Carroll Community College Bids Farewell to Karen Merkle Appoints Libby Trostle Vice President Continuing Education & Training

Release Date
Trish McCarthy Carroll, Public & Corporate Relations Officer, Carroll Community College, Work: 410-386-8184
Press Release

Westminster, Md., Monday, December 17, 2018—Carroll Community College (Carroll) announces the retirement of Karen Merkle, vice president continuing education & training, after 31 years of distinguished service at the College. Carroll’s senior director corporate services and workforce development, Libby Trostle, has been appointed to and will assume the vice president role on January 1, 2019. 

“Karen’s superb leadership and dedication to forging strong partnerships around the county and surrounding region have been invaluable to the College and the community we serve,” stated James D. Ball president of Carroll Community College. “She has been instrumental in helping the College grow over the last three decades, and she led the way in creating new workforce development programs, business training and lifelong learning opportunities for all ages. We will miss her greatly as a colleague and friend. I wish her much happiness in her retirement.”

Merkle served under all three presidents of Carroll Community College and was the driving force behind the College’s non-credit instructional offerings and programs designed to meet the workforce development, professional development and personal enrichment needs of individuals, businesses and organizations. She launched new programs including first in the State signature programs: East Coast Animal Control Academy, Veterinary Assistant Training, Unmanned Aerial Flight Certifications and over 30 Workforce Training Certificate programs leading to industry certifications and licensure and employment.

Merkle expanded the College’s business training and entrepreneurial services through AdVantage C Corporate Training and Services, and Miller Resources for Entrepreneurs respectively. She oversaw the off-campus grant funded programs including the Community Mediation Center and Adult  Education programs, and provided the County’s littlest learners experiential learning opportunities through Summerkids@Carroll+TeenCollege. 

Under her leadership, the continuing education team created robust lifelong learning offerings and personal enrichment classes for all ages including programs in the humanities and arts, outdoor adventure, cooking and more.

“Carroll’s presidents and Board of Trustees always understood and appreciated what continuing education provided to a comprehensive community college program in a tightknit community.  From the very beginning continuing education was a vital component of the educational offerings to the community, helping students meet different goals from the academic programs but just as important” said Merkle. “I am so proud of the accomplishments realized by the whole continuing education staff. They have always been creative, energetic, tenacious and entrepreneurial. We were always creating something new. I always had the great pleasure of working with doers.”

“In 1976, Merkle was among the small group of faculty and staff who first opened the doors of Carroll Community College  at the old Robert Moton School. At that time Carroll was the branch campus of Catonsville Community College, now CCBC, unitl 1992.  Reflecting on those earliest years at Carroll Community College, Merkle mused, “We were a band of pioneers. We were starting a new college for the Carroll County community. Most of the students were older. They were returning students because they never had that opportunity to get a college degree. The College was very small and everybody who worked at the College could probably fit into half of a current classroom. It was a real community.”

“When I think about 30 years, in many ways it’s a big blur,” said Merkle. “But every year we were planning a building, building a building, moving into a building and of course building new programs. So that’s where 31 years went. Like a flash! It was always exciting. It was never got boring and never got dull. And that’s why I stayed. There was always something new, always something to look forward to or to be done. Every single thing was another first.”

Merkle chose to live in Carroll County 30 years ago because “it was a county trying to grow and emerge. Everyone in the County works so well together, and I liked the ease around everyone working together for the common good of the county. You could pick up the phone and call someone to make things happen. It still works that way. I stayed because I love our community. It’s hard to put it into words, but the College has become a significant part of the fabric of my life. I will miss the people I worked with most.”   

Merkle who grew up in Woodstock, MD received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and received her Masters of Arts in Health Education from University of Maryland, College Park. Merkle gained graduated studies in Community Health, Counseling and Ethics from Johns Hopkins University, Towson State University and St. Mary’s University Ecumenical Institute. She was inducted into the Western Maryland College and Glenelg High School Sports Hall of Fame. 

Merkle and her staff forged key partnerships with many businesses throughout the County including the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Carroll County Public Libarary, Department of Economic Development, the Businesss and Employment Resource Center (BERC), the Career and Technology Center, Carroll Tech Council, MAGIC, the Small Business Development Center, and Carroll Hospital, a LifeBridge Health center.

Merkle’s professional affiliations included: Maryland Community College Association for Continuing Education and Training, Mid-Maryland Workforce Development Board, National Council on Continuing Education and Training, Carroll County Economic Development Commission, Target, Inc., and the Carroll County Environmental Advisory Counsil.  

Carroll’s Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Libby Trostle as Carroll’s new vice president of continuing education & training during their Board meeting on November 14, 2019. “Recommending the appointment of Libby Trostle to the Board was the natural choice. She has played a vital role in developing and implementing continuing education’s strategic priorities and the expansion of workforce development programs over the last seven years,” stated Ball. “Libby is a native Carroll Countian so she knows the community well. She is an energetic and collaborative leader with strong working relationships within the College and within the local and regional business community. I have every confidence she will step into her new role with ease and will keep our students and business partners at the forefront of every decision.”

“I am very excited about joining Carroll’s executive team. I feel my background and experience in continuing education training has prepared me well, and I can’t thank Karen Merkle enough for her mentorship and guidance over the years,” said Trostle. “Karen was always approachable and wanted the best for her team. She was supportive of new ideas, encouraged us to take calculated risks, involved us in the strategic planning process and empowered us to make decisions. I have big shoes to fill. I will miss her dearly.”

Going forward Trostle has “plans to build on the strong foundation Karen Merkle created, while intensifying collaboration efforts between the credit and non-credit divisions of the College to ensure the overall needs of our students are not only met but exceeded. I am also looking forward to working with the whole CET team to create a shared vision for enhancing our customer service efforts, increasing our engagement with the business community, getting eligible students connected to Maryland’s new workforce development sequence scholarship funding and developing new workforce development programs that meet employer needs and those critical to the future economic health of Carroll County and the surrounding region.”   

Trostle holds a Master’s in Business Administration and a graduate certificate in Organizational Development from Mt. Saint Mary’s University. She earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Human Resources Management, from the University of Notre Dame of Baltimore. She is certified as a Senior Human Resource Professional (SPHR) from HRCI, as well as a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Trostle is  a member of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges’ Continuing Education and Training (MCCACET) advisory group. She is currently the liaison to the Maryland WorkSmart Advisory Group for MCCACET helping to foster statewide community college collaboration to meet regional employers’ training needs.

Trostle has more than 20 years experience in adult education and is well versed in adult learning principles, needs assessment, instructional design and development, and program marketing. Her professional and civic affiliations present and past include: Target Community & Educational Services Board of Trustees, Westminster Rotary, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Carroll County SHRM, Carroll Child Care Center Board of Trustees, and Rape Crisis Intervention Services of Carroll County Board of Trustees. 

Trostle and her husband Brad have three grown children and six grandchildren ranging in age from four months to seven years. They are Airstream enthusiasts and like to travel and blog about their travels. In addition, Trostle is an a FAA licensed commercial drone pilot and is currently completing the Workforce Training Certificate for Commercial UAS (Drone) Pilot at Carroll Community College.



Carroll Community College’s mission is Empowering learners. Changing lives. Building community. Carroll Community College (Carroll) provides accessible, high-quality educational opportunities to advance careers, enrich lives, and strengthen the community we serve. Carroll offers academic and career preparation leading to transfer to four-year colleges and universities, and for direct entry into professional opportunities. Personalized learning, small class size, individualized attention from expert faculty, affordability, a convenient location, and customized training and services to the business community all make Carroll a popular choice. Since 1993, the College has served more than 135,000 students of all ages and backgrounds. Carroll Community College is located at 1601 Washington Road, Westminster, Md., 21157. Visit us on our website at