Chancellor-elect named at Seattle Community Colleges

SEATTLE – The Board of Trustees of the Seattle Community Colleges today named longtime Seattle educator Dr. Charles Mitchell as the next Chancellor of the District.

Mitchell will assume responsibilities on July 1, 2003, upon the retirement of the current Chancellor, Dr. Peter Ku.

Mitchell, a nationally recognized leader in higher education, has served as president of Seattle Central Community College since 1987. During that time, the college established a reputation for developing innovative curriculum and student services, which were acknowledged in a Time Magazine “College of the Year” Award in 2001. Mitchell has also been a leader in the civic arena and in working with business and industry to develop programming to match the needs of local employers and students training for the workforce.

The Chancellor is responsible for overall operations of the district, which educates 55,000 students at North Seattle Community College, Seattle Central Community College, South Seattle Community College, the Seattle Vocational Institute and five specialized training centers.

The Board conducted an internal search for candidates during Fall quarter. In making the announcement today, Trustee Chair Dorothy Hollingsworth noted that the decision of the five-member board was unanimous, and that Mitchell will serve on a 3-year contract. Board members all expressed their familiarity with Mitchell’s career of service in Seattle and commended his leadership skills, civic involvement and strong interest in equity throughout his career.

Mitchell thanked the Board for “their faith in my ability to continue the legacy of this great District,” and Chancellor Ku for “laying the groundwork for the future.” He acknowledged the “great faculty, staff and administrators in this District,” adding, “I don’t feel alone in the leadership position – I feel like we are all in this together.”

Mitchell grew up in Seattle and is a product of the city and state’s education system. He attended T.T. Minor Elementary School, Meany Junior High and Garfield High School, where he served as vice president of the student body. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, a master’s degree from Seattle University and a doctorate of education from Brigham Young University.

Prior to his appointment as Dean of Students at Seattle Central in 1981, Mitchell worked as Assistant to the Governor of Colorado and was Affirmative Action Administrator for the government of King County. He served as Minority Affairs Director at Seattle University and Director of the Northwest Assistance Center funded by the Education Department of Seattle University.

An active member of the community, Mitchell serves on the boards of Seattle University, the Seattle Foundation, Virginia Mason Board of Governors, UW Tyee Board of Advisors, Seattle Art Museum, and the Breakfast Group, a Seattle association of African-American men that provides services to youth and other community-based organizations. He is a member of the Downtown Seattle Rotary and was recently named “Father of the Year” by the Seattle Chapter of the American Diabetes Association.

Locally, regionally and nationally, Mitchell has served on several Boards, including the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), AACC Presidents’ Academy Executive Committee, Leadership Tomorrow of King County, Seattle Goodwill Games, King County United Way, King County Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Presidents’ Roundtable, and also as Commissioner of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.

Mitchell has received numerous awards recognizing his educational leadership nationally and statewide. They include the 2001 Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction; 1999 UW Minority Affairs Program Alumnus Award; 1997 UW Husky Legend Award; the Equity Award from the Trustees Association of Washington Community Colleges for his work to advance ethnic minorities in education; the Earl Norman Award for Outstanding Community College Administrator from the Washington State Administrators’ Association; and a Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

During his years at the University of Washington, Mitchell played football with the UW Huskies and was a member of the winning 1961 Rose Bowl team. He was inducted into the Husky Football Hall of Fame in 1992. After graduation from the UW, he played professional football for six years with the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills.

Mitchell will be the 16th Chancellor in the history of the District, the largest two-year system in the state. He will take over from Dr. Peter Ku, who has led the district since 1998, and who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Charles and his wife, Nancy, have two grown children, Julie and Rashad, and two twin granddaughters, Michelle and Tracey.