Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sep 16
New faces on MCC campus

Four new full-time faculty, a new assistant director and three new coaches begin their tenure this fall at McCook Community College.
Among the new faculty this semester, Dr. Leah Christensen is the new biology instructor, Layne Sarvela has been hired as the new chemistry faculty member, Courtney Johnston is the new sociology/criminal justice faculty member and Lisa Beans was hired to teach English.
Bobbi Barton takes over as the new Area Assistant Director of Student Success Centers for Mid-Plains Community College with her office located in von Riesen Library.
The coaches for all three women's sports are new this year including: Hayley Kobza, volleyball; Kellen Fernetti, basketball; Josh Barnes, softball.
Here's more about the new faculty/staff this year at MCC:
Dr. Leah Christensen grew up just outside Minneapolis, Minn., went to community college before transferring to the University of Minnesota, where she received her bachelor's degree in microbiology.
She went on to complete her biology doctorate at the University of Montana. Before MCC, she taught at Minnesota State University Moorhead and Argosy University.
She and her husband Kevin have been married for almost 13 years. They have three children Jack, 6; Caleb, 3; and Siobhan, 1.
In her free time she enjoys hiking, camping, gardening and cooking.
Layne Sarvela comes to McCook to teach chemistry and physical science after spending the last year managing science labs and teaching chemistry at Warner University in Lake Wales, Fla.
Prior to that she taught high school chemistry and advance placement chemistry in Boise, Idaho.
She earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, her chemistry masters from Texas A&M University, and teaching masters from the University of Alaska Southeast.
In her spare time she enjoys quilting, knitting, and traveling.
Courtney Johnston, is a Mid-Plains Community College alum and former basketball player at North Platte Community College. She grew up in a ranching community south of Brewster and attended high school at Sand Hills High School in Dunning.
She received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Chadron State College, a Master of Science degree in Psychology from Walden University (Minnesota), and is currently working on a Master of Arts degree in Sociology at Arizona State University.
She spent the past two years as an adjunct faculty member at MPCC.  She has previously been employed by Region II Human Services in North Platte, the Department of Labor in North Platte, and the District 11 and District 12 Probation offices in North Platte and Gering.
This fall she is teaching Introduction to Sociology, Issues of Unity and Diversity, Introduction to Criminal Justice, and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice.
In her spare time she enjoys yoga and running.
Lisa Beans, originally from Arnold, is teaching English this year at MCC.
She received her bachelor's from Nebraska Wesleyan University and her master's in creative writing from West Virginia University.
She has taught in Poland on a Fulbright Scholarship as well as at Louisiana State University and Nebraska Indian Tribal College.
Her poetry can be found in a variety of national journals including the Raleigh Review, Southeast Review, and Briar Cliff Review.
Bobbi Barton is the new Area Assistant Director of Student Success Centers for MPCC with her office located in von Riesen Library in McCook.
She comes from the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she was the Transfer Evaluation Coordinator for four years, working primarily with community college transfer students. Prior to UNK she spent eight years at Colby Community College in Kansas.
She received her bachelor's degree in organizational leadership from Fort Hays State University and her master's in academic advising from Kansas State University.
Bobbi is originally from northwest Kansas and is excited to be closer to family. She has three children: Jaycie (20), married to Derek; Dylan (18); Clayton (10); and a grandson Aiden (8 months).
Kellen Fernetti takes over the top spot for the MCC women's basketball team which set a school record last season going 29-4 record. Fernetti will continue his role as Assistant Housing Director for Brooks Hall.
He has been at MCC since 2012, when he began assistant coaching duties for the men's team. Before MCC, Fernetti was an assistant at William Woods University from 2010-2012 and Scioto West Prairie High School in Illinois 2005-2010.
"This job was a very attractive one to me because since I have been here, MCC has been a very competitive program on and off the court. This program has achieved great things in the classroom, and the players that have come through the program have represented MCC very well," he said.
Hayley Kobza, the North Platte native, joins MCC as volleyball coach and serves as Student Success Specialist.
She participated in rodeo and later played volleyball at Southwestern Oklahoma State University where she received her Master of Education in Sports Management. In addition she served as graduate assistant there before coaching high school volleyball at Weatherford, Okla.
At Ranger College in Ranger, Texas, she led the Lady Rangers to a 12-19 record in 2014 and coached the Stephenville Heat 15's and the Urban Volleyball Club 16's & 18's at the club level.
Josh Barnes, who was named Lady Indian softball coach in April begins his first full year at the helm. He is also an Area Enrollment Counselor for MCC.
Barnes, a Potter, Kansas, native, played baseball at the University of Saint Mary's in Leavenworth, Kan., where he was an outfielder and pitcher. During his playing career, Barnes was honored with KCAC Gold Gloves in 2010 and 2011, a second-team all-KCAC outfielder in 2010) and was selected to the all-NAIA gold glove team in 2011.
"Our goal will always be to have quality student athletes in the classroom, the community, and on the field," Barnes said. "I expect us to compete for the Region IX title year-in year-out and make a push to the NJCAA World Series."​

Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​​​