New staff on hand for Mesalands’ fall semester

Special to QCS

Mesalands Community College welcomes four new full-time faculty members to the campus this fall and announces new roles for returning staff.

Paul Leonard, a native of Tucumcari, joins Mesalands as the Farrier Science faculty member. Leonard holds an associate’s degree and has more than 20 years of experience as a farrier. He is also a U.S. Navy veteran. Leonard says his top concern is the importance of safety for his students, as well as the humane treatment of animals. Leonard said he has a good concept of animal health and well-being and recognizes sickness in cattle and horses. Leonard says he hopes his students will be able to take what they learn in class, and use it in their future careers.

Joining the Fine Arts Department faculty is Joel Kiser from Plano, Texas. He holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree and has more than 10 years’ experience in iron casting. Kiser focuses on advanced ceramic firing methods and alternative casting methods. Kiser said he looks forward to working with fellow faculty D’Jean Jawrunner and Robert Moreau in the Fine Arts Department. He says most importantly he is excited about working with Mesalands students.

From Los Angeles, California, Philip Tafone, is the new Health and Wellness Facility coordinator. Tafone earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees and more than six years of experience as a personal trainer and a fitness manger. He is also knowledgeable of the fitness industry, the certification industry, and the regulations that exist between them. Tafone said he likes to encourage students of all ages to develop their own voice, by finding ways to relate health topics to their personal lives. He says he is enthusiastic about the opportunity to teach such a diverse group of students at Mesalands.

Andrew Swapp from Milford, Utah, joins the faculty in Wind Energy Technology. Swapp has master’s and a bachelor’s degrees and 15 years of teaching experience. He has taught skilled and technical science classes in engineering and renewable energy. Swapp was also a U.S. Army infantry veteran. Swapp said he is most excited about helping his students secure employment, in the wind or renewable energy industry, adding that their success is his success.

New Roles for Returning and Former Faculty

Nine-year veteran faculty member Eddy Mardis, is now the Silversmithing faculty member at Mesalands. In his former position, Mardis was a member of the Farrier Science Department faculty. Mardis has two bachelor’s degrees and more than 20 years of teaching experience. Mardis and Natalie Gillard, vice president of Academic Affairs, began the silversmithing program at Mesalands in 2008. This program offers hands-on creative experience in custom designing, fabricating and engraving. As a nationally recognized engraver and spur maker, Mardis understands the knowledge and hands-on welding skills students acquire in this program. He says these skills equip students for a variety of career opportunities.

Tom Morris is the new director of Career of Services, Persistence and Student Success. For the past seven years, Morris served as Health and Wellness Facility Coordinator. He has a master’s and bachelor’s degree and 23 years of teaching experience in a community college setting. Morris will continue to teach at Mesalands as an adjunct instructor. In his new position, Morris will be responsible for the overall operations of the new Career Services Center, which includes coordinating seminars and programs to assist students with their future career plans. He will also organize the college’s persistence (retention) and assessment efforts. Morris said he believes his job duties consist of three main areas: the Career Services Center, completion and assessment. He said all three areas comprise the Mesalands foundations not only for student success, but for the overall success of the college.

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