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Chemeketa president Cheryl Roberts may be headed to a new job

Update: Cheryl Roberts accepts offer, details to come in the next edition.

Cheryl Roberts, President of Chemeketa Community College

Cheryl Roberts, President of Chemeketa Community College

By Matthew Skog

In a notice sent out to all staff members on April 16, Chemeketa president Cheryl Roberts confirmed that she was the last remaining candidate for the presidency of Washington state’s Shoreline Community College.

“I realize as my interview process comes to its conclusion, it may cause increased uncertainty,” Roberts said in the email to staff members. “Let me assure you the college will continue moving forward.”

While she is the only candidate being considered at this time, Roberts had not yet been offered the job officially at the time that the Courier went to press.

A team from Shoreline visited Chemeketa on Friday, April 18. According to Shoreline’s website,
Board of Trustees chairman Shoubee Liaw was accompanied by vice-chairman Tayloe Washburn; Faculty Senate President Kira Wennstrom, the faculty senate president; and Don Schultz, the special assistant to the president.

The visit included interviews with Chemeketa officials, as well as political, business, and community leaders in Salem, and meetings with Roberts.

Roberts ended her email by voicing her appreciation to staff members for their understanding.

“Words cannot adequately express how profoundly grateful I am to you and can only say, ‘thank you’ for now as we journey through this process,” she said.

Despite the potential shake-up in leadership at the top, Ed Dodson, the Board of Education chairman, said he did not believe that students had reason for concern.

“Students should not worry about this change in leadership, if it should occur,” he said. “The Chemeketa board and executive staff have successfully filled presidential vacancies in the past and will do so again.

“If Cheryl is offered and accepts the Shoreline presidency, the board will discuss the process and timelines needed to select a new president. We will more than likely use an interim for some time period to be determined.

“We would want this change in leadership to have no negative impact on students as they work to complete their certificates and degrees, nor on staff and faculty and their work with students.”

Dodson also expressed his appreciation for Roberts and the work she has done at Chemeketa during the past seven years.

“The Board is sorry to see Cheryl leave the college, if that becomes her decision, but we wish her the best. We know that she will provide successful experiences and outcomes for the students, staff, and faculty at Shoreline Community College, as she has for Chemeketa.

Andrew Bone, Chemeketa’s executive dean, said, “Naturally, I am excited for President Roberts.  She is from Seattle and has her family there. She has worked in community colleges most of her career and could bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Shoreline Community college.”

Shoreline is about 10 miles north of downtown Seattle.

Bone also expressed confidence that Chemeketa would successfully navigate a change in direction at the top, should Roberts be offered the Shoreline job.

“Chemeketa is a large and complex organization,” he said. “The job of the president requires an internal and external focus and usually doesn’t directly impact students. Cheryl has created an environment where the college doesn’t rely on one person.”

Roberts didn’t come to the decision to enter the presidential race at Shoreline lightly.

“Chemeketa is a special place to me,” Roberts said. “If I leave, it’ll be with mixed emotions; my family is in Seattle. But I leave knowing that Chemeketa will thrive and flourish. Our students, faculty, and community deserve no less.”

Shoreline is expected to make a decision within the next two weeks. You can find information about the college’s search by visiting its website:


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