Mid-Plains Community College is starting the school year with several new faculty members. They are: Dr. David Potter, Jess Grasmick, Alexa McCall, Mark Harwood and Jamie Perry in North Platte and Mark Hardiman in McCook.
Dr. David Potter
Dr. David Potter is the new speech instructor in North Platte. Originally from Smith Center, Kan., Potter graduated early from high school in 2005 and spent what would have been his second semester of his senior year of high school at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
He earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2008 and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2010.
Potter then moved to Grand Forks, N.D., where he attended the University of North Dakota, earning a doctorate in communication and public discourse with a specialty in privacy and facial recognition technology in 2015. In 2018, he obtained an associate degree in automotive technology from Oklahoma City Community College.
Prior to taking the job at Mid-Plains, Potter taught Speech and Intro to Film at Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tenn. He also taught Speech, Mass Communication and Interpersonal Communication at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Okla.
Jess Grasmick took over as NPCC's full-time dental assisting instructor last spring after spending the first half of the 2018-19 school year filling in as an interim.
The North Platte native brings her own experience at MPCC to the position. She graduated from the dental assisting program at Mid-Plains in 2010. She was hired by Maple Park Dental Associates during her third rotation.
Grasmick worked for the office two years then decided to continue her education. She received a bachelor's degree in biological science from Peru State College in 2015 then returned to work for Maple Park for three more years – up until she was hired by MPCC.
Alexa McCall is the college's new Developmental Math instructor. She is also no stranger to the college. She played volleyball for the Lady Knights from 2008-09.
McCall transferred her credits to Concordia University in Seward where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and a teaching certificate.
She followed in her mother's footsteps in becoming a teacher. McCall's first job out of college was teaching math for middle school and high school students at Brady Public Schools. She has served as an adjunct instructor and head women's volleyball coach for North Platte Community College since 2015.
Mark Harwood takes over for Don Wilson as the new Auto Body/Collision instructor at Mid-Plains Community College. He is also an alum of the program he is now teaching – having graduated in 1989.
He has always enjoyed working on cars, but initially wanted to study art at the Denver Art Institute. At that time, there was a one-year wait to get into the art institute, so Harwood followed in the footsteps of his older brother at MPCC. He soon found that he could be just as creative in the field of auto body and never left North Platte.
In 1991, he began teaching auto body night classes for MPCC in addition to repairing and selling cars for a local motor company. He has been an assistant in the college's auto body department for the past 18 years.
Jamie Perry replaces Martin Steinbeck as the director of the college's Medical Laboratory Technology program. Perry is originally from Sidney. She graduated in 2007 then spent four years at Chadron State College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology.
Perry then transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha where she received a medical laboratory science degree in 2012. She was subsequently employed as a med lab scientist at UNMC for three years.
Perry moved to North Platte in 2015. She took a part-time adjunct teaching job in MPCC's med lab tech department in 2016 while simultaneously pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree through Bellevue University. Her position at the college became full-time in January, and Perry officially became the program director after Steinbeck retired in May.
Mark Hardiman will teach speech and theater in McCook. He has both a Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing from Ohio University and a master's degree in communication from Northern Illinois University.
Prior to taking the position in McCook, he served as a professor of theatre at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Ill. for a decade.
Hardiman has worked professionally as an actor, director and fight choreographer for over two decades, including work at San Diego Repertory Theatre and the Bowery Theatre in California. He was also the founder and producing artistic director for Talisman Theater which performed in Chicagoland for 15 years.