LA JUNTA – Otero Junior College is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Herrell as Vice President of Instruction for the college. Herrell, who has served as Associate Vice President of Instruction since 2000, has been serving as the interim Vice President of Instruction for the past six months. Herrell will be replacing Dr. Robert Hayden who left OJC this past summer.
In making the announcement to the campus, Jim Rizzuto, president of Otero Junior College, expressed his appreciation to Herrell for an outstanding job over the past six months as he served in the interim position.
“Jim has served OJC well during his tenure here at OJC and we are especially grateful for his efforts these past few months as he’s worked with faculty, staff and the community to maintain our high level of expectations in the area of academic instruction. His years of experience in education and administration spans from K-12 to higher education and I’m looking forward to the knowledge and experience that he will continue to share with OJC,” said Rizzuto.
Herrell was raised in La Junta, the son of the late Dr. Robert Herrell and Neva Herrell. He is a 1969 graduate of La Junta High School. Herrell earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in history and social sciences and a master’s degree from UNC in special education. Herrell was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Denver where he did Ph.D. work in gifted and talented education and studied anthropology, which solidified his love of teaching and interest in archeology and paleontology.
Prior to coming to OJC in 2000, Herrell spent seven years as the education director for the Colorado Boys Ranch and 16 years as the principal of West Elementary School in La Junta. Jim and his wife Donna live west of Rocky Ford. He is the father of three daughters, Danya, Audi and Jaime. In his free time Herrell is an amateur paleontologist, spending untold hours in the canyon lands south of La Junta assisting with paleontological digs and surveys. He is well known in the area schools for his presentations about dinosaurs and archeology. Herrell is also a founding board member of Not 1 More Acre!, a Colorado non-profit corporation formed to promote the ecological, cultural and economic health of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
Herrell said he is looking forward to the challenges that his new position will bring and the opportunity to help shape the college’s future direction.
“When President Rizzuto asked me to serve as the interim Vice President of Instruction last summer, I was excited and humbled by the appointment. Over the past few months the OJC faculty and staff, as well as the valley educational community, have been supportive and patient with the transition,” said Herrell.
“Otero Junior College is an exciting and intellectually stimulating place to practice one’s profession. The area communities have each contributed some of their best and brightest to our campus team. As a result, I look forward to our future, knowing that we have a solid team of professional educators who will continue to provide an educational foundation for our citizens that will prepare them to be the next generation’s workforce,” he said.