Sierra College VP named Folsom Lake College President

By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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Rachel Rosenthal, assistant superintendent/vice president of instruction at Sierra College, has been named president of Folsom Lake College. She will succeed Dr. Thelma Scott-Skillman, who will retire at the end of June. “(Her) blend of education and experience and her commitment to community colleges make her an excellent choice to lead Folsom Lake as it moves through its first decade,” said Brice Harris, chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District. A licensed professional engineer with multiple degrees in math, engineering and education, Rosenthal is elated to be selected for this leadership position. “I never imagined I might one day be a community college president,” she said. She does admit she brings a unique perspective to the job. Rosenthal began her career in the oil fields of Texas and New Mexico, designing and installing natural gas processing facilities. After moving to California, she worked for Caltrans designing seismic retrofits for highway overpasses in southern California. Eventually, Rosenthal said, she redirected her career into community college education, first joining American River College in 1994 as a full-time math faculty member and dean of mathematics. She was American River College’s Dean of Planning, Research and Development when she was hired by Sierra College in 2007. “We feel very fortunate to have had Rachel as our vice president of Instruction for the last five years; the work she has accomplished here will have a lasting effect. We wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor,” said Sierra College President Willy Duncan. Rosenthal said she will miss many things about Sierra College. “This place is collaborative and supportive. People here have a ‘can do’ attitude. They always pull together when times get tough,” she said. “I’ve made some lifelong friends here.” Rosenthal knows she will be following in the footsteps of a great leader. “My hope is to build upon the foundation that she has built,” Rosenthal said. “(It has been) her efforts as well as Chancellor Brice Harris and the Board of Trustees that have brought this fantastic college to where it is today. “The college has literally become part of the fabric of the community from Rancho Cordova to Placerville,” she said. “I see absolute growth in the programs and services (offered at Folsom Lake),” she said. As president of Folsom Lake College, Rosenthal’s base salary will be $180,369. Rosenthal holds multiple college degrees, including a doctorate of education in education leadership and a masters of science in applied mathematics – both from UC Davis. She also has a masters in education from California State University, Sacramento and a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. She is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Registered Civil Engineer’s license in California. A resident of Lake of the Pines, Rosenthal is passionate about her community service work through Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that provides trained service dogs for the handicapped. As a volunteer puppy raiser, she is responsible for training and socializing dogs until they are between 14 and 18 months old. She has raised eight puppies – three are currently service dogs. “I get a lot of joy from my work with puppies and a few very amusing stories,” she recalled in a 2007 interview. “In fact, the first pup ate an entire class set of calculus students’ homework (really).” Rosenthal also describes herself as a “serious amateur photographer.” “My husband and I travel a great deal,” she said. “My camera is always with me.” She has taken numerous photography classes at Sierra College and Viewpoint Gallery in Sacramento. “After I retire, (photography) is something I will definitely seriously pursue,” she said. Rosenthal serves on the Placer County Economic Development Board, the Sierra College Foundation Board and is a member of the Rotary Cub of Roseville. Her husband, Steve, owns and operates Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley. They have two daughters. Folsom Lake College enrolls nearly 9,000 students on its main campus, its Rancho Cordova outreach site and its El Dorado Educational Center in Placerville.