Notes from the President

Jun 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Washington State is poised to lift COVID-19 safety guidelines at the end of June. With summer quarter and the new fiscal year around the corner, let’s all welcome the optimism of fresh starts.

Parent Education Program

I am pleased to share that the Parent Education Program budget will be funded at $525,000—very close to what the program was granted ​before we moved to remote learning last year. It is a highly acclaimed program that has provided quality early childhood education to the Bellevue community for over 50 years.

But the financial challenges facing the program are not over. The Parent Education Program over the last several years been incurring deficits of approximately $650,000 a year (pre-COVID) even while enrollments have been declining. That level of loss is simply neither sustainable nor fair to other college programs. Members of the Cabinet and I have been in ongoing discussions with the Parent Education Program leadership to explore new approaches for offering parent education services and instruction that build on its existing co-op model. The program needs to re-examine its cost and fee structure, tuition, revenue opportunities, and rental costs. We look forward over the coming months to working with the leadership and participants of the program as it explores additional models of operation.


New Affiliation with the Nationally Recognized Puente Program

Thanks to the hard work done by Bellevue College’s Henry Amaya, Ilder Betancourt Lopez, Judith Hernandez Chapar, Jose Aparicio, and Ana Bravo, our school is now affiliated with the National Puente Program. This transfer-readiness program has been proven successful at increasing the number of Latinx and other BIPOC students enrolling in four-year colleges and universities, earning college degrees, and returning to the community as future leaders. Those interested in participating in the program should contact Henry Amaya, Director of Multicultural Services (MCS). Our goal is to host the first student cohort this Fall 2021!

Exploring a New Bus Route

We are working in partnership with the City of Bellevue and King County Metro to explore a new public bus route on campus that would not just improve traffic flow through western campus but also make the College a central hub for public transit, thereby improving bus service to the campus for our students and staff. The new route would greatly improve safety and walkability on Snoqualmie River Road. Stay tuned.

Jennifer Sohonie Appointed Acting Vice President of Economic & Workforce Development

Please join me in welcoming Jennifer to the President’s Cabinet. Jennifer currently serves as the Executive Director of Continuing Education at Bellevue College, where she oversees both Community Education and the Tombolo Institute, an organization providing forward-looking professional training for today’s adult learners. Jennifer has a master’s degree in education with a focus on leadership of organizations from American Intercontinental University, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University.


Congratulations to Dr. Consuelo Grier, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, who recently successfully defended her dissertation titled, “Leadership Code-Switching: Navigating White Institutional Presence to Advance Equity and Inclusion.” With her successful oral defense, Dr. Grier will earn her Ed.D. in Transformational Leadership from Northcentral University.

Congratulations to BC junior and future vascular sonographer, Ashley Whitman, who was one of four nation-wide recipients awarded an Anne Jones Scholarship. The Anne Jones Scholarship Fund of the Society of Vascular Ultrasound grants educational scholarships for eligible students currently enrolled in an accredited dedicated vascular ultrasound technology program. Ashley was selected based on academic achievement, college and community service, financial need, as well as extraordinary enthusiasm and commitment in pursuit of her vascular ultrasound career.

Congratulations to BC’s Diagnostic Ultrasound Program, which was just recently recognized by College Choice as the #1 associate degree in medical sonography! BC’s program stood out based on its high graduation rate and 100% certification and job placement rate.

Congratulations to the staff of KBCS who worked diligently this past year to surpass their annual contributed revenue goal. This means that KBCS will be self-supporting next year for the first time in seven years. KBCS also secured a donation of $50,000 from the Purple Crayon Foundation, which has been deposited in a new endowment fund set up through the Bellevue College Foundation. Quite a turnaround from last year when it faced the prospect of significant layoffs of staff without a subsidy from the President’s Contingency Fund. Great job by staff and supporters!

Thank you to Amy McCrory, Student Programs Supervisor, who will complete two years serving as Chair of the College Assembly this month. The Cabinet and I are grateful for Amy’s leadership and her efforts to advocate for campus governance. And congratulations to AJ Duxbury, Assistant Director of the Disability Resource Center, who was recently elected to serve as College Assembly Chair for the upcoming academic year.

Final Thoughts

Happy Pride! June is Pride Month, a time when we reflect on and celebrate the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ people at Bellevue College, our local community, and in the world. This is a time for all of us to re-commit to standing in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ students, colleagues, and neighbors in their ongoing struggle for justice. Check out the virtual display curated by the Library Media Center to celebrate Pride Month.

If you’d like to receive future Notes from the President in your email, just visit the President’s Office website and enter your contact information and I will email you each issue directly.

Gary Locke

Interim President