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PSC names one of its own president

Updated: June 6, 2013 7:10AM



The Prairie State College board didn’t have to look far for its new president.

The board selected a PSC graduate who has resided in the Southland her entire life and has worked at the college since 1995.

“I’m elated, honored, really,” said Terri Winfree, 52, vice president of community and economic development for the Chicago Heights-based college.

She will be the first woman president of the college and the first PSC graduate to be named president. She was the first person in her family to attend college.

A graduate of Bloom Trail High School, Winfree will take over as college president May 19, the day after commencement.

Sitting president Eric Radtke, who announced his retirement in February after board chairman Jacqueline Agee claimed he recommended her stepfather for an $80,000 human resources job at the college, will stay on board as an adviser until July. In announcing his retirement, Radtke denied it had anything to do with the hiring of Agee’s stepfather.

On Friday, Agee praised Winfree saying she is the best candidate for the job.

“I think that it’s a great, great story, a positive story of someone who started their education at Prairie State College and moved on to running the place,” Agee said.

Winfree, a Steger native who now lives in Tinley Park, earned her associate’s degree in general studies from the school in 1996, and went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Governors State University in 1998 and 2000, respectively. She earned her doctorate degree in education and human resources from Colorado State University in 2012.

Winfree started working for Prairie State College full-time in 1998 as a manager of the school’s Matteson Area Center. She was promoted in 2000 and worked as a dean of continuing professional education until 2007. She has worked as the college’s vice president of community and economic development since then.

Winfree, who is divorced and has two sons, also teaches classes in restorative justice at Governors State University.

In her new role, Winfree said she wants to improve the college’s student retention rate and partner with more local businesses to determine their hiring needs.

“I would say it’s a dream of mine (to be Prairie State College president),” Winfree said. “I was fearful that in order to become a president I would have to relocate. It was not what I wanted to do. I feel like I grew up at Prairie State College.”



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