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San Diego County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Southwestern College's Accreditation in Jeopardy

By Norma L. Hernandez

Candidate for Board Member; Southwestern Community College District; Seat 4

This information is provided by the candidate
Norma Hernandez is a proven community and educational leader. Ensuring to protect Southwestern College's accreditation, Norma's #1 priorty will be to get the college off of probation! Restoring classes as well as enhancing an effective and innovative learning environment for students are at the heart of her decision to run for Southwestern College Governing Board, Seat #4.
Norma Herandez has been working her entire life to help others. She knows students, she knows the South Bay, and most importantly, she knows how to run a college with a sure and steady hand. Norma spent 31 years as a counselor, teacher, administrator, and finally, President of Southwestern College.

Norma graduated from San Diego State University in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in Spanish. She advanced her education with a master's degree in counseling and guidance from the University of New Mexico, and worked toward a doctorate in Policy Studies and Mulitcultural Education.

Her life-long involvement in community service began in the early 1970s, where she worked with at-risk youth and developed programs that encouraged kids to stay in school. Also volunteered at Escuelita del Barrio, an alternative school, where she taught English as a Second Language and helped develop a literacy program.

Her career with Southwestern College began in 1975. During her first few years as a counselor and instructor, Norma helped students with their personal lives, career planning and academic plans. She also taught Personal Development classes and was instrumental in establishing the college's Career and Transfer Center.

Just five years later, she was appointed Dean of Student Serivces, and only three years after that became Vice President for Student Affairs. During these years, Norma provided leadership at the college for all phases of student services, including planning, budgeting, program development and evaluation. Among her many accomplishments, she expanded outreach efforts to the commjunity, implemented the Puente program to encourage students to transfer to four-year universities, administered a student success project that provided mentors to hundred of students, helped design the Student Activities building, and planned a One-Stop Student Serivces Center. Later, as Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Norma oversaw curriculum development and supervised deans, classified managers and other staff.

Finally Norma was appointed President and Superintendent of Southwestern College. While her accomplishments were many, she is most remembered for her dedicatioon to meeting the educational goals of students and for her willingness to work collaboraitvely with staff and faculty. During the state's fiscal crisis of 2003, she skillfully averted layoffs and prevented classs cuts, and kept the college moving forward by negotiating a salary rollback, implementing retirement incentives and other measures. She was also responsible for raising the district's bond ratings by contributing to the stability and progress of the district and by the prudent fiscal adminsitration of bond monies. Norma's steady leadership during this difficult time earned her the respect and loyality of the faculty and staff, which has not been forgotten--both the faculty and staff unions, the CSEA and SCEA, have endored Norma for the upcoming election.

As president, Norma led the planning effort for the devleopment of the vacant corner lot on campus, on which she worked for a year alongside conmmuntiy representatives, faculty, staff, students and board members. She also implemented a stategic plan for the colleges' future---the first such plan to be developed in many years. In addition, she oversaw the design and planning for the Otay Mesa Education Center and broke ground for the building's construction.

Norma Hernandez retired from Southwestern College in 2006 and has since worked as an educational consultant for an international consulting firm, Stratus-Heery, providing master planning and strategic planning for colleges and universities. She also serves on the Executive Board of the South County Economic Devleopment Council, where she is co-chairing a project on high school dropout prevention. In addition, she is a member of the board of the San Diego Workforce Partnerhsip, furthering her commitment to provide others with new opporutniies and access to quality education.

Now her expertise is needed once again at Southwestern College to help put our community's sole provider of higher education back on teh right track. This is why Norma Hernandez has chosen to come out of retirement to run for Seat #4 on the Southwestern College Governing Board this November.

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