Chemeketa board chooses Jessica Howard as college’s next president

Jessica Howard will be the 11th president of Chemeketa Community College (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

A Portland Community College administrator will be Chemeketa Community College’s next president, the college board announced Monday.

Jessica Howard, who currently serves as campus president for Portland Community College’s southeast campus, has accepted a job offer pending contract negotiations, which should be completed in about a week, Chemeketa spokeswoman Nancy Duncan said.

“Her proven leadership and personal dedication to student success, access and inclusion for all students, makes her a perfect match for Chemeketa,” Chemeketa board president Neva Hutchinson said in a statement. “It was clear from the feedback that we received from the community, faculty, and staff that Dr. Howard is the right person to lead us as we enter the next chapter of Chemeketa’s history.” 

Howard’s academic background is in English, music and the humanities. She attended San Antonio College for her associate’s degree, and later taught at that campus before eventually becoming vice president of academic affairs.

At Portland, she has led the college’s workforce and community development efforts and co-chairs a program to increase student success through better advising and supporting transfer students.

Howard grew up mostly in San Antonio, but was born in Mumbai, India and spent some of her childhood in Bangkok, Thailand.

Outgoing President Julie Huckestein is retiring July 7, 2019. Howard will assume office the following day.

Howard was selected from among four finalists chosen by a search committee.

Reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.