Job description: Serves as chief executive officer of Phoenix College and as the responsible agent for the total operation of the college within the policies and procedures directed by the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board or Chancellor.
Time on the job: 4 years at PC and 33 years as an employee of the Maricopa Community Colleges
Education: B.A. and M.A. in Special Education and Ed.D. in Higher and Adult Education from Arizona State University
Honors: Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Outstanding Employee, 1999; Maricopa Community Colleges Women’s Leadership Group/Estrella Mountain Community College, Outstanding Woman Leader, 1999; Latinas Celebrating Latinas Recognition, 2006; Teacher Education Partnership Commission, Gold Star Award, 2007.
Life lessons learned on the job: “I work in a very challenging environment and each day is a new day. I do my best to ‘walk the talk’ and to live the PC values of engagement, excellence, innovation, integrity, respect and stewardship. I love coming to work each day knowing that Phoenix College positively impacts the lives of our students and community members and assists them in the achievement of their personal, educational, and professional goals. Given that I work in an institution dedicated to teaching, learning, and student success, I do my best to learn something new each day.”
Proudest career accomplishment: “One of the highlights of my career was the completion of my doctorate. My family provided tremendous support to me during my educational journey as did my colleagues at MCCD. As a result of my educational pursuits, my children were motivated to complete their college degrees and my oldest daughter is currently completing her doctorate at NAU. I was also honored when I was asked by Chancellor Rufus Glasper to provide executive leadership at Phoenix College.”
Best career advice: “Dr. Raul Cardenas, President Emeritus of South Mountain Community College, advised me to believe in myself and to surround myself with the best employees possible. In addition, he encouraged me to complete a doctorate and to participate in extensive leadership opportunities that included committee assignments, leadership development programs, new job opportunities, and community partnerships. I realize that I do not need to know everything but I do need to know how to involve our stellar faculty and staff and community partners in making visionary decisions for PC.”
Mentors: “I have been fortunate to have experienced outstanding role models including my parents, Carlos and Carmen, who were never able to attend college but encouraged my siblings and myself to attend college, to work hard, celebrate our culture, and give back to the community.
What will be the effect of higher tuition costs at four-year institutions on the community college system?
“Community colleges are definitely seeing an influx of students that have been affected by the downturn of the economy and the rising cost of university tuition. At Phoenix College, the rise in enrollment has been reflected not only in the number of students attending but also in the number of classes that students are taking. PC along with the Maricopa Community Colleges are the largest providers of job training in Arizona. Even through the toughest economic times, community colleges remain committed to their mission of providing the community with a quality education at an affordable price.”