Shasta College prepares to bid farewell to Superintendent/President Dr. Joe Wyse after he announced his plans to retire this December after serving as a visionary and innovative leader at Shasta College for nearly 17 remarkable years. Hired in 2007 as the Vice President of Administrative Services, Dr. Wyse was selected as the Superintendent/President in 2011. He has been widely respected and admired throughout his tenure within the California Community College System, leaving an indelible mark on the institution and the communities of Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity counties. The cornerstone of Dr. Wyse’s success has been his unwavering student-first approach and community focus, which has propelled Shasta College as a state and national leader among 2-year community colleges.
Under Dr. Wyse’s guidance, Shasta College has consistently been at the forefront of progressive initiatives, championing innovative approaches to education and career readiness through programs such as North State Together (NST) and the Shasta College Attainment and Innovation Lab for Equity (SCAILE), and the work of the Economic and Workforce (EWD) division. Dr. Wyse’s commitment to meeting the unique needs of the local communities Shasta College serves has positioned the college as a trusted and vital resource for educational and career advancement.
Throughout his tenure, Dr. Wyse has spearheaded numerous initiatives that have transformed the college and positioned it to help students now and well into the future learn employable job skills or transfer to a 4-year university without the heavy burden of financial debt. Shasta College is grateful for the many accomplishments under Dr. Wyse’s watch, many of which are due to the voter-supported Measure H bond. Due to Dr. Wyse’s fiscal responsibility, the District has accomplished many of the projects initially planned when the bond was approved. Some of those include building the Regional Public Safety Training Center, which trains future firefighters to help keep our state and nation safe from the increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires. Expansion of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) training facilities to help with the shortage our country is experiencing in skilled trades. Construction of a cutting-edge Computer Information Systems (CIS) building to help students keep pace and be leaders in the ever-advancing technology sector. Dr. Wyse is especially proud of his work to increase support for veterans and their dependents via the new Veterans Support and Success Center.
Dr. Wyse has also been a driving force in fostering partnerships with local businesses, organizations, and government agencies to ensure that the college’s offerings remain relevant and responsive to the community’s evolving needs. The college’s logging and forest health programs formed out of partnerships with CAL FIRE and Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) are a hallmark of these efforts, as is the college’s support of regional public safety through the SHIELD program. Recently, the college had the opportunity to partner more closely with CAL FIRE by providing space and facilities for the development of the CAL FIRE Training Center North. Through strong communication and collaboration, this training center will be able to help meet CAL FIRE’s workforce needs by sharing and improving the existing training grounds on the Shasta College campus. This collaborative spirit of partnering has contributed significantly to workforce development, economic growth, and the region’s overall prosperity and safety.
At the State-wide level, Dr. Wyse has served on various boards, including six years on the California Community College Athletics Association board, three years on the Association of Community College Administrators board, six years on the NoRTEC workforce development board, and seven years on the Community College League of California CEO board, of which he was President in 2019-20.
In addition to these and other accomplishments, Dr. Wyse exemplified servant leadership when he volunteered the college facilities, staff, and resources to serve as the Emergency Evacuation Center during the chaotic days and nights of the Carr Fire. The college has been guided by Dr. Wyse’s reassuring and steady leadership through other natural challenges, from power safety shutoffs to severe snow storms to a worldwide pandemic. Despite these and other hurdles, Dr. Wyse continued to focus the college’s leadership and efforts on serving their communities and advancing student success through innovation and collaboration.
“During my time as President of Shasta College, I have been honored to serve our communities and students. Any success is a result of a team effort, and I can directly credit the exceptional group of educators, staff, and students whom I have had the good fortune to work alongside for the incredible strides we’ve taken as an institution,” said Dr. Wyse. “I am proud of the inclusive and welcoming environment at the college where we work to eliminate barriers to success and make sure every student can achieve their goals, regardless of their background or circumstances. I am humbled to have played a small role in the college’s progress and the positive impact we have had on our local communities. I look forward to watching the outstanding team as they serve our communities under the next President and help lead Shasta College to even greater successes.”
In addition to his contributions within Shasta College and the local communities, Dr. Wyse has actively participated in regional and statewide educational efforts. His visionary leadership contributed to developing programs such as the Shasta Technical Education Program-Unified Partnership, or STEP-UP as it is commonly referred to, and the Community Leadership Center, newly constructed in downtown Redding. STEP-UP is a program specializing in restorative justice for the formerly incarcerated to give them a second chance in life. The Community Leadership Center is another Measure H project which will expand job training/outreach for low-income residents by housing programs like The Alliance Project, EWD, NST, The Shasta College Foundation, STEP-UP, Foster Youth, and CalWorks all in one convenient and centralized location. Additionally, in 2015 Shasta College was selected as one of 15 California community colleges to pilot the offering of a four-year degree: the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management program. Shasta College was also selected for three competitive Innovation in Higher Education Awards from the State, the only college selected for these awards in all three years they were offered (2015, 2017, and 2018). The $8.5 million given to Shasta College as part of these awards are a small portion of the more than $150 million in grants and awards the college has landed since 2013. These efforts and others have been a driving force in shaping policies that support the needs of students and promote educational equity.
“We are grateful for Dr. Wyse’s exceptional leadership and the transformative impact he has had on our college and the larger educational landscape,” said Stephen Bell, Chair of the Shasta College’s Board of Trustees. “Joe’s visionary approach, unwavering commitment, and passion for our students and communities have set a high standard that we will strive to uphold as we search for a successor.”
Kendall Pierson, Vice President of the Shasta College Board of Trustees, reflected on his many years working with Dr. Wyse, “Throughout Dr. Wyse’s tenure as Superintendent/President of the college, his unwavering sense of integrity has played a pivotal role in fostering a strong team of professionals and establishing the many collaborative community partnerships we have today. Joe’s exceptional ability to do long-range planning and superior understanding of state and federal fiscal decisions have well positioned the college financially for future stability and to provide our students with the skills they need for meaningful and prosperous careers,” Kendall added. “Joe has deftly navigated the college through periods of incredible growth, and times of uncertainty and crisis with calm, compassionate, and confident leadership. It has been a privilege and an honor to have worked alongside such a humble and professional steward of this institution. Although we will miss his day-to-day guidance, I remain confident in the foundation he has laid for our future success as a college.”
As Dr. Wyse prepares to embark on the next chapter of his life, Shasta College will honor his work by continuing to prioritize the needs of the students and communities it serves. The college will embark on a nationwide search for a new president who can build upon the strong foundation laid by President Wyse and lead the institution toward even greater success.
Dr. Wyse will officially retire in December, leaving a remarkable legacy of innovation and community engagement.