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Hartnell College Names Dr. Phoebe K. Helm President

June 17th, 2008

After a nationwide search, the Board of Trustees of Hartnell Community College District announced the appointment of Dr. Phoebe K. Helm as superintendent/president, effective July 1. Dr. Helm has served as the college’s interim superintendent/president since July 1, 2007.

The announcement was made at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening, June 17. As with all administrators’ contracts, the initial term will be for one year.

Dr. Helm has been hailed for turning Hartnell College around in her year as interim superintendent/president. Under her leadership, the college improved its accreditation situation from probation to warning, closed a significant funding gap, improved the internal governance process of the college, and increased student enrollment.

“The Board is so happy to have Dr. Helm on board,” said Board Chair Kari Valdes. “Dr. Helm brings with her a vast amount of experience in handling the budget, which is of the utmost importance during this financially difficult time. Moreover, her vision of shared governance, working together, and breaking down the silos already have been demonstrated for the good of the entire college. She has been instrumental in creating ties throughout the community that Hartnell serves and insuring that the college is truly serving the community.”

In addition to her work at Hartnell, Dr. Helm has more than 30 years of experience serving community colleges in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and California. Her broad background in education includes teaching and administrative work in K-12 schools, colleges, and graduate schools, including a stint as the interim vice president and assistant superintendent of instruction at Palomar Community College and four years as the vice chancellor of economic development and vocational education at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento. She served eight years as president of Harry S. Truman College, one of seven community colleges of the City College of Chicago, until 2004. Her career has focused on serving community colleges in ethnically and culturally diverse areas.

Dr. Helm earned her Ed. D. at the University of Kentucky, her master’s in education at Memphis State University, her bachelor’s of science in education at Union University, and an associate’s degree at Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, Tennessee.