July 1st marked the beginning of a new era at Valencia College, one lead by Dr. Kathleen Plinske as its 5th President. In a special meeting held on Friday, December 18, 2020, by the College’s District Board of Trustees,  Dr. Plinske was selected as the new president of Valencia College.

Dr. Plinske, who has been part of Valencia College since 2010, emerged as the leading candidate following on-campus interviews with the three finalists and a series of town hall events with students, employees, and community leaders.

Before becoming Valencia’s 5th President, Dr. Plinkse served as executive vice president, provost, and campus president of the Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida,

Prior to joining Valencia in 2010, Dr. Plinske began her career at McHenry County College, a community college in her hometown of Crystal Lake, Illinois.  She was hired as an Instructional Media Specialist in 2001 and moved into a number of different roles over the next nine years, including Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, and ultimately, Interim President.

A graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Dr. Plinske attended Indiana University as a Herman B Wells Scholar, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Physics with the highest distinction and honors.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she completed a Master of Arts in Spanish from Roosevelt University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida, and a Doctorate in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University.  She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida.

Actively involved in her community, Dr. Plinske serves on the Board of CareerSource Central Florida. She has served as Board Chair of the Education Foundation of Osceola County, President of the Rotary Club of Lake Nona, and has also served on the Board of the Osceola Center for the Arts, Junior Achievement of Osceola County, and the Lake Nona Education Council.  She has taught Spanish, mathematics, and leadership at Valencia College as well as graduate courses in educational leadership and e-learning for the University of Central Florida and Pepperdine University.

On Thursday, July 1, Dr. Plinske held a Zoom meeting where Valencia students were given the opportunity to share their perspectives, challenges, concerns, and overall experiences at the College.

Students were invited to attend the conversation with Kathleen Plinske instead of a more traditional “meet and greet” as she stepped into the role of president of Valencia College.

Dr. Plinske replaced Dr. Sandy Shugart, who announced that he would retire in June after 21 years of service.

Positively Osceola congratulates Dr. Plinske on her new role as Valencia’s 5th President. After witnessing Dr. Plinske’s passion and commitment to the college, its staff, and students over the last few years, we feel strongly that Valencia College’s best years lie ahead!

Source: Valencia College