From Iowa Tribe Reservation to college president

Debbie Foster

Central Arizona College President Jackie Elliott spoke to the SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary on March 30. Dr. Elliott shared a bit of her life story and her goals for Central Arizona College.

Dr. Elliott was selected as the ninth President of Central Arizona College where she assumed the role in July of 2016. Prior to her arrival at Central Arizona College, Dr. Elliott served as the third and first-ever female President of North Arkansas College from 2011 to 2016. Prior to her time at North Arkansas, Dr. Elliott served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.

As a first generation, low-income college student, Dr. Elliott understands the struggles of many Central Arizona College students. She grew up in a small rural town in Kansas living on the Iowa Tribe Reservation. Her parents worked hard but barely made enough to support the family. Throughout high school Dr. Elliott was told to enlist in the military and that college was too expensive, leading her to believe she was not college material. While in high school, her cousin invited her to attend an Upward Bound meeting and for the first time in her life she was treated like she was college material. She was accepted into the Upward Bound program and received the support, encouragement and confidence to apply to attend Concordia University in Nebraska her senior year in high school and was accepted. So began her educational journey.

Entering her tenth month at Central Arizona College, Dr. Elliott has identified three broad goals for the college: (1) Increase fundraising through the foundation. (2) Work more closely with Pinal County business and industry to identify how CAC can meet their needs and (3) identify specific program and educational needs for each of the five campuses.