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Communities of Excellence 2026 Blogs

If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place.

Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest updates.

COE 2026 Welcomes a new Board Member

We are pleased to welcome Darin Attebury as our newest addition to the Communities of Excellence 2026 Board. Darin is the City Manager for the City of Fort Collins, Colorado; a 2017 National Baldrige Quality Award recipient. As City Manager, Darin has led the City government through a time of transformational change, moving the organization from a "trust us" model to one that uses a data-driven, performance-based approach. Darin is an advocate for community collaboration and has built strong relationships with both public and private sector partners.

“Commitment to our community is my core belief, and happens to be the core competency for the City of Fort Collins. The idea of Communities of Excellence, where various sectors, the public, enterprise, and government work together to co-create an environment where we all want to live, greatly inspires me. I look forward to being part of this impactful movement.”

From COE 2026 Board Chair Lowell Kruse, “Fort Collins is such a wonderful example of a community that is passionate about quality and serving its citizens. Darin's leadership in pursuing a culture of excellence has been truly remarkable. We welcome him to our board to help advance the communities of excellence vision.”

Welcome to the Board Darin! You can read more about Darin and all our Board members, including their bios on our Board Member webpage: http://communitiesofexcellence2026.org/who-we-are/staff.html

I am very pleased to announce the first formal update of the Communities of Excellence Framework. Through our experience over the past year with the National Learning Collaborative, individual meetings with community leaders, and the thoughtful input of our many volunteers and supporters, we’ve made some important changes that I believe will the positively impact the efforts of the communities that use this framework.

The majority of the changes will be found in the Community Profile, where we’ve clarified the difference between the community at large and the community excellence group that is undertaking this effort on behalf of the community. Throughout the rest of the framework you will see updates that reflect this new language and other small changes of clarification.

You can view the updated Communities of Excellence Framework on our website: http://communitiesofexcellence2026.org/what-we-do/framework-agreement-page.html

Stephanie Norling
Director, Communities of Excellence 2026