youmans, David Coleman, Donna Paine, Clair Nalezny

  • Budget
  • Monthly Financial Review

Technology Committee

Review and recommend technology resources and develop social media strategies to improve CCHE mission delivery.

Members:
Chair David Coleman, Bob Pranis

Task Forces

Metrics

Works with CCHE staff to develop standards for measuring impact on Cook County community and its residents.
Paula Marie Powell, Mark Morgen, Karen Blackburn, Lenna Stever, Adrea Beres

Facility Needs

Evaluates and prioritizes building accessibility and energy efficiency.
David Coleman

Long Distance Student Support FY19

Development Committee

Diversify the financial base of CCHE and strengthen the presence of CCHE in the community.

Members:
Gary Latz, Doug Bruce, Sue Hakes, Karen Halbersleben, Donna Paine, Bill Youmans

Subcommittees

Guest Lecture

Develop a list of potential guest lecture topics and presenters for the Guest Lecture Series which occurs on the third Thursday of the month from May through October. Guest Lecturers are not paid, therefore, this subcommittee relies heavily on existing relationships with individuals in the community and/or the region to bring interesting and timely topics to Cook County residents and visitors.
Kelsey Rogers Kennedy, Karen Blackburn

Scholarship

Meeting twice a year, the Scholarship Subcommittee reviews tuition scholarship applications submitted by local residents enrolled in long-distance education programs. Meeting in November and July, the subcommittee makes recommendations for funding applications from all available scholarship funds. The subcommittee usually allocates around $20,000 each semester.
Donna Paine, Mike Carlson, Mark Morgen, Karen Blackburn, Lenna Stever

Events

Brainstorms and plans all of the fun events hosted by CCHE. Examples of functions include The Afternoon Tea fundraiser hosted at Naniboujou Lodge, The Cindy Nelson fundraiser at Lutsen Mountains Summit Chalet, the annual membership event, open houses, and celebrations.
Donna Paine, Janice Latz, Karen Halberslben, Karen Blackburn, Kelsey Rogers Kennedy

Legacy Society

Supports board members and volunteers in their efforts to create events for the purpose of introducing CCHE’s Legacy Program to potential donors.
Sue Hakes, Karen Blackburn