Gila County Provisional Community College District announces leadership

On Jan. 13 the Gila County Provisional Community College District Governing Board announced the election of Dr. Jan Brocker as board president, Samuel Moorhead as vice president, Connie Cockrell as secretary and Kurt Knauss as treasurer/chief financial officer. Brocker succeeds Jay Spehar, who stepped down earlier this month, as president. Moorhead succeeds Brocker as vice president; Cockrell and Knauss were elected to newly formed positions.

Fernando Shipley was welcomed to the seat vacated by Spehar. Shipley’s appointment extends through Dec. 31, 2022. The remaining four years of Spehar’s term will be filled by the successful candidate in the Nov. 2022 election.

Dr. Jan Brocker

Dr. Jan Brocker earned a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies and a master’s in adult education from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Denver. Her professional experience in academia is equally impressive. She has held leadership roles in program development, student recruitment, admissions and advising. She also taught marketing, business ethics and other graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business. Outside academia, Brocker spent 10 years in private-sector sales and management, and has been a teamwork and strategic performance consultant for several nonprofit groups.

A retiree and full-time Payson resident, Brocker continues to serve the community, substitute teaching with Payson Unified School District and serving as a volunteer with several local community organizations. Her favorite activities include golfing, hiking and road trips with her husband, Paul, and her little dog, Libby.

“Dr. Brocker’s deep expertise in higher education and exceptional commitment to the Gila Pueblo and Payson campuses uniquely qualifies her to lead this Governing Board,” said Eastern Arizona College President Todd Haynie. “We look forward to working with her and the other board members to continue providing excellent academic programs to the citizens of Gila County through EAC’s partnership with the Gila County Provisional Community College District.”

Samuel Moorhead

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Samuel Moorhead brings military, higher education and on-the-job experience to the Governing Board.

Moorhead served as a United States Navy corpsman for 14 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Edinboro State University and a master’s degree in special education from New Mexico State University. His educational background prepared him for a successful career teaching in a variety of settings. Additionally, Moorhead was a commercial driver for Werner Enterprises until his retirement in 2007. Moorhead joined the Governing Board in 2012. He and his wife, Judy, have four children and are proud grandparents of five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Connie Cockrell

Connie Cockrell and her husband settled in Payson in 2010, after a 20-year career with the U.S. Air Force. Her military career included various assignments of increased responsibility – from switchboard operator to first sergeant, including 15 years in the Adirondacks working as a data entry supervisor, a technical support manager and a project manager for Computer Services Corporation.

In addition to her Governing Board assignments, Cockrell serves as the director for the Payson Book Festival. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in management information systems from Bowie State University. She is a member of the Arizona Professional Writers Association and the National Federation of Press Women.

Kurt Knauss

Kurt Knauss was elected to the Governing Board in 2016. He brings a broad knowledge of technical training, and is firmly committed to helping students move directly into high-demand jobs with the skills today’s employers need. He has served as commander of American Legion Post 4 in Globe, been a member of City of Globe and Gila County planning and zoning commissions, and served in the United States Army. His professional career includes 28 years at Freeport-McMoRan. He began as a truck driver, moved into operations and has served in a supervisory role for the past 25 years. He currently holds the position of superintendent of technical training, where he is responsible for employee training and safety compliance - educating Freeport-McMoRan employees locally and as far away as the Netherlands.

Knauss received his bachelor’s degree in applied business management from Grand Canyon University, and emergency medical technician and fire science credentials from Eastern Arizona College.

Away from public service, Knauss enjoys spending time with his wife and children. His hobbies include boating, riding motorcycles, hunting and fishing, snorkeling and international travel. He and his family especially enjoy visiting Thailand, and have hosted foreign exchange students from this country on three occasions.

Fernando Shipley

Fernando Shipley understands what it takes to get a college degree, and then put it to use to operate a successful business. Shipley moved with his family from Colorado to Arizona when he was in the eighth grade. He graduated from Mesa High School and then attended Mesa Community College and Arizona State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. Shipley began his career at State Farm in 1988 at the age of 21. After holding several positions in the Phoenix area, he became an agent in Globe. In 1999, he started his own State Farm agency and has enjoyed serving clients ever since. He and his wife Denise have three grown children, and are hoping for grandchildren one day soon. Shipley enjoys being an active part of the community and looks forward to his association on the Governing Board. He was appointed by Gila County School Superintendent Roy Sandoval.

“We’re very honored and delighted to have him join the board,” said Brocker.

About the Gila County Provisional Community College District Governing Board

Since 2005, Eastern Arizona College has contracted with the Gila County Provisional Community College District (Governing Board) to provide academic services at the Gila Pueblo and Payson campuses and the Miami Regional Training Center. The board includes five members who typically meet monthly, and are elected by the people in the districts in which they reside.