[caption id="attachment_10898" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Frances White"][/caption]
Frances White, Ph.D.
Superintendent and President
College of Marin
835 College Ave.
MARIN COUNTY - When Dr. Frances White, president and superintendent of College of Marin, was a young girl, she wanted to be an opera singer. Her mother played classical music, and she would go to sleep hearing the sounds of the piano. Her father was a preacher, and she would sing in church. Luckily for the community college education system, she gave up that dream to become an educator.
Her accomplishments in education are many, not least of all her work at College of Marin to get through troubling times and an accreditation problem.
In 2004, the college was put on warning status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
She came in shortly after this and through hard work and perseverance brought the school up to standard. Since this time, the school performs self-regulations and checks in with the commission regularly.
Wanden Treanor, a local attorney and a member of the board of trustees said, "I had the good fortune of being the board president the year we hired Fran. I have had the honor and pleasure of working closely with her the past five years. She is a truly remarkable woman. She is a great communicator and an incredible ambassador for the College of Marin. We could not find a better CEO. Dr. White has also modeled the critical importance of ensuring diversity and equality of opportunity - in hiring, in seeking input from diverse constituencies and in her messages to the college and the community."
Dr. White came to California from Houston when she was 17 when her father got a job in Los Angeles. She tried to stay behind, but after a few months, she decided she loved California.
Her first career plan was to become a psychologist.
"I wanted to help people," she said. But after a while, she realized that "I didn't have the patience to sit and listen to people's problems."
But she had the patience to become an advocate for people to help themselves through education.
Her grandfather was a principal and both of her grandmothers were teachers, so when she finished her master's in psychology, instead of moving on in the discipline she had planned, she focused on education.
Dr. White has a Ph.D. in education administration from U.C. Berkeley, a master's degree in counseling psychology and a bachelor's degree in psychology from the California State University at Hayward.
For her career, she has focused her time on community colleges, "because I am a product of community colleges," she said.
In 1977, she became the director of the Learning Resource Labs at Feather River College. Then she went on to teach Psychology at Merit College. She remained there for 12 years, and in 1990 decided to move into the administration side.