AAP staff report
SAN JACINTO, Calif. (May 13, 2014) — Dr. Ketmani Kouanchao was recently recognized at Mt. San Jacinto College for 10 years of service and received the 2014 Administrator of the Year Award from the institution.
Dr. Kouanchao serves as the Director of EOPS/CARE Programs at Mt. San Jacinto College to help students achieve academic success.
Kouanchao received her Ed.D. in Education in 2012. Born in Savannakhet, Laos, she emigrated to the United States in 1978 and received her education in Minnesota before working across the country in academia. She is an editor of the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement and was a member of the international SatJaDham Lao Literary Project.
Kouanchao is an executive member of the National Lao American Artists Heritage Month Planning Committee. She writes regularly for Minnesota community media and Lao American blogs like Little Laos on the Prairie.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota in 1993. There she majored in Sociology, Public Health and East Asian Studies. She also earned her Masters in Education from there as well, graduating in 1997 with a concentration on Family Education.
From 2001 to 2013, Dr. Kouanchao has been employed with the Mt. San Jacinto College as a senior administrator. Her most recent appointment was as the Director of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services for MSJC. This office includes responsibilities for diversity, leadership programming, compliance, discrimination complaints and recruitment.
“The constant theme of my work has been organizing institutions and community stakeholders to advance the opportunities of education for the most at-risk students in their region,” Kouanchao said. “Many of my students were the first in their families to attend college.”
Kouanchao’s dissertation was on student holistic identity development among Lao American college students. She found a vital need for colleges to diversify in teaching, research and practice.
Kouachao appears often in newspapers and international radio on topics of diversity, academic success and multiracial identity. She was a 2012 Honor an Educator Recipient from California State University-Fullerton.
“At the heart of my efforts I apply a multicultural approach. I see diverse voices as assets. I encourage plurality, seeking progressive policies of harmony built upon principles of inclusion,” Kouanchao said when asked about her leadership style. “I always wonder, who is not at the table? How do we create a meaningful system that fulfills and extends the vision of those who came before us? I’m not content with us merely meeting standards. I want us to be ahead of the curve.”