Dr. Sayumi Irey Becomes Acting President of South Seattle College
Dr. Sayumi Irey, an educational leader committed to antiracist and sustainable educational transformation with over 25 years of experience, became South Seattle College’s acting president on Sept. 1, 2023 and will serve in this role during the 2023-2024 academic year. Dr. Irey was named to the position by Seattle Colleges Chancellor Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, and steps into the role after the retirement of Dr. Jean Hernandez, who served as interim president at South during the 2022-2023 academic year.
“I believe that Dr. Irey is the best fit to ensure leadership stability through this coming year,” Chancellor Rimando-Chareunsap said. “She brings to the role deep knowledge of the priorities and directions in which South Seattle College is already actively engaged.”
A national search for South Seattle College’s next permanent president will start this fall.
Prior to becoming acting president, Dr. Irey served as vice president of instruction at South Seattle College since 2019. She has also been a longtime equity and social justice leader in our state, having founded the statewide Social Justice Leadership Institute (SJLI), a non-traditional leadership program to train historically marginalized staff and faculty of color in Washington State to succeed in leadership roles. Under Dr. Irey’s continued leadership, over 200 staff and faculty have taken part in SJLI from across the state’s community and technical college system.
Dr. Irey started her higher education as a student in the Washington state community and technical college system, and holds a master’s degree in Library & Information Science and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Washington.
“As a first-generation TRIO student, I started my community college experience in Washington State,” Dr. Irey said. “As a student, I met faculty members who changed my life in many positive ways and met staff members who were kind, caring and supportive. I see that vital mission carried on today at South Seattle College, and I continue to be proud of our staff and faculty members and grateful for the care they show to our students, community and each other. I know our work changes peoples’ lives.”