Priscilla Bell

Priscilla Bell, Phd has extensive experience in the administration of higher education institutions. Her experience includes serving as president of several colleges in Idaho, Washington and New York. In addition to her extensive management experience, she has led workshops and seminars for college faculty and staff on facilitating organizational change, assertiveness training, problem solving and decision making, leadership styles and effectiveness, and motivation.


Ph.D.   Higher Education Administration (Community College Leadership) –
University of Texas, Austin (1986)

M.S.    Counseling – California State University, Los Angeles (1976)

B.A.     Psychology – Texas Tech University, Lubbock (1971)


North Idaho College, Coeur d’Alene, ID

President (retired)    2007 – 2012

North Idaho College is one of three comprehensive community colleges in Idaho.  The College enrolls approximately 15,000 students annually and operates on a budget of $45,000,000 with a full-time faculty and staff of 550 and part-time faculty and staff of 500. The main campus in Coeur d’Alene is supported by a large Workforce Training Center in Post Falls and three campus centers in Northern Idaho.

As president, I was responsible to a five-member elected Board of Trustees for all college operations, strategic planning, expansion of educational opportunities in the community, building a positive college presence in the community, and developing support from the community, business and political leaders.

Areas of emphasis include:

  • Forging strong relationships with community, business, and political leaders.
  • Opening positive and productive lines of communication with the campus community.
  • Building educational partnerships with the University of Idaho and Lewis Clark State College to expand higher education in north Idaho.
  • Working with local school districts to establish a professional technical education campus for northern Idaho.
  • Assuring fiscal integrity of North Idaho College through balanced operating budget.
  • Addressing business and industry requests for expansion of professional technical programs.

Accomplishments include:

  • Acquired property to expand the main campus and establish a new off-campus professional technical campus, completed the annexation process on both properties, and developed the infrastructure.
  • Developed a market driven, competitive compensation system for faculty and staff.
  • Expanded grant development program resulting in significant increase in grant applications and awards.
  • Planned for major construction as well as repairs and alterations, and obtained funds for construction, including significant remodel of science building, and developed a long range master plan for the college.
  • Initiated successful college wide effort to build positive and collaborative environment focused on student success.
  • Managed instruction, student services, and administrative services to accommodate 45% overall enrollment growth in four years while balancing the budget during time of major state funding reductions.
  • Encouraged and supported the expansion of e-learning enrollment by 136%.
  • Brought all college classrooms on-line with up-to-date technology.
  • Completed two strategic plans, including new vision, mission and values statements, which incorporated widespread community and college input and included institutional effectiveness measures.
  • Led the college through successful accreditation processes resulting in renewed accreditation and reports with several commendations.
  • Reviewed and revised numerous out of date policies and procedures as well as simplified the policy development process.
  • Expanded professional technical education, including addition of new programs, resulting in 68% increase in enrollment over four years.
  • Encouraged implementation of the NIC Foundation’s annual campaign and secured significant donations each year.
  • Greatly expanded professional development funding and opportunities for employees while also establishing employee and management training programs.

Highline Community College, Des Moines, WA

President       2000 – 2006

Highline Community College is one of 34 community and technical colleges in the Washington State higher education system.  The College has an annual budget of approximately $60 million and full-time and part-time faculty and staff of approximately 1,100.  Highline, renowned for its diversity and inclusion programs, is one of the three most diverse colleges in the state and serves about 18,000 students annually.

The main campus includes 32 buildings on 80 acres. Classes are provided in the seven cities and three school districts within the college district boundaries, including a campus in Federal Way and the Marine Science and Technology Center at Redondo Beach.

As president reporting to the Board of Trustees my responsibilities encompassed guiding the College in achieving and expanding its mission as well as assuring overall quality, coherence, and effectiveness of all college programs and services.

Accomplishments include:

  • Secured $75 million in state funds for new construction, parking lots, and repair and renovations.
  • Secured millions in special state and federal appropriations to initiate and expand programs and services.
  • Established a strategic planning process involving the entire campus and community with annual institutional effectiveness reports to the community.
  • Established a strong and positive college presence in our communities and developed college/city/county/business partnerships to build a vibrant economy in our region.
  • Created a partnership with Central Washington University to construct the Higher Education Center on campus which houses associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree programs.
  • Developed and led the campus-wide initiative to build highly functioning teams and a college climate characterized by collaboration, trust, commitment to shared vision and goals, and a “special spirit.”
  • Increased the diversity of college faculty and staff by initiating new recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Strengthened the College foundation by recruiting board members, securing donations, initiating the annual college gala and auction, and positioning the College for its first capital campaign.
  • Established a grants program and secured several NSF awards, Gates and Lumina Foundation funding, and several competitive state-wide community college grants.
  • Expanded our partnerships with area high schools to include teacher preparation programs, family literacy programs, Latino Night School, multiple articulation agreements, and the Gates funded Early College High School.
  • Established alternative instructional venues and schedules to provide degree programs for evening and weekend students.
  • Expanded distance education opportunities and increased student enrollments in hybrid and on-line courses from 223 in fall 2001 to 1,524 by fall 2006.
  • Completed the campus 10 year master facilities plan.
  • Led expansion of international education program and developed partnership agreements with institutions in China, Ecuador, and Turkey.
  • Established the campus wide strategic enrollment management effort to maximize student recruitment and retention.
  • Expanded services and programs to support an ethnically diverse student body which resulted in Highline being selected as one of Lumina Foundation’s 58 “Achieving the Dream Colleges” and recognition by Met Life for their “Excellence in Education” award.

Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY

President       1995-2000

The College, sponsored by two counties, serves a three-county rural area in upstate New York and offers transfer associate degrees and career programs and degrees leading to direct employment.  FMCC also offers a variety of non-credit courses as well as customized and general training for business and industry. In 2000, the College employed about 250 full-time and part-time faculty and staff and served approximately 4,200 credit and non-credit students annually.

As president, I was responsible to the Board of Trustees for assuring the overall quality, coherence, and effectiveness of college programs and services and the accomplishment of college goals.

Accomplishments include:

  • Established first strategic planning process which embodied a defined vision, mission, and goals and annual reports to the community on institutional effectiveness.
  • Successfully led initiative to co-locate the Board of Cooperative Education Services professional technical education building on the FMCC campus. The facility houses joint FMCC-BOCES vocational training programs.
  • Secured $1,500,000 in federal funds to establish the College’s Geographic Positioning Systems Center.
  • Secured College’s first Title III grant for $1,750,000.
  • Provided leadership to the College Foundation and initiated successful FMCC capital campaign; secured several major individual and corporate donations
  • Provided leadership and oversight for $14,000,000 master plan project which funded major renovation and new construction.
  • Created the Business and Industry Center and workforce development program to serve current and emerging needs of business and industry.
  • Established a sound and stable financial environment after fiscal crisis in early 1990s.
  • Upgraded the College to state of the art technology.
  • Established an effective public relations effort which generated strong community support for the College.

Tacoma Community College, Tacoma, WA

            Dean of Student Services                                      1986-1995

            Associate Dean for Student Development            1981-1986

            Director of Student Programs & Activities           1978-1981

The College serves an ethnically diverse urban area of northwest Washington.  In 1994-95 approximately 4,000 FTE students per term enrolled in associate degree and vocational programs, and full-time and part-time faculty and staff numbered about 500.

Dean of Student Services (1986 to 1995)

Responsible to the President for administration, leadership and evaluation of comprehensive student services and educational support programs. Administered admissions and outreach, assessment, advising, registration and records, financial aid and veterans’ affairs, international student services, high school completion/GED, high school and college partnerships, tutoring, counseling and career services, substance abuse prevention, multicultural student services, disabled student services, student programs and activities, the Student Union, child care, and intercollegiate athletics.

Associate Dean for Student Development (1981 to 1986)

Responsible to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for administration and leadership of counseling and career services, educational planning and advising, student activities and programs, services for disabled students, and entry skills assessment.

Director of Student Programs and Activities (1978 to 1981)

Responsible to the Dean of Student Services for planning, organizing, and implementing student activities and programs, child care, student leadership training, and intercollegiate athletics as well as advising student government.

Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, CA

Coordinator of Job Development & Counseling, Indochinese Refugee Employee Project

February 1977- September 1978

Responsible to the Director of the Indochinese Refugee Project for developing and coordinating job development and counseling programs for 5,000 Indochinese refugees.

Various California Community Colleges

Adjunct student services positions (student activities, counseling, orientation)             1975 – 1977


  • Classes in student leadership, human relations, career development and college orientation.
  • Seminars in community college administration, student development, communications, group dynamics, managing conflict, and implementing change.
  • Workshops on facilitating organizational change, assertiveness training, problem solving and decision making, leadership styles and effectiveness, and motivation.
  • Seminars and workshops for new community college presidents.


  • Idaho Universities & Colleges Presidents’ Council
  • American Association of Community Colleges – Board of Directors; Executive Committee; Public Policy and Government Relations Commission; Marketing and Communications Commission; Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development
  • National Institute for Leadership Development
  • Mountain States Association of Community Colleges
  • Council for Resource Development Region X
  • American Association of Women in Community Colleges – National Board Member and Region X Director, Washington Chapter President
  • American Association of Community Colleges – Chair of Presidents Academy Executive


  • American Council on Education – International Education Committee; Commission on Women in Higher Education
  • Community Colleges for International Development – Executive Board, Chair-elect
  • Washington Association of Community and Technical College Presidents – Executive Committee; Chair, Operating Budget Committee; Chair, Legislative Committee
  • Washington State Alliance for Corporate Education – Executive Committee, Chair
  • American Council on International Intercultural Education – Executive Board
  • New York Association of Presidents of Public Community Colleges – Executive Committee
  • State University of New York Chancellor’s Task Force on Community Colleges

COMMUNITY  INVOLVEMENT current and previous)

Kootenai County, Idaho (2007 – 2014)

  • 1st Judicial District CASA Program –  Board of Directors;  Board member 2007 – 2014 and past board president  –
  • Opera Coeur d’Alene – Board of Directors, board member 2007 – current; – President (2014 – 2016)
  • Stewardship Committee for Kootenai Health (regional hospital) – 2013 – current
  • Coeur d’Alene Rotary – Youth Grants Committee; Program Committee
  • Coeur d’Alene Symphony – Black & White Ball Committee
  • Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce Executive Roundtable
  • Jobs Plus Board of Directors
  • North Idaho College Foundation Board of Directors
  • Kootenai Technical Education Campus Advisory Committee
  • Women’s Gift Alliance

King County, Washington (2000 – 2007)

  • Enterprise Seattle (Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County) – Board of Directors
  • Rotary International
  • Southwest King County Chamber – Chair, Board of Directors
  • Southwest King County Economic Development Initiative – Chair, Executive Committee
  • U.S. Congressman Adam Smith’s Technology Advisory Committee
  • Washington Council on International Trade – Board of Directors
  • Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County – Board of Directors and Youth Council
  • YWCA South King County Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee
  • Seattle City Club
  • Plaza Bank, Seattle – Board of Directors
  • Boys and Girls Club of Federal Way – Board of Directors

Fulton and Montgomery Counties, New York (1995 – 2000)

  • Fulton County Economic Development Corporation – Board of Directors
  • Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce – Board of Directors
  • Gloversville Federal Savings and Loan – Board of Directors
  • City National Bank –Board of Directors and Advisory Committee
  • Capital Region Center for Economic Growth – Board of Directors
  • Colonial Health Care Corporation – Board of Directors
  • United Way of Fulton County – Division Co-Chair
  • Amsterdam Rotary – Board of Directors

Tacoma, Washington (prior to 1995)

  • Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce – Legislative Committee
  • City Club of Tacoma
  • Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce – Legislative Issues Forum, Educational Partnership Committee
  • Greater Tacoma Youth Hall of Fame – Chair, Executive Committee