Featured Colleague – Celeste Henry

By Stephanie McMillen

Celeste Henry, counselor on the Osceola Campus, is approaching the 37th year of her career in education. “It’s hard for me to believe,” she said, reminiscing about the road that brought her here.

Celeste explained that she was “always very curious about the world of work, and had an intuitive knowing at an early age that I would be involved in the education arena in some way.”

As a child, she would interview relatives and neighbors, asking what they did for a living, how they liked it and if they would change their livelihood given the opportunity. “Looking back, I could have been a Junior Reporter for Studs Terkel as he drafted his book ‘Working,’” Celeste said.

Celeste’s first job in education came to her when she was an undergraduate, art education student at the University of Wisconsin (UW). Early on, she secured a student employment position in the office of the president of the UW system.

“I used to pinch myself,” she exclaimed.  Working for the president of such a large educational system, with its 13, four-year institutions and 13, two-year institutions, was a bit scary for Celeste to say the least.

“My little world exploded – you can imagine,” she said. In this position, Celeste was able to fulfill her need for learning about others’ career paths and was even able to speak with and interview people from all over the world. This opportunity only solidified her desire to pursue a career in education and so, after completing her bachelor’s degree, Celeste went on pursue a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in education.

Prior to joining Valencia in 2007, Celeste had wide variety of educational experiences in the K-12 setting, as well as in public and private higher education institutions. “My career journey has found me wearing different hats,” Celeste explained. She has served in positions ranging from a residence hall director and program coordinator, to an associate dean and professor at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

A move to Florida prompted Celeste to check-out the community college setting, and whereupon one of her investigative days, she stopped by the Osceola Campus for a quick tour.  After meeting with a student leader named Caleb and many questions later, Celeste left Valencia thinking “Wow! This institution cares about the success of their students.”

Soon after that visit, Celeste obtained a job at the college as a coordinator of student development and a year later became a counselor. In addition, she presently serves as the Osceola SkillShop coordinator, and in just a short amount of time has been able to make an impact on students and colleagues alike.

“Being an art educator in a previous life she brings creativity to the office through inspiration and decoration,” said Heidi Shugg, Atlas Access Lab coordinator and one of Celeste’s colleagues. “Her strength and support to coworkers and students is paramount. Students feel that Celeste goes above and beyond to assist them with their academic planning.”

The “absolute best” part about her job at Valencia, Celeste explained, is that she is in an environment where she is able to exercise her purpose statement: I am a creative, curious, compassionate woman, whose purpose is to live a life of EDventure and serve others in their discovery.

In her free time, Celeste enjoys art projects, reading, and spending time in the water. “I prefer to be in the water,” she joked, “near the water, on top of the water and/or under the water.”

Know someone doing great work at the college? Send your recommendation to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and he or she may be one of our featured colleagues.

7 Comments

  • Heidi S. Shugg said:

    Celeste, you are an amazing individual and I am blessed to work with you. Thank you for all that you do, everyday.

    PMTue, 03 Jul 2012 12:08:08 +0000Tue, 03 Jul 2012 12:08:08 +0000pm12,12:08 pm

  • Jackie Starren said:

    Celeste, You are the very best!!!! We are so lucky and blessed to have you on the Osceola Campus! You always know what to do to help the students and the faculty as well! Thank you for all you bring to our campus!

    AMWed, 04 Jul 2012 04:19:43 +0000Wed, 04 Jul 2012 04:19:43 +0000am12,4:19 am

  • Steve Tullo said:

    Celeste, You are an awesome colleague! I am proud of the partnership we have as counselors and appeciate very much the work you do to support our students. Your enthusiasm is contagious!

    PMWed, 04 Jul 2012 12:19:25 +0000Wed, 04 Jul 2012 12:19:25 +0000pm12,12:19 pm

  • Adrian Manley said:

    Celeste,

    What a pleasant suprise to see you smiling at me from the Grove. You are such a jewel. Celeste you are a BLESSING to those who have the opportunity to interact with you. I am so grateful to know you and to work with you on various projects. KEEP BEING WHO YOU ARE! I have the utmost respect for the person you are and the work that you do. Keep living that mission.

    AMThu, 05 Jul 2012 04:27:19 +0000Thu, 05 Jul 2012 04:27:19 +0000am12,4:27 am

  • Kim Adams said:

    Celeste is a wonderful person, with whom it has been my privilege to get to know during her time on the College Curriculum Committee!!

    AMThu, 05 Jul 2012 08:58:32 +0000Thu, 05 Jul 2012 08:58:32 +0000am12,8:58 am

  • Chris Klinger said:

    I just wanted to share with the community that this wonderful article only begins to touch on Celeste's creativity and commitment to her students and education as a whole. Miss working with you on a daily basis!

    AMFri, 06 Jul 2012 06:00:47 +0000Fri, 06 Jul 2012 06:00:47 +0000am12,6:00 am

  • Mia Pierre said:

    Celeste-

    You are a great support to both students and faculty.

    Thank you for all you do.

    🙂

    AMFri, 06 Jul 2012 11:09:57 +0000Fri, 06 Jul 2012 11:09:57 +0000am12,11:09 am

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