Board Member of the Year Award - 2022

Chuck Bolstad - SWTC

Each year, we ask our members to recommend colleagues who have made particularly important contributions to our cause as board members and as an association. Selecting a Board Member of the Year is difficult because we must pick from among very deserving individuals who come from very different colleges and boards, and from very different backgrounds and experiences.

We were honored to review the nominations for several really extraordinary members this year, and the committee would be proud to have selected any of the candidates.

The Board Member of the Year Award is based on four criteria: involvement at the district level, involvement at the state level, involvement at the national level, and the individual’s overall service through other contributions.

This Year's Winner - Chuck Bolstad - SWTC

Always a believer in technical education, Charles “Chuck” Bolstad has been a champion of affordable and accessible technical education as a member of the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (Southwest Tech) District Board since 2016. Mr. Bolstad can be described as an educator, farmer, environmentalist, veteran, advocate, and leader.

Chuck has been an educator all his life and enjoyed a 31-year career as a high school teacher and school counselor. Mr. Bolstad’s familiarity with all educational systems prompted him to apply to the District Board in 2016. Chuck is a champion of affordable education for all and the first to ensure students in basic education are able to retrain for a new career. He cares deeply about serving the economically and academically disadvantaged and people of color. Chuck has held positions on several boards in his community and served his country as a veteran of the National Guard.

Chuck served his country for 38 years in the Army National Guard. The last six years of his service he worked full time for the Defense Department. Chuck retired from the military with the rank of Master Sergeant. Chuck’s leadership in the Army National Guard has benefitted many people, young and old, and set an example for the many, many students he counseled at the schools he served.

In Chuck’s retirement he helped found the North Crawford Community Education Foundation serving as their Chairman from 2016-2021, providing scholarships to graduating seniors and innovation incentive grants to the faculty and staff. Chuck’s love for education started at a young age. A testament to that is his service to his community as a 25+-year volunteer caretaker of the Folsom community rural school house and lawn, the school building where he received his elementary education. Since 2017, he has served as a director on the Bethel Home Board in Viroqua. His interest in helping his community is demonstrated in ensuring seniors have a high-quality, long-term care facility in their own community. Chuck is a founding member of the Farmer Led Tainter Creek Watershed Council conversation group, helping educate his fellow farmers on the advantages of erosion control in the preservation of their land. Recently Chuck has been asked to join the board of the Valley Stewardship Network, a regional organization that promotes sound environmental practices in the Driftless area.

Chuck has proven to be an exceptional board member making his attendance at meetings and college events a high priority, not missing one meeting in the last six years. Chuck can be found at all graduation ceremonies, Foundation donor appreciation events, open houses, and many other events hosted by the college. In Chuck’s six years on the District Board, he has served as Treasurer for two years and two years as Chairperson. As Board Chair, Chuck provided stalwart leadership throughout the pandemic ensuring the College cared about our people as the top priority, led the approval of the Charger Respect Pledge, and led the creation of the College’s Inclusivity Value.

Mr. Bolstad attends all the quarterly District Boards Association meetings. He is highly participative in the association attending committee meetings, in-services, and banquets. Chuck promotes the District Boards Association (DBA) to his fellow District Board members, encouraging them to participate and attend the meetings. Mr. Bolstad served as the Secretary/Treasurer for the DBA in 2020-21 and is currently serving as the Vice President for the Boards Association.

Chuck participates in local, state, and national advocacy efforts attending the biennial state legislative seminar through the DBA and volunteering to meet with local legislators. Chuck has annually attended both the Leadership Congress and National Legislative Summit through ACCT. Chuck’s willingness to bring back ideas from these conferences to the College resulted in Southwest Tech’s student loan default rate being reduced from 13% to 3%. In 2019, he presented at the ACCT Leadership Congress along with other college staff on the college’s internal governance structure.

Chuck is a strong advocate for technical education being accessible by all, and his leadership has been instrumental in the college’s effort to reach its goals. He gives of himself freely, tirelessly, and with contagious enthusiasm, humbleness, dedication, listening, and caring for all.

Board Member of the Year Award Presentation

Former Award Winners

Board Member of the Year
Year Member College
1976 William Pierce Waukesha
1978 Walter Calvert Southwest WI
1979 Leah Rigler WI Indianhead
1980 Ben Guthrie Nicolet
1990 Jacqueline DeBaker Lakeshore
1991 Joan Jenstead Waukesha County
1992 Donald McGrath Blackhawk
1993 Conrad Zander Nicolet
1994 Ruth Harker Lakeshore
1995 James Munro Blackhawk
1995 Jerald Schoenike Fox Valley
1996 Ken Day Northcentral
1997 Deborah Streuli WI Indianhead
1998 Linda Christman Madison
1999 Robert Beaver Mid-State
2000 Philip Baranowski Moraine Park
2001 Audrey Hein Blackhawk
2002 Sandra Haasl Mid-State
2003 Ruth Mundt Southwest WI
2004 Joan Jenstead Waukesha
2005 David Logghe WI Indianhead
2006 Jean Trempe Northcentral
2007 James Munro Blackhawk
2008 John Lukas Lakeshore
2009 Ronald Bertieri Waukesha
2010 Lauren Baker Milwaukee
2011 Vernon Jung Moraine Park
2012 Russell Moyer Southwest WI
2013 Patrick Costello Mid-State
2014 Ramona Mathews Chippewa Valley
2015 John Lukas Lakeshore
2016 Ramona Mathews Chippewa Valley
2017 Robert Beaver Mid-State
2018 John Lukas Lakeshore
2019 Betty Bruski Mallek Mid-State
2020 Carla Hedtke Northeast Wisconsin
2021 Lorraine Laberee Wisconsin Indianhead
2022 Chuck Bolstad Southwest Wisconsin