The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday, Nov. 17 to appoint Kathryn E. Jeffery, PhD, as the new Superintendent and President of Santa Monica College (SMC). Jeffery is currently president at Sacramento City College (SCC) and brings more than three decades of higher education experience to the role of SMC’s Chief Executive Officer.
Jeffery succeeds Chui L. Tsang who retired in June. A start date is being negotiated and it is expected that she will step into her new role in the spring of 2016. Jeffery Shimizu – who has been serving as SMC’s Interim President while the search was being conducted – will continue to fill the role until she steps in.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Dr. Jeffery accepted our offer to be Santa Monica College’s new president,” said Rob Rader, Chair of the SMC Board of Trustees. “She is a passionate, creative and inspirational leader – one who has proven over her prolific career to be a true advocate for students. Her leadership will take SMC to new pinnacles of excellence, as we continue to provide the highest quality of education possible for all of our students. I am proud to welcome her to the SMC family.”
Jeffery served as President of Hennepin Technical College in Minnesota; Provost/Chief Campus Administrator at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas; Vice President of Columbia College in the Yosemite Community College District; and as Dean for Faculty and Staff Diversity/Development and Dean for Student Services at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
“I am delighted that the SMC Board of Trustees has confidence in my ability to weave my leadership experience and dedication into the environment of teaching and learning excellence that is at the heart of Santa Monica College,” said Jeffery. “I greatly look forward to joining SMC’s team of amazing faculty, staff and administrators – the energy of this college is exhilarating and I am confident that together, we will help all students reach their highest potential.”
Over her thirty-nine career in higher education, Jeffery has championed the development of community college curriculum, programs, and services that promote student access, persistence, and achievement. She also led the development of programs that support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education at Hennepin Technical College, and SCC; and the development of a bachelor’s degree program at the College of Southern Nevada.
Before becoming an administrator, Jeffery taught for over 20 years, in roles including a full-time faculty position in SCC’s Counseling department, and as an adjunct professor in the Humanities and Fine Arts Division. She was also adjunct professor of graduate studies in Educational Leadership at Drexel University in Sacramento, California State University, Stanislaus, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Jeffery holds a PhD in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Community College Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Studies in Education (Counseling) from Oklahoma State University (OSU), and a Bachelor of Music Education with a major in piano and minor in voice, also from OSU.
Her involvement on professional and community boards is extensive – Jeffery serves on the Board of Directors for the California Community College Athletics Association, and the CEO Board of the President’s Round Table, and is Vice President of the Board for West Sacramento Early College Preparatory Charter School. She has served on the Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development appointed by the American Association of Community Colleges. Jeffery was also appointed to a U.S. Department of Education task force charged with reviewing the role of technical education.
Santa Monica College is a two-year community college accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). It is the leader among California’s 113 community colleges in transfers to the University of California, serving around 34,000 students and offering over 90 fields of study. In May, SMC was also approved to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Interaction Design to help fulfill California’s unmet workforce needs in fields of high demand.
Founded in 1929, SMC is the leading job trainer in Los Angeles’s Westside, provides lifelong learning through distinctive programs such as its Emeritus College for older adults, and also delivers cultural enrichment through its world-renowned NPR radio station KCRW (89.9 FM), and the Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center.