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For more than 50 years, Dr. Sandra L. Kurtinitis has been a professional in a community college setting working as an educator and administrator. Serving as president for 17 years at the Community College of Baltimore County, she has put a focus on the classroom during her administration and not the executive office.

What’s the most important thing you do in your job?
Each day I embrace the opportunity to provide leadership to an institution where people love their mission and live their mission. Providing an affordable, accessible and high quality education to anyone who seeks it is at the heart of what we do. I am immensely proud of our work in pursuit of the magic of our “open door,” which we keep ajar for the people we serve. No other sector of higher education can do what we do when it comes to bringing educational opportunity to the communities we serve.

Who was your most significant mentor and what did you learn from that person?
I consider my father, a Pennsylvania coal miner, to be one of my most significant mentors. He was a powerful figure in our household with a steadfast determination that all of his daughters would go to college, and more specifically, would become teachers. He embodied the kind of grit and resilience that allowed one to tackle what seemed like insurmountable odds.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
There is no question, that if I wasn’t a community college professional, I might have become a social worker. Anyone who makes a career in the community college world could just easily transfer their passion for helping people and their skills to the field of social work.
Helping people seek new opportunities through education is what we do every day.