PSCCN is pleased to spotlight Dr. Kevin McCarthy who is a close partner in our collaborative efforts on college and career readiness. Dr. Kevin McCarthy is the President of Renton Technical College (RTC) and the co-chair of the Puget Sound Coalition. He has an exemplary career in education that spans decades, which is why it's not surprising that he was selected by Aspen Institute to join the 2020-21 inaugural class of the New Presidents Fellowship. We conducted a short Q&A interview with Dr. Kevin McCarthy to learn what drives his passion for this work and the principles that guide his success. Read on for the complete interview.
Where were you born? Cheyenne, Wyoming
Tell us a little about your education? Initially, very traditional—excellent public schools in West Hartford, CT; immediately to the University of Virginia for a bachelor’s in history. I went back for graduate degrees a little later in life: MA/Ph.D. in American history from the University of Mississippi (age 38-45), followed by a two-year post-doc teaching fellowship at the University of Georgia.
If you could do it again, would you take a different academic path, or are you satisfied with the route you followed? I’ve been very satisfied. I liked going back to school after working for a while (12 years as a teacher/administrator/ranch manager at a boarding/day high school in western Colorado). At times, I flirted with trying to go back to school for veterinary medicine or law.
How long have you been in your current role and what do you find the most rewarding about your work? I’ve been involved in community and technical college administration for almost 13 years now, and I’m in my fifth year as president of Renton Technical College. Most rewarding is that if we do things well, we truly have the ability to assist people in improving their lives and communities through education.
Do you have an exciting project you are working on, if yes, what? I think our collective work on Guided Pathways will help improve student success and close opportunity gaps.
What are some lessons you’ve learned in life that have helped you be successful in your career? Work hard; listen; learn what other people are doing; mix high-level thinking with detail; be present; be humble; be generous; seek mutual-mentorship relationships.
Could you share one fun fact about yourself? I like to have fun at work. Also, I’m a (fraternal) twin.
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