Warden tapped for Vermont higher education leadership award


Deb Bouton

Margo Warden

Director of First-Year Experience Margo Warden has been named this year’s recipient of the Jackie Gribbons Leadership Award.


Presented annually by the Vermont Women in Higher Education (VWHE), this award honors exemplary service in education. In a letter to the JSC community, JSC President Elaine Collins noted the award “goes to a woman who has demonstrated leadership ability, served as a model and mentor, developed innovative programs, and contributed significantly to her campus and profession. It is a presigigious honor that serves to recognize Margo’s enormous contributions to the First-Year Experience program, which was also commended by NEASC in 2017 reaccreditation report.”


Vermont Women in Higher Education will honor Warden at a dinner reception on Oct. 25 beginning at 4:30 p.m.


Collins encouraged members of the JSC community to attend. “Please join me for this momentous event to show your support for Margo’s achievement as a leader, mentor, and innovator at Johnson State College.”


In a letter recommending her for the award, Professor of Behavioral Sciences Gina Mireault stressed the crucial leadership Warden has played at the college: “Her ability to identify a critical need, develop strategies to address it, and most importantly, corral all constituencies to work toward it is the essence of leadership. Margo is a true and tireless torchbearer in this regard, and faculty, staff, students and administrators look to her for insight and energy when facing the mostimportant challenges.”


Mireault went on to highlight Warden’s empathic ability to connect with students noting that “Among Margo’s many assets is her willingness and ability to authentically connect with students, making them feel at ease and cared for while also holding them accountable and challenging them to grow. This combination of challenge and support increases their self-confidence, pushes them to persist, and provides the space for them to make positive change in their lives.


“She isn’t simply there, she’s there – dining with them, conferring with them over everything from schedules to sleeplessness, cheering for them at athletic events, consoling them after defeat and urging them “onward!” – the cheer she’s known for using at the close of an email or note.


Warden views the award as a validation of the entire JSC community, especially of her colleagues and friends.


“I am deeply honored to receive the Jackie M. Gribbons Award,” Warden said in a Basement Medicine email interview. “I believe I was given this award on behalf of all of my JSC colleagues and friends involved in the important work of creating and sustaining a purposeful and caring community. This award is a challenge to keep moving forward creating, sustaining, and nurturing the relationships that make this campus so unique and special. Onward!”