South Seattle College announces longtime educator Dr. Jean Hernandez as interim president

Back in October, we reported on Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, who had been South Seattle College president for four years, becoming Seattle Colleges interim chancellor. Now SSC has announced its new interim president:

Dr. Jean Hernandez, an educational leader with nearly four decades of experience, has joined South Seattle College as interim president through the current academic year. The position opened when Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, SSC’s former president, became interim chancellor of the Seattle Colleges District.

Hernandez retired from Edmonds College with the title of president emeritus in 2017 after serving seven years as president. She has earlier connections to SSC, including serving as vice president of instruction and a prior stint as interim president in 2010. More recently, Hernandez has supported SSC in improving student success as a Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Guided Pathways coach.

“I have experienced the heart and soul of South Seattle College and am honored to serve as interim president and offer a sturdy bridge to continue the many exceptional educational and community services that we offer,” said Hernandez. “I am passionate about the college’s collective impact on student lives through educational programs that lead to high-wage employment, career mobility and flourishing communities.”

Over a 37-year career, Hernandez has extensive experience at both community colleges and universities. She is known as a student success champion who is strongly committed to removing barriers for students from K-12 through their higher education years. In particular, she has worked to advance women in the STEM fields, address education reform for students who are in prison, and developed successful partnerships with both industry and community organizations.

“As a first-generation college graduate and Latina, I can identify with the diverse backgrounds of many of our students, and I am proud to work with colleagues who are committed to changing lives on a daily basis. South Seattle is the community’s college, enriching its growth with a talented, trained workforce,” said Hernandez. “We are dedicated to uplifting our surrounding communities, including West Seattle, White Center, Burien, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley and beyond.”

Hernandez holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education from the University of North Texas, as well as a Doctor of Education from the University of Washington. Since 2018, she has worked as a leadership coach for Achieving the Dream and a guided pathways coach for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. She currently serves on the Western Governors University Washington Advisory Board, Junior Achievement Washington Board, and University of Colorado Denver, School of Education Program Advisory Committee.

South Seattle College’s main campus is on Puget Ridge in West Seattle, with a satellite campus in Georgetown.

2 Replies to "South Seattle College announces longtime educator Dr. Jean Hernandez as interim president"

  • Riverview Neighbor December 7, 2022 (8:47 pm)

    Welcome Dr Hernandez.I am hopeful for SSC but concerned for what I haven’t seen in some time, students.   Since Covid,  I’m told by staff I’ve come across and have witnessed as a frequent visitor to the campus,  enrollment is way down.  The campus, with it’s brand new athletic facility  is virtually empty.   What is the vision to bring this grossly underutilized institution back to life? 

  • anonyme December 8, 2022 (11:24 am)

    Dr. Hernandez is an effective administrator, and I’m glad to see her return to SSC.  As for the lack of students, there may be a lot of reasons aside from Covid (although that’s a good one).  For one, I think the emphasis on high-school students is necessary, but narrow in focus.  Community colleges used to be diverse and welcoming to a broad range of the population.  I think the emphasis on extreme youth (and criminals) has alienated many outside of that demographic.  As a (much) older student, I was met with disbelief and outright ageist contempt when I met with a counselor immediately pre-pandemic (who herself appeared to be a teenager).  Another issue is safety.  There are multiple sex offenders in the student body, and there have been safety concerns (drugs, camping, luring, in the Arboretum and elsewhere on campus.  The recent influx of RV campers in the area has not helped. I speak not as an outsider making wild assumptions, but as an insider with personal experience.

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