Mount Airy resident Kelly Frager recently became the newest member of the Carroll Community College board of trustees, after she was appointed to the seven-member board by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Frager has lived in Mount Airy for the past 17 years, and is owner of the Mount Airy-based business Etiquette for Everyday, where she teaches etiquette and social skills to people of all ages. She worked as an adjunct faculty member at Carroll Community for roughly four years, teaching noncredit classes in customer service, interviewing skills and networking courses, but stepped down from that role to serve as a member of the board.
She is a mother of three daughters who have attended Carroll County public schools, where she has been actively involved as a parent, serving on the Board of Education's Community Advisory Council and Ethics Panel. She attended her first board of trustees meeting last month.
The Carroll County Times caught up with Frager to learn about her and her appointment to the board.
Q: Have you ever served on a board like this before?
A: This is different. I'm currently on the board of Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, which serves Frederick and Carroll counties. So this is a very different board than that, so I would consider this my first experience on a board to this level.
Q: What kind of perspective will you bring to the board of trustees?
A: I think that one of the things that will probably be most appreciated is that I think I'm an advocate for learning. When I say learning, I mean learning in whatever way that individuals can learn in and whatever way is helpful to them as individuals. And so I was very involved with Carroll County Public Schools and locally here too, as PTA president. And took care of all different kinds of things. I still sit on the Community Advisory Council and the Ethics Panel for Carroll County Public Schools. So I am a great believer in education and the opportunities that are then afforded through a great education.
I am also very much an advocate of affordability when it comes to education. Once you get past that 12th grade year, education looks different for different people and so I think in particular, for a traditional student that is 17, 18, graduating from high school, they go into a trade or the work place directly. They might not know what they want to do, and then students go right off to a four-year college.
What I plan to hopefully continue in terms of supporting the college and serving our community and our county is that for the students don't know exactly what they want to do yet, this is a great way for them to discover that and to take some core ... classes to get them started and get them thinking and to help them explore different career paths. That might end up ending, after two years, with an associate's degree. It might end up with them ending up moving on to a four-year institution and finishing their degree there, it might end up with them ending up with a certification.
Q: Do you bring any unique qualities to this role?
A: I think that I definitely do as a parent of three students who have come up through Carroll County Public Schools; I get the full picture — I really understand, because my youngest is at South Carroll High School and my other two daughters are in college. I have that type of experience recently, and we're servicing the same type of population. A lot of your full-time associate's degree students are the same who graduated from South Carroll, or Winters Mill or North Carroll High School. So there's a continuation there, so I feel like I'm right there personally, as well too...
Q: What are the most important issues to you in higher education?
A: I would definitely say affordability. And I would also say preparedness for the real world. Preparedness isn't just the technical skills because they estimate — there was this study done at Harvard and it was published in Forbes — that really when you talk about preparedness and you look at the workplace, 85 percent of success in the workplace is the social skills and the other 15 percent is the technical skills — that is according to that particular study. But I think that we want to make sure that you can't just graduate people that have the technical skills; you also have to make sure that there [are] experiences that go along with that.
Those experiences look different for everybody based on what their interests are. It could be a special connection that you have with an instructor that you do research with, so you kind of go in that direction; it could be that opportunity that you had to hone your public speaking ability in your communications class that you had to take as a degree requirement. I think that preparedness for the real world in both the technical side and the social side, and having that social capital and understanding how that works in connecting with other people and communicating with other people — those are two things that are critical.
Q: Is there anything you hope to accomplish as a member of the board?
A: My hope is that I don't go in there with any agenda. I have so much to learn and I'm looking forward to that learning and I'm looking forward to really expanding my understanding of the county as well, and the needs of the traditional student and the needs of the nontraditional or noncredit student — what those needs are and how to best fulfill those needs.