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New State Board Chair Focused on Increasing Community College Enrollments

RICHMOND – Eleanor Saslaw begins her yearlong term as the chair of the Virginia State Board for Community College this month, and she is focusing on increasing community college enrollment.

Serving on the board for the last three years – including one year as the Board’s vice chair – represents only a fraction of the experience Saslaw brings to the post. After all, the two-time college graduate has spent her entire career working in education. Her experience ranges from being a teacher, counselor and director of student services in Fairfax County Public Schools, to serving as the president of the Virginia Counselors Association, to serving as a member of and the president of the Virginia Board of Education.

Saslaw says educating an individual may just be the most important thing you can do for them and the community they live in.

“If you don’t educate people, you end up supporting them,” she said. “We want to see Virginians succeeding in the 21st century; that includes new Virginians. More education means a higher standard of living. It means our businesses thrive, and it means our tax base is strong. Our community colleges do a terrific job of helping people get there.”

Saslaw is placing a priority for the coming year on helping Virginia’s Community College serve more people. The colleges are seeking ways to reverse several years of enrollment declines. Saslaw wants the Board to ensure the colleges have the tools and knowledge to turn that around.

“Chancellor DuBois and I have been talking about that and he shares my concerns,” Saslaw said. “We’ve had good luck in the past using the task force model to address big, statewide challenges. It may be time to do that here.”

Saslaw was born in San Francisco and moved to the East Coast when she was eleven. She and her husband, state Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax County) moved to Virginia after getting married. They have a daughter who works as a lawyer in San Francisco.

“I feel like I gave something back with that one,” Saslaw said.

Saslaw has won numerous awards including the Friend of School Psychologists Award (2011) and Counselor of the Year (1998 and 1994). She has a master’s degree in secondary counseling and a bachelor’s degree in social studies education.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

 

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