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.
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.
|1978||Walter Calvert||Southwest WI|
|1979||Leah Rigler||WI Indianhead|
|1991||Joan Jenstead||Waukesha County|
|1995||Jerald Schoenike||Fox Valley|
|1997||Deborah Streuli||WI Indianhead|
|2000||Philip Baranowski||Moraine Park|
|2003||Ruth Mundt||Southwest WI|
|2005||David Logghe||WI Indianhead|
|2011||Vernon Jung||Moraine Park|
|2012||Russell Moyer||Southwest WI|
|2014||Ramona Mathews||Chippewa Valley|
|2016||Ramona Mathews||Chippewa Valley|
|2019||Betty Bruski Mallek||Mid-State|
|2020||Carla Hedtke||Northeast Wisconsin|
|2021||Lorraine Laberee||Wisconsin Indianhead|
|2022||Chuck Bolstad||Southwest Wisconsin|