Dr. Kathleen Plinske has been selected as the new president of Valencia College. Dr. Plinkse, who currently serves as executive vice president, provost, and campus president of the Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, was selected in a special meeting held on Friday, December 18, 2020, by the College’s District Board of Trustees.
Dr. Plinske 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.
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 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.
Dr. Plinske will begin her new role in spring 2021, pending the approval of an employment contract in February. She will replace Dr. Sandy Shugart, who announced that he would retire in June after 21 years of service.