As we prepare for the summer to come to an end and a new semester to begin, I am excited to step into the role of President of the Colorado Community College System.
For those of you who do not know much about me, I have been a supporter of education at all levels, from early childhood education to college and beyond, for my entire professional career. I have worked within K-12 systems and both two-year and four-year institutions with a special focus on improving preparation for and access to higher education for students from all backgrounds, and to increase community and financial support for public education.
While I see immense value in all forms of higher education, I have long believed community colleges are the key to reaching students who may not otherwise have access to higher education opportunities. Community colleges can target the diverse and unique needs of the communities across our state and provide pathways to success in the workforce that may otherwise not be attainable. I have been a community college student myself (Northern Virginia Community College) and I have taught as an adjunct at PPCC, where my son was also a student.
Many of you may also know that from 2011 to 2016 I served as Lt. Governor of Colorado, as well as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. My primary focus during that time was on increasing equity in outcomes for all students, primarily those from low-income backgrounds and communities of color. I continue to seek opportunities for leveling the playing field when it comes to access to education, and I look forward to working with all of you to open even more doors to opportunity in my new role with CCCS.
For the last two years, I have had the pleasure of bringing my experience to the regional level as President of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). And, before serving as Lt. Governor, I held the positions of President of Colorado State University – Pueblo (2006 – 2010) and President of Pikes Peak Community College (2001 – 2006). I am thrilled to be returning to our community colleges and refocusing my efforts in communities across our state.
As I settle into this new role, you can expect to see me on your campus, getting to know staff, faculty, students and the local communities that support our colleges and benefit from our graduates in their workforce. I look forward to working alongside each of you in making our state’s community college system a model for increasing access to higher education and for students finding success in their academic and career journey.