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President Roberts is offered Shoreline job and accepts position

President_Cheryl_Roberts_April 28, 2014

By Matthew Skog – Photo by Brad Bakke

A change in leadership is coming to Chemeketa.

Late Monday night, Shoreline Community College’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to offer Cheryl Roberts, Chemeketa’s current president, its top job.

Roberts announced her decision to accept the Shoreline position in an email to Chemeketa faculty sent out early last week.

“I accept their decision with mixed feelings as I now have an opportunity to return home to my Seattle-area family, yet have to face the reality of saying farewell,” Roberts said.

After expressing her gratitude toward faculty members for their understanding, Roberts offered assurances that life at Chemeketa will go on.

“I will remain fully engaged in my duties during this period of transition,” she said. “Our attention must remain focused on the everyday needs of our students, and I remain grateful for all you do in their service.”

Traci Hodgson, the president of the Chemeketa Faculty Association, said the change would be good for both Chemeketa and for Roberts.

“The Chemeketa Faculty Association is happy for Cheryl,” Hodgson said. “Faculty members know that Cheryl has family in the Seattle area and has been wanting to move where she could be closer to them.

“She applied to another Seattle-area college a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t the right fit. So we’re happy for her that she has this opportunity. “In the selection of a new president at Chemeketa, most faculty are looking forward to the selection of someone from outside the Chemeketa community who could potentially infuse new ideas and new energy into the college in a positive way, just as President Cheryl did when she came to Chemeketa from Lane seven years ago.”

Milo Frazier, the Programs Coordinator of student government, said he was looking forward to seeing what the next year would bring.

“I’m happy for her, but it’s definitely going to be an interesting transition next year,” Frazier said.

“I’m confident, though, that Chemeketa will be able to continue its excellence in her absence.” Wilma Soriano, a second-year student at Chemeketa, supports Roberts’s decision.

“It’s her career, and I’m excited for her,” Soriano said. “Hopefully, new challenges and new excitement will be there for her. I’m rooting for her.”

While Roberts is looking forward to returning to Seattle, she said that the thought of leaving Chemeketa was bittersweet.

“There hasn’t been a day since the decision where I haven’t driven into campus and been really emotional, knowing that I only have a few more weeks left here,” Roberts said. “Chemeketa is very special to me.

“This is my first presidency; the people here put a lot of faith in me. Because I hadn’t been a president before, I really had to grow into the job, but I was able to because I had a lot of people supporting me.

“I’ve been here for seven years now. We’ve been through some tough things, things that brought us together as a campus. We’ve had joyous occasions – the opening of buildings, student’s graduations. You end up building a sense of camaraderie and purpose, and that will be difficult to leave behind.

“I feel like Chemeketa is in a good place right now. As my dad would say, ‘You always want to leave a place having given your best,’ and I feel like every day I came to Chemeketa wanting to do my best.”

Jeannie Odle, an Executive Coordinator for the President’s Office, said, “I know that Cheryl will do great things for Shoreline as she has done here at Chemeketa. She will be missed, but being with her family is so important, and I wish her the best.”

Roberts wants students to know that even in her absence, they’re in good hands.

“The world is here at Chemeketa. I hope students will take advantage of all that Chemeketa has to offer,” she said. “Yes, I’m moving on, but Chemeketa has an incredible history and a rich tradition of academic excellence, and it will continue.

“Chemeketa – yes, it’s a place – but Chemeketa is really about the people. And there are over 2,200 people who are going to continue to focus on students being successful.

“Our focus has always been on how we can create the best conditions for students to learn and for quality teaching to happen. I’m confident that as they consider the next president of Chemeketa, they will find someone who will champion those big ideas, as I have.”

A special meeting of the Chemeketa Board of Education is set for April 29. The board is expected to discuss timelines for searching for a new president and also may appoint an interim president.

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