Sandy Thomas is Greenfield Community College’s interim Associate Dean for Community Education while Bob Barba is on sabbatical until mid-July. Thomas will oversee GCC’s extensive community education program that includes a broad range of non-credit courses and workshops, the popular Senior Symposium series, and the Pioneer Valley Institute. A key part of the Associate Dean position is the continual development of new courses in response to community needs and interests.
Thomas brings a wealth of community and professional experience to the position. She is a registered nurse who worked as a pediatric nurse in North Carolina for five years before moving to Greenfield in 1977. Along with working with local groups that helped re-open the Poet Seat Tower, Thomas worked with CHADD, an organization advocating for children with Attention Deficit Disorder, serving for three years as national president and one year as international president. She was a volunteer and staff member for the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association for 13 years, including serving as the Director of the Greenfield Energy Park and Director of the annual Building Energy Conference in Boston, the largest green energy conference in the northeast. Since the fall of 2008, Thomas has hosted and co-produced a weekly public television program, The Eco Exchange, on energy and the environment for WGBY. In 2009, she chaired Baystate’s Franklin Medical Center Rays of Hope Breast Cancer Walk in Greenfield which raised about $35,000 in Franklin County to support breast cancer patients in western Massachusetts.
Reflecting on her new position, Thomas said, “I’m very impressed with the diversity and number of non-credit courses and workshops offered by Greenfield Community College. GCC’s Community Education programs offer everyone in the area a chance to continue learning throughout their lifetime. Whether you want to increase your workplace or business skills, learn a new form of dance, enhance your computer, writing or first aid skills, and more, there’s something for everyone at GCC. GCC’s Community Education is truly education by the community and for the community. Many Community Education courses and workshops are taught by community members sharing their knowledge and expertise with their Franklin and Hampshire County neighbors. Join us! Sign up for a course, or propose to teach a new one.”