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Clark State President Announces Retirement Plans

Clark State President Announces Retirement Plans

August 14, 2012

Dr. Karen Rafinski announced Monday her intent to formally announce her retirement as president of Clark State Community College to the Board of Trustees by the end of the year. She plans to retire in June of 2013, concluding her 16th year in that role. The announcement came during the college’s annual fall convocation, when faculty and staff gather to prepare for the new academic year.

"You don’t replace the country’s outstanding community college president," said Andy Bell, chair, Clark State Board of Trustees, referring to the national recognition Rafinski earned in 2008. "We can only seek to find a new president who can build upon the wonderful work that Karen has done. Clark State's accomplishments under her leadership have been extraordinary, including enrollment growth, expansion into Greene County, four new buildings, endowment growth and a strong focus on student success. Her dawn-to-dusk work day continues into her final year as she is spearheading another construction project that will connect two buildings and house a student success center to positively impact retention and graduation rates."

(See more quotes from community leaders at the end of the news release.)

The college expects to conduct a nationwide search to fill the position.

Rafinski has led Clark State to unprecedented growth and also been an active leader in the Springfield community. Her accomplishments are detailed below.

College Achievements






Note: For the purpose of searching archives, Rafinski was hired as Karen Nagle; she married John Rafinski in 2001.


Steve Sidlo, chairman of the Board of Directors, Clark State Foundation:
"Karen provides dynamic leadership during a time of tremendous growth and change for Clark State. She is an innovator who is highly regarded in education circles around the country. She oversaw Clark State's establishment of a very successful campus in Greene County is always very supportive of the Clark State Foundation and all of its efforts and programs. Karen should be proud of her achievements. Most important, she can take satisfaction in knowing that there are many people in this community whose lives are much better because of the educational opportunities they had at Clark State."

John Landess, executive director, The Turner Foundation:
"Karen has been a great partner in the community. Her leadership has helped us move the ball forward in both education and economic development. The student body has grown dramatically during her tenure, and the new buildings that have opened over the last decade have changed the face of the campus as well as the community. Karen has developed relationships in Beavercreek and Dayton that will help us for many years to come."

Michael McDorman, president, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce:
"The Greater Springfield business community and the community at large owe a huge debt of gratitude to President Rafinski for the work she has done to develop our local workforce for the jobs of today and the future. Under her leadership the college has created training programs to prepare students for the highly technical positions at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the companies that provide support for Wright-Patt. She has simultaneously created training programs to create skilled workers for our diverse industry base, from advanced manufacturing to the service and medical industries. Springfield would have not attracted CodeBlue without Karen’s willingness to create a training program specifically for the company resulting in more than 100 new jobs downtown. The flood house created for the CodeBlue training program has now been joined by a firefighter’s training tower and plans to create additional disaster training modules on campus. Her contribution to the chamber board as well as to the Greater Springfield Moving Forward committee has been invaluable. We wish her the best and hope she will continue to be involved in the community."

Kristin Culp, vice president of advancement, Clark State Community College
"The college has been blessed by her leadership, and so have I. She made things happen that I thought were impossible, so I learned to trust her instincts."

Dr. David Devier, vice president, academic and student affairs, Clark State Community College:
"President Karen Rafinski has created a legacy of leadership across her very significant career. Being awarded the Outstanding Community College President honor is the highest collegial recognition a community college leader may receive and stands as the evidence of a life of dedication to the profession. President Rafinski has served as a mentor to many aspiring individuals throughout her career including several who have risen to the level of Presidency. Clark State Community College has experienced significant growth and service to the region under President Rafinski's stellar tutelage."

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