Blackwell Named Director of Cerro Coso Eastern Sierra Center

Kim Blackwell has been selected as the new Director of Cerro Coso Community College’s Eastern Sierra College Center in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes.

“She came out on top of a surprisingly robust pool, carrying the day with her working knowledge of ESCC, her familiarity with the Bishop and Mammoth communities, and her infectious enthusiasm for the college, its staff, and students,” said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Corey Marvin in the announcement.

“Cerro Coso Community College has been a large part of my adult life,” she said.  “I started as a 1st generation Cerro Coso college student, before transferring home to Minnesota to finish my degree in Social Work. I found employment right after graduation and spent time as an at-risk youth counselor, special education teacher, and social worker before rounding back to Cerro Coso to work as an Educational Advisor.”  July 2022 marked her 15th year in Counseling at the college. The first half of her career was spent in Ridgecrest and supporting the other campuses over the summer. While in Ridgecrest, she picked up her MS in Career Counseling from Walden University, “so I could better support college students and help those with questions and undecided majors. Finding that perfect career is where your values, interests, and skills/talents intersect.”

For Kim that happened in 2015 when she transferred to the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes campuses and instantly fell in love with the entire service area. “The communities are diverse, full of fun activities, and host awesome outdoor events. I can do all my favorite things:  photography, off-roading, hiking, camping/RVing, paddle boarding, snowshoeing, gardening, and catch/release fishing. It checks all the boxes!” The Eastern Sierra is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country. “Personally, I think northern Minnesota is the most beautiful, but there’s some bias there. It’s where my lake house and my family are at.” ESCC does a year-round 4-10 schedule with July off, so that’s exactly where she heads to relax, visit, and be off grid for a few weeks.

As for ESCC, it serves all the communities from Lone Pine to Coleville, which from end to end is a 3-hour drive when the weather is good. “Students seem to appreciate when we travel, meet, and get to know them in person. Meeting students where they are at is a winning strategy.  My goal as director is to provide an engaging, safe, and meaningful academic experience for everyone involved. The staff and faculty of ESCC are an amazing group of people dedicated to education, learning, and helping others.”

Blackwell replaces 16 year Director Deanna Ing Campbell who moved into a full-time faculty position at the college this fall to pursue her passion for teaching.

“We are very pleased to welcome Kim to the management team here at Cerro Coso Community College,” said President Dr. Sean Hancock.  “I am confident her leadership will enhance the education of our students in the Eastern Sierra region.  Her support for our under-represented student populations and continued education of all students will affirm our commitment to make Cerro Coso a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.”

Blackwell began her new position at the college in September.

(From Cerro Coso Community College)

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