by Finn McNally Herald Reporter
Nov 29, 2023
Gloria Perez was elected to be the newest member of the Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Board of Trustees for District 6. Perez ran unopposed to replace Bob Hartzell.
Perez has lived in Leadville for over 30 years. She was born in Mexico and moved to the United States with her family when she was 10 years old. She lived in Nevada for one year before moving to Leadville and attending school in Lake County.
After graduating from Lake County High School, Perez began working with AmeriCorps where she earned an educational award to help pay for college. She decided not to go to college right away as she focused on raising her kids. In 2005, Perez began taking classes at CMC. She was the first member of her family to go to college.
Perez earned an associate degree with an emphasis in business from CMC and transferred to Regis University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in finance.
Throughout her time in AmeriCorps and college, Perez also worked jobs at an athletic club, a bank and two nonprofit agencies.
“I’ve always worked,” Perez said. “I’ve done a little bit of everything. You name it, I’ve done it.”
After college, Perez became one of the first people to work for Lake County Wraparound. Within a few months she became the supervisor of the initiative and has worked there for the last 13 years. Wraparound is a program that works with children, young adults and families that are experiencing complex life needs.
Perez is also a board member of the Lake County Community Fund and a recipient of the Boettcher Foundation Doers and Difference Makers Fellowship.
“I feel that my own lived experience as a first-generation student, a mother of two kids that went to CMC and someone who’s been in the public sector, the private sector and nonprofits allows me to understand other people’s situations and bring my perspective to CMC,” Perez said.
When a spot became available on the CMC Board of Trustees, Perez didn’t initially think to run for it. She said she only decided to run after people close to her encouraged her to.
“If it hadn’t been suggested to me I’m not sure I would’ve run, but people told me that I would make a good board member,” Perez said. “I believe I will be the first Latina member of the Board of Trustees, so I can offer that perspective.”
Perez said her first goal will be to approach the board with an open mind and begin offering her support and input. She said that affordability will be an important issue for her.
“When I got out of college everything was so much more affordable and I think that’s a real challenge that young people are facing,” Perez said. “It’s important to help these young people be successful and part of that is keeping education affordable.”
Another issue that Perez hopes to focus on is Latino enrollment in higher education. “I think there’s still a gap in Latino males obtaining higher education,” Perez said. “I’m very passionate about that because my boys were fortunately able to go to college, but that isn’t the case for a lot of people.”