Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker, J.D., has been selected by Florida Trend magazine to represent the education sector in this year’s list of most influential leaders in Florida.
The Florida Trend 2020 Florida 500 lists top influencers from around the state in specific economic categories. The list highlights individuals who have deeply impacted their respective industries, those who have a wide sphere of activity and leaders who embody the growing diversity of Florida’s business community.
Parker is laser-focused on ensuring Palm Beach State College is taking proactive, transformative measures to meet the evolving needs of our community. She strongly believes students are depending on the College to provide a quality academic experience that will help them reach their goals and sustain the economic vitality of Palm Beach County. She is committed to thinking ahead and providing meaningful, relevant program and training that will survive post-pandemic.
Although Parker has been at the helm of the College for just five short years, she has instituted several initiatives that are resulting in meaningful opportunities for students. She has added two new bachelor’s degrees, expanded certification programs, widened access to training through multiple business partnerships, transitioned learning from campus to virtual and back again, and she has inspired record-breaking philanthropic gifts to the College including several newly funded scholarships. Through her visionary leadership, the College recently opened a cross-cultural equity institute whose vision is to lead institutions worldwide in research, development, and implementation of culturally relevant practices to support successful outcomes for all students.
Parker’s inclusion in the Florida 500 bolsters her personal philosophy and provides words of wisdom to her colleagues, “It was a real honor to be included in this issue of the Florida Trend with so many great leaders in our state. It is this group of individuals who will have to reimagine and retool our economy post pandemic.”
Parker leads Palm Beach County’s largest higher education institution with a strategic approach emphasizing innovation, student success, and business and community collaboration. Parker is the first female president in the history of the institution, which opened in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college.
She is married to Joe Gibbons, longtime member of the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce.