O’Toole named athletic director at Cowley College

July 21, 2021

Jason O’Toole, a former Cowley College student-athlete and long-time College employee, was approved as the new athletic director at Cowley College during Monday night’s annual Board of Trustees meeting held in the President’s Private Dining Room located inside the McAtee Dining Center.

O’Toole, who played baseball at Cowley and graduated from the school in 1994, most recently served in the role of executive director of student affairs at the College. He has a master's degree from Wichita State University in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies from Kansas State University.

Jason’s wife, Shannon, is also a proud Alum of Cowley College and serves as the director of auxiliary services. Both Jason and Shannon have been employed at Cowley College for the past 24 years.

The couple has three children, with their sons Hunter and Haden, both attending Cowley as student-athletes. The family ties to Cowley College is strong.

“I have played, been around, watched, supported, listened, followed and worked in Cowley athletics for 26 years of my life,” O’Toole said. “I bleed Orange and am extremely excited and humbled to have the opportunity to continue Cowley’s rich athletic tradition as athletic director.”

O’Toole assumes the position of athletic director following the recent departure of Shane Larson, who spent seven years at the school prior to accepting a similar position at Iowa Western Community College.

In other matters:

1. Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle provided a college update. Dr. Rittle congratulated Cowley College Distance Learning Team members Eddie Andreo, associate vice president of distance learning and site management, and Shelby Huddleston, director of instructional technology, for being named winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Optimizing Student Experience. Dr. Rittle also spoke of the solid summer enrollment which shows a modest increase from last year. He also mentioned the athletic turf project is underway as well as the lab renovations for the new construction trades program set to begin this fall.
2. Dr. Steve Abrams provided a Trustee Finance Subcommittee update.
3. Glennis Zimmerman provided the Board with a Trustee Academic Subcommittee update.
4. Chair Wilson provided the Board with a Trustee Policy Subcommittee update.
5. Dr. Steve Abrams provided the Board with a Trustee Finance Subcommittee update.
6. Approved the Consent Agenda to include:

  1. Board Minutes of the June 21, 2021 meeting and Board Retreat conducted on July 10.
  2. Financial Reports. The Treasurer is directed to file said reports with the financial records of the College for audit according to the policies of the Board of Trustees and the Statutes of the State of Kansas.
  3. Bills and Claims. Approved fiscal officers of the College to execute payment of all bills and claims as presented.
  4. Administrative Reports.
  5. The Board held first readings on the following policies: (102.00) Organization of the College; (116.00) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); and (117.00) Work Comp Return to Work.
  6. The Board approved the following policies: (132.00) Purchasing Policy; (137.00) Conflict of Interest); (242.00) Selection of Department Chairperson; (244.00) Field Trips and Special Presentations.
  7. The Board approved the resignation of Katie Boyle as library assistant, effective July 23; approved the resignation of Kori Gregg as vice president of institutional advancement, effective July 2; approved the resignation of Jennie Larson as Biology instructor, effective June 22; approved the resignation of Shane Larson as athletic director, effective July 9; approved the resignation of Jared Shofstall as technical director of theatre, effective July 5.
  8. The Board approved the employment of Jason O’Toole as athletic director, effective July 20; approved the employment of Jason Huffman as technical director of theatre, effective August 1; approved the employment of Kit Kirby as academic department specialist/Perkins retention, effective July 20; approved the employment of Anthony Rubin as education navigator-Winfield Correctional Facility, effective July 20.
  9. The Board approved the internal reorganization of existing College personnel with an extensive increase in duties with Kristi Shaw named vice president of student affairs, effective July 20.

7. Holly Harper, vice president of finance and administration, provided the Board with a Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) update.
8. Dr. Michelle Schoon, vice president of academic affairs, informed the Board that Cowley’s performance report has been submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents. Cowley met four of the six indicators, which qualifies the College for full funding of any new dollars for the 2021 academic year.
9. Paul Erdmann, vice president of information technology, provided an update on projects the information technology staff has worked on over the past month.
10. Kristi Shaw, executive director of enrollment management, provided an enrollment update. Shaw also informed the Board of the recruiting events the admissions representatives have assisted with over the past month and have lined up in the coming months.
11. Debbie Phelps, executive director of institutional effectiveness, informed the Board that the Annual Year (AY) Collection, which opened on July 1, includes sixteen (16) files containing a wide range of data for the 2020-2021 academic year
12. Jason O’Toole, former executive director of student affairs, provided a housing update.
13. Pam Smith, faculty liaison, provided updates from several Cowley instructors.
14. Patty Mugler, administrative assistant to the director of athletics, informed the Board that the athletic department is gearing up for the start of the 2021-2022 season. Additionally, following a stellar sophomore season which saw him help the Cowley College men's basketball team to a national runner-up finish, Dalen Ridgnal was named the Junior College Male Athlete of the Year at the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission Sports Banquet held July 1st at the Downtown Drury Plaza-Broadview in Wichita.
15. Approved the bid from Clearing Building Corp to construct a 40x60 building at the Sumner Campus in Wellington. This decision made due to the square footage per dollar cost. The $43,071 cost will be paid through the Sutherland Grant Foundation dollars.
16. The College recently completed an RFP for banking services, receiving bids from Community National Bank, RCB Bank, and Union State Bank. A cross-sectional team of employees reviewed the bids and presented the findings to the Trustee Finance Subcommittee, which met with representatives of each bank at their July 13, 2021 meeting. The Board selected Union State Bank as the designated depository for the college’s operating fund.
17. The Board discussed the potential construction of student housing at the Sumner Campus in Wellington.
18. Held four executive sessions totaling 50 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel, regarding new hires, professional negotiations, pursuant to the exception for discussion relating to non-elected personnel.
19. Trustee JoLynn Foster was absent.
20. The meeting adjourned at 7:52 p.m.

Rama Peroo

Director of Institutional Communication & Public Relations
Cowley College
125 South 2nd Street
Arkansas City, KS 67005