2021 Inspirational Leader of the Year

Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation honored Dr. Kimberly Beatty as the 2021 Inspirational Leader of the Year in Springfield.

Kimberly Beatty, Ed.D., began her tenure as Metropolitan Community College’s eighth chancellor on July 1, 2017. She was formally installed as chancellor at an inauguration ceremony on Aug. 24, 2018. Dr. Beatty came to MCC from Houston Community College, the nation’s fourth-largest community college system, where she served as vice chancellor for instructional services and chief academic officer.

As the first African-American leader in the 105-year history of Metropolitan Community College, and the only African-American CEO in the Missouri community college system, “I live and walk in the truth of who I am each day,” Dr. Beatty says. A champion of access and equity, she is devoted to the community college mission of providing access to higher education for all. “I am passionate about the community I serve and excited about the ability to provide higher education access to the underprivileged and underrepresented,” Dr. Beatty says.

At Metropolitan Community College, Dr. Beatty restructured the College’s five-year strategic plan; authored a new vision statement for the College and a new shared governance model; and is fostering a culture of innovation, including the creation of the MCC Innovation Council. In 2019 she penned “The Path Forward,” a vision of the future that calls for MCC to align programs with current industry needs in the region; to increase diversity, access, and equity across MCC’s workforce programs; and to enhance and align existing College facilities with a 21st-century teaching and learning environment. One component of this vision is relocating workforce programs currently housed at the MCC-Business & Technology campus.

Dr. Beatty’s commitment to workforce and transfer (academic) education has included establishing new partnerships in the region. Under her leadership, MCC in Fall 2019 launched a satellite site at Hillyard Technical Center in St. Joseph. In addition to workforce training programs such as certified nursing assistant and welding technology, this Buchanan County location will offer general education courses and a path to a bachelor’s degree. The initiative is a partnership with the St. Joseph School District, St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, and Missouri Western State University. Dr. Beatty is a member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and its Executive Women’s Leadership Council; the Kansas City Area Development Council; the Full Employment Council Board; and the Rotary Club of Kansas City.

At her inauguration in 2018, Chancellor Beatty and members of her family presented the first Reggie Helms Memorial Scholarship. Named for her late father, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, the scholarship helps MCC student veterans achieve their educational goals. A three-time graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Dr. Beatty received a B.A. in English, an M.A. in English, and an Ed.D. in higher education, with a specialization in community college leadership. She brought to MCC 28 years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education, including 21 years of progressive leadership experience at community colleges in California, Virginia, and Texas. She has also served as a tenured associate professor in English.

Dr. Beatty has served on a number of boards at the state and national levels. She was appointed to a two-year term on the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on College Readiness in July 2018. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to student success and diversity and a passion for strengthening the pipeline of college-ready students entering community college.

In September 2019, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II honored Dr. Beatty for her leadership and service to the community. Each year, Cleaver and fellow Congressman William Lacy Clay Jr. induct prominent individuals into their Missouri Walk of Fame, awards presented during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Cleaver described the chancellor as “an individual who has dedicated her life to inspiring and empowering the next generation of Americans, making a profoundly positive impact on countless lives.”

Dr. Beatty was inducted into the Black Achievers Society of Greater Kansas City in 2019. She has also been the recipient of the 30 Most Influential Women of Houston Award by the D-Mars Group, Houston; the Trailblazer Award by the Mason Lodge, Houston; the Damiani Award for Commitment to Global Education, Tidewater Community College; and the Regina Standback-Stroud Award for Commitment to Diversity in Higher Education, California State Academic Senate.

Dr. Beatty is married to Kelvin Beatty. They are proud parents of three sons, Kelvin Jr., Michael, and Ian. They also have five grandsons.