County News

Though only recently hired as the associate dean of Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus, Kelly Trainor told a crowd of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members Feb. 24 at Yavapai College Sedona Center that he has worn a number of hats within the college’s hierarchy — moving from teaching to administration, career and technology education to general academia.

Trainor gained a bachelor of science in agricultural education and a doctorate in microbiology before coming to Yavapai College as a teacher. In addition to his own academic credentials, his experience at the Agribusiness Technology Center in Chino Valley — the city in which he resides — helped him gain an understanding of the college’s smaller satellite campuses and their particular concerns.

Later, when he taught anatomy and physiology at Yavapai College’s main Prescott campus, he began to comprehend the workings of the larger organization and its priorities.

According to Trainor — whose educational philosophy is simple, “Do what’s best for the student” — a varied history comes in handy in his new role. Even though he lives outside the Verde Valley, he said that he is a native Arizonan with a passion for the work. Having seen the workings of Yavapai College from a variety of perspectives places him well to serve the Verde Valley.

“You have to realize that I started at a very small campus — smaller than the Verde campus,” Trainor said, adding that concerns about the future of the Sedona Center would not go unrecognized. “I think I really have a good understanding of the struggles these small satellite campuses have .... Are the courses we’re offering what the community needs? We really want to build relationships in the community.”

Some of those relationships, he said, will help him tap into local resources when it comes time to establish a culinary and hospitality management program in the Verde Valley. The placement of the program is still up for debate, but it may well end up housed in the Sedona Center.

“As long as everything works out, we would like to have culinary and hospitality be the anchor for this center,” Trainor said, adding that he envisioned the center as a “central hub” for training hospitality-sector employees and a destination for those people looking for continuing education opportunities.

Looking to future opportunities, he said that he envisions founding “comprehensive programs” that blend for-credit, workforce development and community education aspects at the Sedona Center and at the Verde Valley campus.

Gesturing around the room, Trainor said that he wants to create “a robust facility being used from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days of the week.”


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