Meet Rachelle McGinnis, new leader of Continuing Education

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 1.23.29 PMWhat should you look for in a Continuing Education program manager/developer? Experience with just about every facet of higher education and a passion for teaching the entire community seem like a good start, and Rachelle McGinnis easily fills that bill.

“Continuing education is a vital service to the community — I think it’s good for everyone from individuals to groups and businesses,” McGinnis says.

“I like that continuing education involves both personal and professional enrichments,” she adds. “Lots of people already have degrees but need certificates in certain programs. And on the personal side, people need things like art and dance to look forward to every week. It’s a nice balance for the community.”

Yet taking the job here is more than a match of passions for McGinnis — it’s also a homecoming for the 1997 Pierce graduate, who also holds a BA in Communications from Pacific Lutheran University and an MA in Organizational Leadership with Chapman University.

After her student days at Pierce ended, she worked five years at Bates Technical College as special assistant to the president and interim executive director of the foundation. She then moved to Ellensburg for two years while working for Central Washington University.

Back on the west side of the mountains, she added a range of jobs to her résumé: program manager for the School of Business at City University, associate dean of continuing education and apprenticeship back at Bates, and then two years with ITT Institute in Seattle.

But even as McGinnis enjoyed the variety and excitement of her diverse jobs, the South Sound called to her.

“I have worked for private, public and proprietary organizations, in two-year and four-year settings, and I’ve gotten to see all aspects of higher education,” she explains.

“But I came to work at Pierce College — and I live in Puyallup now — because I wanted to stay connected with my roots in Pierce County. It’s my personal and professional home, and I’m looking forward to a long-term career at Pierce College,” McGinnis says.

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