De' Reese Reid-Hart took office as the new president of Lone Star College-Montgomery on Sept. 1. Before becoming president, Reid-Hart was previously the vice president of instruction at LSC-Montgomery.

Before moving to Texas, she served as the dean of instruction at Kennedy-King College in Illinois. Reid-Hart holds a bachelor's degree in English and prelaw, a master's degree in education psychology and a doctorate in education leadership.

This interview has been edited for length, style and clarity.

How will your extensive background and education help you in your new role as president?

I think my background in both student services and instruction has really positioned me to understand how to make decisions that can be the most positively impactful for our students, the community and faculty that we serve here. I can take what I've learned on the student services side and understand that when we make what might seem like a small process change could really negatively or positively impact the students we serve. Having a wealth of knowledge will provide me with the expertise to help my staff make better decisions and be better informed. Every decision we make will be strategic with a student focus.

What are your immediate and long-term visions for the future of LSC-Montgomery?

The immediate is ensuring that we continue the great culture that we already have but then to make it better. I want to make sure that we expand on the culture and not just for our students, but faculty, staff and the community that we serve. My other goal is to increase student success, making sure that we have the right process and operations in place to help our students be more successful, whether it's a short-term or long-term goal for them. My final goal is community engagement and partnership. I want to make sure that we are a staple in our community. I think it's important that we re-establish ourself in the community.

Enrollment numbers at the college have remained stagnant in recent years. How do you plan on boosting those numbers?

It goes back to making sure that we have those partnerships in the community, making sure that people know that this is a first choice for our students. Students will get the best education possible, whether they go to one of the Ivy League schools or if they choose us. I want our students to feel like this school is worthy of them. That's how our students should feel when they leave here because they will go anywhere and be successful.

What new programs or degrees would you like to see pioneered on campus?

One of the newer programs we are trying to bring now is biopharmaceutical. Right now, we need to look at expanding some of our health care programs. There is an opportunity to increase health care programs. Additionally, we need to get more IT programs. We're also about to open our Magnolia Center, which will have a focus of [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] and [emergency management services]. Another one we are considering is aviation mechanics. We just want to continue to stay on top of the trends and what the industry is demanding to determine what are the best programs.

What changes can students or the community expect to see under your new leadership?

I think what they will see is more engagement by faculty, staff and administration outside of the classrooms. They are going to see Lone Star everywhere in our community. They will see an opportunity for their voice to be heard more. Often times, decisions are made because we think that's what is best for the students, but I want to make sure we are polling our students more, that we are bringing our students to the table and hearing what it actually is that they need from us to be more successful.