The winner: former candidate and now upcoming SMC President Kathryn Jeffery
At five p.m. on Friday the 13th, the final of the four candidates for superintendent/president of Santa Monica College to present their case at the main stage of the theater arts building was Kathryn Jeffery. She is currently the president of Sacramento City College in the state’s capitol, and has served at a number of other colleges throughout this and other states. “My experience is broad, as well as deep. I've been in higher education for nearly 40 years, but I started very early in life in this work,” said Jeffery about her time spent working her way up the ladder from assisting at a dorm in student housing all the way to a city college president in the state capitol. “And I have many more years to contribute to the field of higher education and to continue to contribute to building communities and serving the diverse needs of our student populations."
Jeffery preferred to let her record speak for itself during the meeting, often referring to other projects she had completed at prior institutions, as well as the sheer number of institutions she had worked at. It was a very long resume indeed, going from being a Counselor at Sacramento City College to Vice President of Colombia City College in Yosemite, to president of a technical college in Minnesota and finally back to Sacramento City College as president.
“I have been privileged enough to serve in a variety of different settings,” Jeffery said. “Multi-campus colleges. Multi-college districts. So this has given me a view of higher education from a variety of different vantage points.”
Jeffery proved to be honest to the point of bluntness at points during the talk. First, when asked as to why she wanted the position, she simply stated, “I think I'm at a good point in my career to make a transition.” Later, her honesty resurfaced about how she would adapt to the situation at SMC, sparking a laugh among the audience, “You don't really know how to do the job until you're doing the job - so you have to hire me so I can know how to do it.”
During the talk, she presented a number of examples of how she had addressed various issues at her time at Sacramento City College. First, on dealing with smoking regulations by creating a series of attractive Designated Smoking Areas to maintain socialization and then how to promote equity in STEM fields by ensuring the link to jobs was made clear in students’ minds.
Finally she ended with another moment of pure honesty, “For some reason this position resonates with me. When I read the job description I felt like this was where I was supposed to be. This is the type of position that my career has prepared me to do.”