Posted: Sep 11, 2013 6:47 AM by Jacqueline Quynh - KPAX News
Updated: Sep 11, 2013 8:12 AM
MISSOULA - Ever since the controversy over statements made about University of Montana football players blocked former Congressman Pat Williams from a seat to the Board of Regents, the process to find a new candidate has been put under a microscope.
Governor Steve Bullock's most recent appointment to the board is already a familiar face in the community, and she's expected to shine. Some students at UM may already recognize the name Fran Albrecht, but she's also well known off campus for her community involvement.
The Watson Children's Shelter is where Fran Albrecht has called her home for the last 16 years.
"On a day to day basis whether, I'm in a meeting or I'm trying to support the development of our programs, one of my favorite things is spending time with the kids, sitting down, reading book, helping somebody to dress their dolly," Albrecht explained.
The shelter, where Albrecht serves as executive director, is a safe haven for children in crisis.
"Working with Fran has been very wonderful. She has been very visionary, and very positive," Watson Children's Shelter Community Director Juliette Olejnik said.
Albrecht's passion to help young people will now go beyond the Missoula community as she will serve as a volunteer member of the Board of Regents.
"I am so grateful, that they identified me as a candidate and honored by that, and felt that my skills would really contribute to the board," Albrecht told us
She'll have a hand in reviewing items including budgets, tuition, promotions and construction projects in her new role. Albrecht told us she'll be drawing from her past experiences to lead.
"It's my hope as a leader as an executive director through my involvement on a lot of different community boards et cetera that I will have the ability to look at the issues in a fair way," she explained.
"Also, serving as an adjust instructor at the University of Montana I have a deep appreciation for the challenges that students experience," Albrecht added.
She also wants to make sure that Montana's university - as well as the two year system are accessible and competitive.
"We are in an opportune time to make some great progress to really attract students from all over to see that we will see enrollment increase," Albrecht said.
One of her biggest priorities will be deciding on a new location for Missoula College. It's a subject where she's still looking over all the details, and says she's ready to get started.
Albrecht says she will continue to serve as the head of the Watson Children's Shelter as she serves as a regent.