June 30, 2019
New Leader at NCI

Senator Bill Stanley (R-20), the Chairman of the New College Institute Board of Directors, announced today that the Board has unanimously approved the appointment of Karen R. Jackson, former Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia under Governor Terry McAuliffe, as the interim Executive Director of the New College Institute, replacing outgoing Executive Director Dr. Leanna Blevins, who resigned from the position last month. Secretary Jackson previously served in both the McAullife and McDonnell administrations, and has been the leader in the Virginia advancement of Internet Technology, Cyber, broadband access in rural and underserved areas, and was an integral part of Virginia’s effort to land Amazon’s HQ2. Ms. Jackson, a native of Poquoson, is the President of Apogee Strategic Partners, LLC, a company focused on providing technology consulting and advisory services to companies, universities, governmental entities, and non-profits specializing in technology and business strategy, government relations, public policy, business development, and program management.

Chairman Stanley made the following statement regarding the appointment of Secretary Jackson to the position of Executive Director:

“I have had the honor and privilege of both knowing and working with Karen since I was first elected to the State Senate in 2011. Her knowledge of and experience in internet technology, cyber, advanced manufacturing and the critical need for Virginia to have a 21st century educated workforce is unparalleled; and quite frankly, she has no peer. As Secretary, she led the way in assisting the state legislature in developing new strategies for technology advancements, and focused like a laser beam on the need to create an advanced educational structure for Virginia to meet the requirements of employers in the advanced technology and manufacturing fields to provide a job-ready workforce. Karen Jackson is exactly what NCI needs to take its educational and credentialed training programs to the next level, and in turn, to create a workforce pipeline that will attract companies that will locate in our area.”

Stanley continued: “Eighteen months ago, the NCI Board of Directors adopted a comprehensive plan that set forth the future vision of NCI that would make it a Southside higher education juggernaut and a leader in the economic revitalization of our region. Now is the time for NCI to act upon this comprehensive plan and make it a reality, so that we can fulfill the mission that the state legislature had envisioned when created the Institute.” Stanley continued, “it is our obligation to ensure that education leads the way in our community’s economic re-birth, and I know that Karen will work with our local public school systems, Patrick Henry and Danville Community Colleges, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and our state college and university academic partners to make sure that we provide our students the best educational opportunities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Karen Jackson, as the new interim Executive Director, brings with her the knowledge, state-wide and national contacts, expertise, and the leadership abilities to make New College the cutting-edge educational platform that this area and its people deserve. I can think of no better person than Secretary Jackson to fill the role of leading New College forward.”

NCI Board Vice-Chairman Richard Hall made the following statement: “The Board’s hiring of Karen Jackson once again demonstrates the Board members’ dedication to transforming New College Institute into a world-class center of education that will not only create exciting new educational opportunities for the citizens of our region, but will also put New College at the forefront of providing a steady stream of job-ready employees for Virginia companies. As a former owner of an advanced manufacturing company in our region, I can tell you from personal and professional experience that the hiring of Secretary Jackson is a ‘game changer’ for industries, educators and our community at large, and more importantly, will attract new industries back to our area that will employ our friends, family and neighbors in high paying jobs. What we have in Karen Jackson is someone that can not only help New College but make a tremendous regional impact, our Southside region as a whole has a greater presence on the state level. We greatly appreciate the years of dedication of Dr. Blevins to the mission and growth of New College, we are absolutely thrilled to now have Secretary Karen Jackson leading New College into a future of growth and prosperity.”

Secretary Karen Jackson made the following statement: “I look forward to working with the NCI team and their partners, the board, and the regional leaders to advance new, innovative opportunities in existing and emerging industries such as cybersecurity, data analytics and visualization, advanced manufacturing, and artificial intelligence, and help position NCI to deliver industry relevant training to support these quickly evolving fields.”

Patrick Henry Community College President, Dr. Angeline Godwin made the following statement:

“Recruiting Karen Jackson to our community and our region marks an extraordinary opportunity for us to leverage her experience and reputation as a visionary leader. I am thrilled about the endless possibilities for new joint ventures between PHCC and NCI with her at the helm.”