Flores believes all students are capable of success
Dr. Chio Flores is coming home.
Flores has been hired as the vice president of student services and enrollment management at Wenatchee Valley College, a position that has been vacant since 2011. She started work at WVC earlier this month.
“Wenatchee has always beckoned a bit,” she said of her move back to North Central Washington. “This is a great opportunity, and I’m glad I seized it.”
Flores grew up in Quincy, the oldest of six children. She is the daughter of Silverio and Susana Flores of Quincy. Neither of Flores’ parents completed high school, and both were migrant workers until they settled in Quincy to raise their family.
“My parents instilled the value of hard work not only with our academics but also our jobs and our personal development. My personal story is a narrative to that,” she said.
Flores sought her GED through Big Bend Community College, in addition to earning her associate degree and starting her career there.
“For six years, I flourished as a young professional and as a student,” she said. She was hired in the admissions office and later began conducting GED examinations.
“I often wonder whether my educational trajectory would have been different if I hadn’t begun working at BBCC,” Flores said. “I was one of a few staff of color on campus. Professionally, I was really fortunate at Big Bend Community College. It was a cohort of individuals who were really helping me along, teaching me the ropes.”
Flores knew she wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree, so she transferred to Eastern Washington University, where she struggled to adjust, she said. She began to attend events and participate in student groups.
“Once I made a point to engage as fully as I could, it became easier,” she said.
She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business through EWU, developed a career in financial aid, and continued on to Washington State University to earn her PhD in higher education.
“I did promise my parents that this was the last graduation that they would have to attend,” she said.
At WSU, her professional responsibilities had also increased. She served as assistant director of transfer relations, financial aid director, assistant dean of students and the director of the Cougar Money Management Program.
“During my time at WSU, I have seen remarkable progress in terms of student diversity and to some extent, faculty and staff,” she said. “I’ve contributed, I feel, to some of this change whether in my professional roles, as a student group adviser, a recruitment/retention/diversity council member, or my work on boards that seek to improve access and equity.”
Flores has volunteered on several educationally focused boards: as a trustee for College Board, and as a trustee and chair for College Spark Washington, a foundation that supports college readiness and completion of low-income students. She also serves on the Community Partner for the Northwest Association Educational Opportunity Programs Board, an organization of educators who work with low-income, first-generation and disabled students.
At WVC, Flores will be responsible for a wide variety of areas, including admissions and registration, financial aid, special programs and services, the new TRiO student support services program, recruitment, veterans and international student services, educational and career planning, counseling, athletics, the College Assistant Migrant Program (CAMP), student housing and student programs. She will also oversee enrollment management. She is looking forward to fostering student success and having more contact with students.
“Every student, every person, is capable,” she said. “How they are given the opportunity to thrive is what determines the level they will succeed.”
— By Theresa Taylor, Wenatchee Valley College