Alicia Winchester Jantz hired as Crook County Open Campus Coordinator

by: JASON CHANEY - Alicia Winchester Jantz

As the new Crook County Open Campus Coordinator, Alicia Winchester Jantz has been asked to take on a role that has undergone some change.

Having gotten to know Jeremy Green and Tim Deboodt of the local OSU Extension Service because of her role as a 4-H leader, the Powell Butte resident learned about the position through casual conversations. Those discussions would ultimately lead to a plan in which Green would serve as coordinator temporarily before giving it over to Jantz once the role was more defined.

“Initially, I was the educational assistant and he was supervising the Open Campus,” Jantz said. “But, as many hats as he has, he knew it wasn’t going to be long before he turned it over to me.”

The transition became official in August 2013 and Jantz has been serving as Open Campus Coordinator ever since.

Jantz came to Crook County five year ago, after concluding a career in special education in central California.

“My parents live in Wallowa (County) and Eastern Oregon,” she said of her choice in Powell Butte. “I had passed through and I had lived in Eastern Oregon briefly, for about a year. I had always wanted to be back in the area, so once my step-children were old enough, out of high school, we (she and her husband) just decided to make the move.”

When she first arrived in the area, Jantz quickly landed a job with the State of Oregon as a case manager.

“I did that for about two years,” she said, “and then my husband and I opened our own business and did that for a while.”

As it turns out, the business-ownership schedule didn’t suit her. Her routine up to that point had always included some sort of job with a set timeframe.

“So, being on my own and having to establish our own schedule, I decided it was time to go back to work.”

As Open Campus Coordinator, Jantz is focusing on a variety of objectives handed down to her by the local higher education council.

“It is career and college readiness. It’s degree completion,” she said of her focus. “It has a lot of outreach. I refer to it more as a liaison within the community.”

Jantz works with a variety of partners including COCC, WorkSource and the Crook County School District to provide programs to Open Campus that will meet the needs of the community.

“There is a really big focus with the ed council on trying to get some higher ed business classes here, offered through OSU (Oregon State University),” she said.

Ultimately, Jantz hopes to raise awareness of the Open Campus facility among Crook County residents, so that they know about all of the resources the school provides and the variety of connections it can make for students to further their education.

“There are a lot of people in this community who don’t even know what this building offers,” she said.

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