Mark Mitsui, president of North Seattle Community College, is leaving in August to take a job as deputy assistant secretary for community colleges in the U.S. Department of Education.
Mitsui, who grew up in Seattle and started his career as a teacher at Renton Technical College in 1988, says his work will contribute to the larger goal of improving the nation’s college completion rate. The Obama administration’s goal is for the U.S. to have the highest rate of college completion or credential attainment in the world by 2020.
He’ll work in the office of vocational and adult education, which focuses on career, technical, adult and correctional education. “This position will provide key policy input for policies related to community and technical colleges,” Mitsui said.
Understanding community colleges “at the ground level” will be instrumental to the job, said Mitsui, who has been president of North Seattle since July 2010.
Mitsui has also worked as a vice president at South Seattle Community College, where he headed a team that won a $2.4 million grant from the Department of Education. The college became one of the first six members of a national select group of Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions. He also served as board chair of the national Asian American Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities.
In 2011, under his leadership, North Seattle Community College hosted a 2011 White House Initiative on Asian Pacific Islanders NW Regional Conference on Sustainability. It was one of a number of national and international activities he linked to the school.