The dean of Mineral Area College’s Arts & Sciences Division, Kay Crecelius, is retiring. She is the community college’s chief academic officer and has taught English for more than two decades.
Crecelius, who lives in Farmington, came to Mineral Area College as an adjunct instructor in 1989, becoming a full-time instructor in 1997. In 2006, when Dr. Steve Kurtz became president, she stepped into his former role, becoming the college’s dean of the Arts & Sciences Division.
She began a relationship with the community college field when she became a student at Moberly Junior College in Moberly, Missouri. She went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education, majoring in English and minoring in French. She has a lifetime teaching certification in grades 7-12 from University of Missouri-Columbia. She earned a master’s degree in English from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman University) in Kirksville, and pursued post-graduate studies at University of Missouri-Columbia, Webster University and Southeast Missouri State University.
Before teaching at MAC, Crecelius taught English and history classes at Antioch Junior High School in Gladstone, part of the North Kansas City School District. She also taught English at Ladue Junior High School in St. Louis County, part of the Ladue School District. From 1985-2013, she was both a teacher and the business and office manager for her husband, Dr. Norman D. Crecelius.
She is a past chair and member of the board for the Howard Park School for Developmentally Delayed Children (St. Louis). She was on the Advisory Committee for Audiology and Speech Pathology for the State Board of Healing Arts; a founding member, board member and director for Mineral Area Hospice (now Serenity Care), and she held state positions of vice-chair and budget director for the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. Currently, she is a member of Missouri Community College Association, and is a former chair but still a current member of MCCA’s Chief Academic Officer group.
Crecelius said one of the bright spots about her career has been seeing the changes that have occurred during her tenure as dean.
“The departments I oversee have grown by leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, thanks to the continuous efforts of the veteran instructors I ‘inherited’ when I took this position and thanks to the talent of the new instructors I’ve been instrumental in hiring,” she said. “Our department chairs and supervisors are second to none. They’re smart and knowledgeable departmental managers, and they make my job easy—or at least, easier!”
She indicated that, while she won’t miss the long hours, concerns and stress that come with the position, she’ll miss the people at MAC the most.
“I’ll miss the daily contact with my office staff, Lisa Johnson and Sara Briggs. They are the ultimate professionals and just down-right decent – and often very funny – human beings,” she said. “I’ll also miss the personal contacts I have almost every day with the faculty, staff, other administrators, and students. It makes my day when I work various students through their academic—and sometimes, personal—issues and then see them walk across the stage at commencement.”
In retirement, Crecelius said she plans to slow down, but she still plans to teach a couple of English composition classes this fall. She said she’s looking forward to spending time at home with husband Norm, working in the yard, doing lots of reading and tackling jigsaw puzzles.
She hopes to continue to squeeze in church and civic groups. She is a member of a book club that’s been meeting bi-monthly since about 1994, participates in the Theta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma which is a sorority for women educators, and is an active member of St. Vincent’s in the Vineyard (Episcopal Church), located on the grounds of Chaumette Winery.
She’s also looking forward to spending more quality time with family, which, in addition to her husband of 43 years, Norman, includes son Hogan, his wife, Bridget, and two grandsons who are in Jonesboro, Arkansas; son Andy and wife Julie of Modesto, California; and son Ryan of St. Louis.
“I really enjoy time with my nieces and nephew and my sons and their families,” she said. “They’ve fully supported me and have had to work around my schedule the past 10 years; now it’s my time to be available.”