Story by Brandon Steinert
July 28, 2017
Mike Johnson, local business owner and Barton Community College Board of Trustees Chair, has been recognized with the Western Regional Trustee Leadership Award via the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), a national organization.
Johnson was nominated by his fellow board members and contended with nominees from 10 other states and a large portion of Canada to receive the Western Region honor.
As the recipient, Johnson is automatically in the running against trustees from other regions for the National Trustee Leadership Award.
The role of trustee can be a thankless job, as the Barton Community College Board of Trustees is an unpaid elected board. It is storied with dedicated public servants who sacrifice their time and personal resources to guide the college on behalf of stakeholders. As the nomination packet describes, Johnson embodies the spirit of an engaged and motivated board member.
According to the nomination packet, he has an 18-year history of raising the bar for what it means to be a Trustee. He served as the board’s chair for six years, and as Vice Chair and Secretary. He has been an active member of the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees, serving two terms each as President and Secretary and one term as Vice President.
“Mike is the real deal, giving of his time and talents without hesitation whenever a need arises,” the board wrote to the nomination committee. “Seeing the time he takes out of his work and personal life to devote to Barton, traveling the three hours one-way to Topeka for routine committee meetings or impromptu visits with legislators, it’s apparent this college holds a special place in his heart, and to him this work of advancing accessible education is obviously a worthy cause.”
Johnson said he was humbled and honored when notified he had been chosen for the award, and that it is indicative of the institution’s dedication to its mission.
“Obviously this award was not won because of what I’ve done as an individual; it’s a team effort,” he said. “Everyone at Barton from the board to the faculty and staff all play a part in earning this kind of recognition. I will be accepting the award on behalf of the entire institution.”
He said the college is a tremendous asset to the community and an obvious place to direct his time and energy as a trustee.
“It’s an asset not only in educating students, but through economic development, workforce training, return on investment in the service area and dollars that come in through the college,” he said. “It’s a vital component of a prosperous and well-rounded community.”