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President Kathi Hiyane-Brown, pictured above, far left, with students, faculty and staff at the annual Honors & Awards Ceremony.


Kathi H. Hiyane-Brown, Ed.D., became the fourth president of Whatcom Community College in 2007. Dr. Hiyane-Brown leads this comprehensive community college that serves 11,000 annually, employs more than 400 employees, and operates with an annual state budget of approximately $20 million. During her tenure, she has built vital community partnerships, inspired innovation and excellence throughout the College, and encouraged a culture of inclusiveness.

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Whatcom offers associate degrees in academic transfer, general studies, and professional-technical. The College is recognized for its strong transfer program, its international education initiatives, allied health programs, cybersecurity education center, and collaborative efforts with higher education institutions in the region. Whatcom is developing a solid College Foundation and a comprehensive professional development program. 

A nationally recognized advocate of community college education, Dr. Hiyane-Brown currently serves as a member and immediate past chair of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Presidents Academy Executive Committee (PAEC); a member and co-chair of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE); and on the board of the National Asian Pacific Islander Council (NAPIC), an affiliate council of AACC. Additionally, she was a past director on the AACC Board of Directors, and past chair of the Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity for AACC.

As a member of the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges (WACTC), Dr. Hiyane-Brown serves as chair of the WACTC Strategic Visioning Committee, member of the WACTC Executive Committee and has served as chair of the Educational Services Committee, Critical Issues Committee, as well as the Legislative Committee. Her local leadership experience includes serving on the Boards of the Northwest Economic Council (NWEC) and past board member of Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Advancement (WAHA). In addition to statewide committees focused on the work of the two-year college system, she is a member of the Governor’s Taskforce on Adult Education Advisory Council and serves on the board of The Association (the Washington Community and Technical College Administrative Training Association). Dr. Hiyane-Brown’s national involvement with professional development includes her experiences as a member of the National Council for Staff, Program, and Organizational Development (NCSPOD), having served in numerous leadership positions, including President for that organization. She conducts training and workshops on leadership and diversity in venues locally, nationally and internationally. She is committed to supporting leadership development initiatives with underrepresented groups and is a mentor to many aspiring leaders.

Dr. Hiyane-Brown was the President of Normandale Community College, Bloomington, MN, for four years prior to being appointed president at WCC. She also held administrative posts at Tacoma Community College, Tacoma, WA; Leeward Community College, Pearl City, HI; and Muscatine Community College, Muscatine, IA.

Born in Hawai‘i, Dr. Hiyane-Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Grinnell College; a Master of Arts in Instructional Design and Technology, University of Iowa; and a Doctor of Education in Community College Leadership, Oregon State University. Dr. Hiyane-Brown has been recognized as one of 2010’s Outstanding Women Educators by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation and was the recipient of the 2002 Leadership Award from The Association. In recognition of her commitment to staff and program development, she received NCSPOD’s College President’s Award in 2012. She also received the 2014 CEO of the Year Award from Washington Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges.