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Oklahoma City Community College Appoints First Woman and First Person of Color as President

Dr. Mautra Staley Jones becomes the first woman and first person of color to lead the college.

Oklahoma City Community College recently held a historic investiture of its 11th president, Dr. Mautra Staley Jones, as it formally installed and named Jones as the first female and first person of color to head OCCC.

Recently inducted into the Oklahoma African American Educators Hall of Fame, she also is the first African American woman to lead any higher education institution in Oklahoma that is not a historically Black college or university.

“Oklahoma City Community College has built a strong foundation on student success and community enrichment,” Jones said. “I am honored to lead OCCC into a new era of servant leadership and exceptionalism. In this endeavor, I pledge to be a president who not only strives for excellence, but one who inspires it in others. I firmly believe that working together, the college will rise to new heights and usher in a new era of opportunity and excellence for our faculty, staff and students.” 

Dr. Jones was appointed to the position March 1, 2022. Under her leadership, OCCC forgave $4 million in student balances held within the institution under its Fresh Start Initiative, which helped 4,500 students.

OCCC was also designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, was named one of MovieMaker magazine’s 40 Best Film Schools of 2022 in the United States and Canada, partnered with Walgreens for pharmacy internships and was awarded nearly $3 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education to help high school students become first-generation college students and assist adults in reentering higher education.

“Since assuming the presidency, Dr. Jones has worked diligently to prioritize the building of bridges, finding common ground and working with community leaders and stakeholders to advance the College’s mission,” said OCCC board chairman Kevin Perry. “Her leadership has built on the rich legacy established 50 years ago when the College was founded, and we look forward with great anticipation with all she will do with the college.”

Jones joins 5% of women of color at the helm of higher education institutions in the U.S. She learned the importance of education early on and pursued higher education as a first-generation college student at the University of Oklahoma. She later earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix at San Diego and a Doctor of Education from Vanderbilt University’s prestigious Peabody College of Education. She has dedicated her career to education, working for Langston University, The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools and KIPP Reach College Preparatory School.

Participating in the ceremony were Kevin Perry, Chairman of the Board of Regents for Oklahoma City Community College and President of Perry Publishing and Broadcasting; Allison Garrett, Chancellor for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; David Holt, Oklahoma City Mayor; Natalie Shirley, The University of Oklahoma, Board of Regents and President & CEO of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; David Rainbolt, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors for BancFirst; Joshua Snavely, Of Counsel, McAfee Taft & Cybersecurity Expert; Sunny Cearley, President of Allied Arts of Oklahoma City; Ryan Cross, Board Director, South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce & Vice President at Arvest Bank; Alice Strong Simmons, Retired Education Administrator; Devery Youngblood, Former Regent, Board of Regents Oklahoma City Community College and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Aggregates Association; and Rev. Dr. M.L. Jemison, Senior Pastor, St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

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