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Lindley Estes writes about Spotsylvania County schools, King George County Schools and other issues of interest to the community.

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Community college grad is new chair for state board

The Virginia Community College System has chosen one of its graduates as chairman of the State Board for Community Colleges.

Hank Chao graduated from Northern Virginia Community college before going on to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Below is the full release fro the Virginia Community College System.

VCCS Graduate Becomes State Board Chair

RICHMOND – Hank Chao’s appointment to the State Board for Community Colleges began in 2007, but the Vienna resident’s experience with Virginia’s Community Colleges began long before that.

Chao is a Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) graduate with a unique story.

Chao left everything he knew in Taiwan at age 25. Despite having no understanding of the English language, he came to Virginia in pursuit of the American dream. While waiting tables Chao learned about NVCC’s open enrollment policy – his first step to success.

“Virginia’s Community Colleges provide a starting place for anyone to achieve their dreams,” Chao said.

Chao says his community college background will guide his yearlong term as chair of the State Board that begins this month. He wants to reach out to college students coming from all circumstances so they know their future can start with us.

“Whether you’re a first generation college student, immigrant or not from the traditional college student age group – community colleges are here for you to start your future,” he says. “The State Board has a clear mission to serve students and every time I see a student success story I know we are doing our job.”

Chao says Virginia’s Community Colleges are unique and flexible in meeting people where they are to help them move forward. With programs like Middle College, a high school dropout recovery initiative; Great Expectations, which serves current and former foster care youth; and Career Switchers, a transition program for adults seeking to become teachers, Chao hopes the VCCS can reach more students and increase Virginia’s number of college graduates.

After graduating from NVCC, Chao earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Maryland and went on to earn his master’s in business at Johns Hopkins University. He currently works as a project manager for Network Financial Systems Management of Verizon Business. At home, Hank and his wife Liling Chao are the proud parents to two daughters, ages 14 and 18.

The State Board unanimously selected Chao to become chair during its regular May meeting. The board also tapped Bruce J. Meyer, of Virginia Beach, to become the board’s vice chair, the title most recently held by Chao.

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