A longtime Labette Community College fine arts instruction will retire this year.

The LCC Board of Trustees gave the administration approval to search for a replacement for John Ford Jr. during a Thursday meeting, when the board also took action on other personnel.

Ford plans to retire in August. 

Art was always a part of Ford’s life, given his father was in the art field. Ford, however, was late in deciding to make his own living at it.

After working in various trades that kept him working with his hands — metal fabrication, carpentry and construction — Ford finally entered college in 1986 to study botany. He soon changed his major and graduated in 1991 from Slippery Rock University with a bachelor’s in fine arts. In August 1994, he received a master’s in fine arts from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He taught at West Virginia Tech for a year before taking over the art department at LCC.

Through the years, Ford has taught drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, art appreciation and art education. 

He has long supported the hands-on pottery area for children at the annual Katy Days festival, and he also started a Junior Cardinal Clay Class in 2013 for children 7 to 12 to teach them pottery in the summer.

The board also approved a contract extension for LCC President Mark Watkins for one year to June 30, 2022. The trustees thanked Watkins for his work this past year. 

The board accepted the resignation of Megan O’Brien, payroll and benefits accountant, effective at the end of her contract on June 30, and Kara Good, director of respiratory therapy, effective Feb. 12.

Administration was asked to search for replacements for both of those positions.

While searching for a replacement for Good, the board hired her back as temporary part-time respiratory therapy program director beginning Feb. 13 for 19 weeks at $1,292 monthly.


In other business, the board:

— Heard about the college’s audit from Neil Phillips of Jarred, Gilmore, & Phillips. It was an unmodified opinion with no findings. Phillips stated that LCC had a clean report with no issues.  

— Discussed tuition and fees. No change in tuition/fees was recommended for 2021-22. No action was taken.

— Approved forgoing the normal bid process and approved the upgrade of a phone system through Dave’s Communication Services in Coffeyville at a cost of $41,105 utilizing COVID-19 relief funds.

— Approved Jessica Smith as a financial aid specialist at $14.87 per hour starting March 1.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 11 at the Cardinal Event Center.

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