Educational, work achievements of elected officials reflect community as whole

Wed, Sep 12, 2012


“We don’t need no education/We don’t need no thought control

Hey! People! Leave those kids alone…” Pink Floyd, The Wall.

Ever wondered how much edumacation our august city and county elected officials have? After suggesting in a recent column that city councilors would do well to take some courses in finance and water law, I wondered about the real extent of their educational achievements.

Remember the introduction to the often hilarious NPR program, Dr. Science?

Voiceover: “Remember, he’s not a real doctor!”

Dr. Science (in a tone of aggravated innocence): “I have a Master’s degree!”

Voiceover: “In…science!”

For whatever reason, master’s degrees are common among elected officials. We included only the mayor, the nine city councilors, and the five county commissioners in our survey, and relied on biographical information posted on city and county websites.

One elected official (Darryl Glenn) has a doctorate – a J.D. from the New England School of Law. Five have masters degrees, 13 have bachelor’s degrees, and all apparently graduated from high school.

One attended an “elite” school – Brandy Williams, who received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Carnegie-Mellon.

Mayor Steve Bach received a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in business administration and marketing from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1968.

Merv Bennett has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Anderson University in Anderson, Ind.

Lisa Czelatdko has a master’s degree in school counseling from Eastern Illinois University and has taken MBA classes at UCCS.

Angela Dougan received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Scott Hente received a bachelor’s degree from the United States Air Force Academy and a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska.

Bernie Herpin has a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts degree in computer resource management from Webster University.

Tim Leigh has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of North Dakota.


Jan Martin has bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado and an MBA in finance from Regis University.

Val Snider graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky, with a double major in criminology and physical education, and subsequently received an MBA from the University of South Dakota.

Brandy Williams graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering,

Darryl Glenn has a bachelor’s degree from the United States Air Force Academy, an MBA from Western New England College and a law degree from New England School of Law.

Amy Lathen graduated from UCCS with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992.

Dennis Hisey did not attend college, entering the workforce immediately after high school. He completed the 2005 FEMA sponsored Integrated Emergency Management course at their training center in Maryland.

Peggy Littleton has a bachelor’s degree from Regents University of New York (renamed Excelsior) and “has earned numerous graduate hours in literacy and education.”

And Sallie Clark, like her colleague Dennis Hisey, went to work right after high school.

Conclusion: our elected officials perfectly reflect the community they represent. We’re a city of upwardly mobile strivers, not coddled elites. We value education, military service and hard work. We may live at the foot of the Rockies, but our roots are Midwestern – none of the 15 ventured any farther west than Boulder for college.

So take note, anxious parents and high school seniors – there are many paths to success, and not all of them lead through elite colleges. Mayor Steve Bach and Commission Chair Amy Lathen both graduated from UCCS, while not a single Colorado College graduate holds local elected office.

Remember the famous advice given to Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate?”

“One word – plastics!”

For any local high schoolers aspiring to elected office, we might make a similar suggestion.

“Four letters – UCCS!”



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