President of WWCC since 2016
Most important part of the job?
Interacting with our students. I consider it important that they see me, and see that I care about what’s going on with their education. And the community really counts on this college, as they have done for the past 50 years, so it’s important for people to know that we will be here for the next 50 years and continue to be a cornerstone of our community.
A lot of my focus is on solving our budget challenges, with our shrinking funding from the state. We’re thinking of creative ways to deal with that, like the new Bachelor’s programs, the new criminal justice program, and the international program, where we can appeal to a new group of students.
People should know?
About the breadth of our programs, that we’re a comprehensive college. We have not just workforce programs that lead directly to employment, but also the transfer program from which students go on to a four-year college, and programs for high school students. Those are our three mission areas.
As a child and young adult I really struggled. I had to work three or four times harder than my peers, because I’m dyslexic. Fortunately, I was able to get special help with that, but I never thought of myself as a person that would go on beyond my Bachelor’s degree. When WSU offered me a graduate assistantship, I found myself in graduate-level classes and I had to stop freaking out about whether I belonged there or not. That’s why I love working in community colleges. There are so many students who have had experiences similar to mine, with the lack of self-confidence that goes along with all that. And here they realize they can succeed, and I get excited to be part of that. And hopefully now they can see themselves being lifelong learners.
Chamber of Commerce and Sunrise Rotary, but I would like to do more community service.
Gardening and reading. I usually read three books at a time, currently it’s Sherman Alexie’s memoir, a book on leadership, and for fun something by James Patterson or Clive Cussler.
My wife Cate, who’s on the YWCA Board and is president of the Walla Walla Pickleball Association, and our 6th grader Dawson, who volunteers at the Humane Society.