Jean Hernandez (EdD ‘96), a higher education leader who has dedicated her career to opening opportunities for diverse communities in the Puget Sound region, is being honored this month by the University of Washington’s Multicultural Alumni Partnership.
Hernandez, who has served as president of Edmonds Community College since 2011, will receive the MAP board’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni award at its 23rd annual Bridging the Gap Breakfast on Oct. 28. The award honors UW alumni and community members or organizations comprised of UW alumni for their sustained and extraordinary service and leadership within the region’s diverse communities.
"As a first-generation college graduate, my parents were my greatest advocates for education and community service,” Hernandez said. “As a result, my journey from my early twenties has been to support others—teaching ESL classes, offering workshops on diversity issues, teaching at a community college, and now as president of Edmonds Community College being able to establish a strong commitment to equity and inclusion on our campus, as well as creating two scholarships that are for students who have experienced homelessness or been formerly incarcerated. We each make a difference one life at a time."
During her leadership of Edmonds Community College, Hernandez has been recognized numerous times for strengthening the college’s commitment to a welcoming and equitable culture that embraces diversity. Her honors include the NAACP of Snohomish County's Oscar Eason Jr. Community Service Award and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve's Patriotic Employer Award.
She has been invited three times to White House Summits focusing on STEM, Asian American Pacific Islanders and Pre-College matters and has been active in local civic boards as a member of the Rotary Club of Lynnwood, Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, NAACP of Snohomish County, Boys and Girls Club of Snohomish County, and YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County.
Hernandez began her community college career at Shoreline Community College as a multicultural studies teacher and was later promoted to dean of health occupations and physical education. She then joined Cascadia College as executive vice president for student learning before being named vice president for instruction at South Seattle College. She also worked in career services at the University of Washington and human resources and admissions at the University of North Texas.
Hernandez earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the UW College of Education and her master’s in counselor education and bachelor’s in secondary education from the University of North Texas.
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications