Photo supplied by Dr. Sandra Kiddoo

Dr. Sandra Kiddoo is one of four finalists running for president of Minnesota State College Southeast. She currently resides near the Appalachian Mountains, but is native to Wisconsin. On March, 30 a virtual Q&A took place to discuss her plans for the college.

Kiddoo is the vice president of academics at Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard, Kentucky, and admits that when she left Minnesota she thought she would never miss the Midwest winters.

“Oddly enough, I do miss the snow and I think the Minnesota education system is very strong ... I am excited for this opportunity,” Kiddoo said.

Will you be bringing in your own people or do you plan on working with the staff already in place?

I am not a fan of bringing in outside people. For one, why would you change things when we have tremendous staff and faculty already in place who understand the culture and know the communities. I also think it is pretty disruptive. If there was a job opening, then we could possibly look at people outside the community.

How have you connected with the business community in surrounding areas to ensure that programs are relevant to their changing needs?

I think that starts first with the advisory committee level and we need to speak with business representatives. It is about talking with the right people who understand the technical skills for the graduates, who are making hiring decisions and those who make decisions based on their future needs.

What opportunities do you see in taking the REACH program to the next level?

REACH is a great opportunity for high school students to get college credit and we do something like that in eastern Kentucky as well called the National Association of Community Colleges Entrepreneurship, which is called MACE … . We do a lot of programming at the high school and it is exciting to be able to take a program like REACH to the next level by, you know, just ensuring that there's that enthusiasm, energy and support, community wide.

Please speak about your crisis management experience.

I think anybody in higher education who's gone through the pandemic this past year, has a lot of experience in crisis management, but that aside … last spring in Kentucky we went through a pretty catastrophic event where campuses, faculty and staff were without power. We had a lot of trees down and we had to figure that out and even two weeks ago, we had significant flooding in the area  … so there have been several instances where I have had to put my crisis management hat on.

I like to think the more that you go through it the better you get at communicating, the better you get at making decisions.

How do you plan on developing relationships with local schools?

I think it's just, you know, spending a lot of the time getting in front of those superintendents, those principals, the counselors and the teachers. It’s attending the local sporting events, it's showing up wherever they're at and going to those meetings and letting them know that the college is here.

I think any new president should spend time out in the community.

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