Kate Smith Selected as Rio Salado College President

TEMPE, Ariz., May 7, 2021 - After a comprehensive nationwide search, the Maricopa County Community College District has announced Ms. Kate Smith as the next president of Rio Salado College (RSC). 

Smith has been serving as the interim president of RSC since August 2018, although she joined RSC in 2016 as the vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer. In her roles, she was responsible for adult basic education, community development and partnerships, continuing education, curriculum, early college, faculty, library services, the honors program, incarcerated re-entry programs, institutional research and effectiveness, instructional design, instruction helpdesk, military programs, online and hybrid/blended learning, certificates and degrees, and corporate and government partnerships.

With nearly 30 years of educational leadership experience, Smith has worked to eliminate barriers to expand student success. She has also served as a critical member of RSC’s leadership team, serving on the the boards for the Higher Education Research and Development Institute, Presidents Forum, The Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity, Friends of Public Radio Arizona, Phoenix East Valley Board of Directors, and is the Co-Chair for the Arizona Mexico Commission’s Education Committee. Most recently, she was selected as a 2020-21 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow.

“Ms. Smith has worked for our District for the last five years, providing tireless commitment and devoted service to our students, faculty, and staff,” said MCCCD Interim Chancellor, Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “Her exceptional leadership as RSC Interim President exemplified dedication to our community college mission in developing the student experience and the success of our community. We are extremely pleased to have Ms. Smith continue to lead Rio Salado.”  

Smith is pursuing her doctorate in Community College Leadership and has a master’s degree in mathematical education from University of Rochester, Rochester, NY and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and German from William Smith College, Geneva, NY.

Smith transitions to her new role on May 15, 2021. 


Media Contact: Dasi Danzig, 480-268-6766, dasi.danzig@domail.maricopa.edu

About the Maricopa Community Colleges

The Maricopa County Community College District includes ten regionally-accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain – and the Maricopa Corporate College, serving approximately 100,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs.