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Halifax Community College (HCC) Dean of Curriculum Programs, Dr. Pocahontas Jones recently graduated from the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP). The seven-month program was created in 1989 to provide an interdisciplinary approach to leadership training through professional development and to develop future community college leaders in the state.

Partially funded by a grant from the N.C. Department of Community Colleges, this was the 19th year of the program. Sponsored by the N.C. Chapter of American Association of Women in Community Colleges, it serves as preparation for those eager to respond to today's challenges. Jones was chosen from a field of 65 applicants to be one of 38 participants in the leadership class.

NCCCLP offers participants organized, face-to-face and computer-based training experiences to acquaint them with community college issues and to help them develop leadership skills. Participants work in teams to create an ideal community college. The program's structure is built on the idea that good leaders develop through an ongoing process of self-study, education, training, networking, and experiences.

Training included an overview of personality in leadership styles and an in-depth look at each participant's style of leadership and skill development in team building, conflict management, problem solving, goal setting, and career planning. Topics included "Local Governance and Budget Issues," "Understanding the Changing Community College System," "Leadership Diversity," and "Advancement Strategies."

Goals of the program are to strengthen the leadership skills of community college employees at all levels; to train women and minority employees who can assume leadership roles in their institutions; to inform potential leaders about the history, structure, and governance of the community college system; to promote opportunities for networking among employees; and, to provide a diverse pool of qualified leaders in community college education.

"The Leadership Program was a very valuable experience for me. I learned a lot, and was refreshed with a lot of ideas. Now, I have support and a strong network of people," said Jones. "This will be the most beneficial to me in my efforts to lead from the middle, up and down, based on the 360 degree leadership style."

Jones has been employed with the college since 1990. She has served as an instructor in the Science department and as the dean of Evening and Weekend Programs. She has received several honors including Teacher of the Year in 1994-1995 and 2003, Excellence in Teaching in 2003, Teacher of the Year for the N.C. State Chapter on Black American Affairs in 2003, and is a graduate of the Roanoke Valley Leadership Program in 2003.

A graduate of North Carolina Central University with a bachelor's in biology in 1973, Jones graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a master's in parasitology and laboratory practices (public health) in 1976. She earned a doctorate in 1987 from Howard University in microbiology/ immunology.

Jones resides in Henrico with husband, Randolph. The couple has two children: daughter, Shearina and son, Aaron. She also has a new granddaughter, Madison Alaylah, the daughter of Jones' son and his wife, Vivian.