Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of Vance-Granville Community College, has been appointed to serve on the “My Future NC” Commission, a new statewide group focused on educational attainment.
My Future NC was recently created by the leaders of the North Carolina public education systems, including the president of the University of North Carolina, Margaret Spellings; the acting president of the North Carolina Community College System, Jennifer Haygood; and the state superintendent of public instruction, Mark Johnson. The Commission’s work is being underwritten by grants from The John M. Belk Endowment, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Goodnight Education Foundation. My Future NC brings together top leaders from education, business, non-profit organizations and state government.
The commission will study and discuss state education and training needs, identify obstacles to meeting those needs, and generate policy recommendations. President Spellings is the co-chair for the effort, along with Dale Jenkins, chief executive officer of Medical Mutual Holdings, and Andrea Smith, chief administrative officer of Bank of America.
Dr. Williams is one of two community college presidents on the panel, along with Dr. Jeff Cox of Wilkes Community College. Other members of the commission include corporate and non-profit foundation chief executives, a local school superintendent, a university chancellor, a legislator, and a pair of members of the clergy. Darryl Moss, the mayor of Creedmoor and a member of the VGCC Endowment Fund board, has also been appointed to the commission.
“We have two North Carolinas when it comes to education and opportunity — the affluent, well-educated population centers — and the small towns and rural communities that have been left out of the rising economic and educational tide that has lifted our state,” said President Spellings. “And North Carolina is one of only a few states without a comprehensive strategic plan from pre-K through post-secondary education. The goal of this effort is simple but by no means easy: to develop a multi-year education plan that recommends a robust attainment goal for the state and a broad-based agenda for a stronger and more competitive North Carolina. We can do better and we should do better—the future of our great state depends on it.”
The commission’s goal is to complete its work by the end of 2018.
“Higher education is an absolute imperative for the future of our state and our workforce,” said Andrea Smith, Bank of America CAO and My Future NC co-chair. “Two of every three new jobs now require some form of post-secondary education — whether that’s training credentials, an associate degree, a four-year degree or higher. This reality underscores how critical education is to career growth and how important it is to increasing economic mobility.”
“I am honored to join a distinguished group of North Carolina leaders who will bring our diverse perspectives to the challenges of strengthening and aligning our state’s excellent educational institutions so that all children and adults can succeed,” President Williams said. “I bring to this task my experience from VGCC, which reflects the entire education pipeline, with our two five-star child care centers as well as our partnerships with K-12 school systems, with the business community and with universities.”
Williams became the sixth president of VGCC in 2012. Since then, she has focused the college strategically on educational excellence, continuous improvement, employee and student engagement in college life, and institutional stewardship. During her tenure, the college has added seven curriculum degree programs, secured the largest grants in the college’s history, the second-largest private donor gift, and held six consecutive highest-yielding annual golf tournaments for scholarships. With a focus on student success, the institution has improved completion rates, graduating the largest classes ever in 2015 and 2016, and initiating a private donor-sponsored college promise program called the “VanGuarantee” in an effort to make college more accessible for students with the greatest financial need.
Prior to leading VGCC, Williams served as faculty and in several administrative capacities at other North Carolina community colleges. She also currently serves as adjunct faculty for the North Carolina State University College of Education. Williams holds dual baccalaureate degrees from Duke University, a graduate degree from Western Carolina University, and a doctorate from North Carolina State University. In 2014, she was awarded the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leadership Award by North Carolina State University.
For more information about My Future NC, visit www.myfuturenc.org.