NORTH MANKATO — Annette Parker is originally from the Midwest.
Growing up in Michigan, the new South Central College president is excited to be back and has a goal that will surely be dear to many Minnesotans' hearts: “I'm looking forward to fishing every lake in southern Minnesota,” she said.
But that will be in Parker's free time, and with just a week's experience behind her in her new position, there's plenty to do.
This spring Parker spent about three weeks getting to know the faculty and staff, which has allowed her to hit the ground running this first week. Now, she said, it's time to listen.
“To listen to everyone and hear their goals, their dreams and their aspirations about the future,” she said.
Parker will be meeting with faculty, staff, students and community members in both North Mankato and Faribault to find out where they want to see SCC go in the future.
“And then I'm going to go back to that same constituency and tell them what I've heard,” she said.
She said former President Keith Stover left the college in “excellent condition,” so it's her job now to press on toward the future and help carve out a new path. At an inaugural celebration in the fall Parker will talk about that vision.
“The president has to be a good listener in terms of utilizing their skills to enable the stakeholders to not only articulate a vision, but to implement and to sustain it,” she said.
In the meantime Parker said she's settling in just fine in the community. For the first year, she and her husband will be leasing a home in Faribault to give them time to search for the perfect home to buy. But it has to be on a lake, she said.
“This is an awesome community, and it's just such a friendly town,” she said.
Parker is coming from Lexington, Ky. Stover and numerous others were impressed with Parker's experience as executive director of the Kentucky Community & Technical College System's National Center of Excellence in Advance Automotive Manufacturing — an automotive technical education entity involving community colleges and automotive manufacturers in 14 states. She also has been the KCTC system executive director since 2007.
Having graduated from Lansing Community College years ago, Parker said in the spring that she was looking forward to coming back to that environment. She said the desire to become the next president of SCC became even stronger after she visited with warm and inviting students and faculty during her campus visits.
“I'm excited to be back in the Midwest,” she said. “Minnesota looks like Michigan. … My relaxation will be on the lakes.”
Now that she's here, Parker has just one request: Please don't take her vanity plates idea before her car arrives — GO2SCC.