Community College President Named Virginia’s Secretary of Education
Dr. Belle S. Wheelan was named secretary of education for the state of Virginia by Gov.-Elect Mark R. Warner late last month.
“Dr. Wheelan brings a life-long commitment to educating our young people,” Warner (D) says.
Wheelan, 50, has served since 1998 as president of Northern Virginia Community College, the second largest community college in the nation. Six years earlier, when named president of Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, Wheelan became the first African American female to serve as president of a two- or four-year public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Wheelan brings a wealth of educational experience to the governor’s cabinet from Virginia and beyond. She served as provost of the Portsmouth campus of Tidewater Community College, dean of student services at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, and director of developmental education and director of academic support services at San Antonio College in Texas. She had served on the faculty there for 10 years prior.
“Belle’s energy and willingness to build bridges between the worlds of business and education impressed me greatly,” Warner says. “She has taken Northern Virginia by storm over the past three years with her enthusiasm, energy and ability to get the job done.”
Wheelan holds memberships in numerous state and national organizations including the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs, the Jobs for Virginia Graduates Board, and the Government Affairs Committee of the American Council of Education.
She received her bachelor’s from Trinity University in San Antonio and a master’s in developmental educational psychology from Louisiana State University. She earned a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas in 1984.
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