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Updated: Reception Tuesday for outgoing Skagit Valley College San Juan Center director
Dr. Denise King, for four years the director of Skagit Valley College San Juan Center, is leaving in August to become dean of arts and humanities at St. Charles Community College in Missouri.
A potluck reception in her honor is scheduled Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at San Juan Center. "Bring something to share if you wish or just come by to visit with Denise and wish her well," Randy Martin of the college wrote in an e-mail.
King made her resignation public last week in an e-mail sent to more than 113 people. She did not return a phone message left for her at her Cape San Juan home.
"Over the past four years I have come to know and love the people of the islands that I have been so fortunate to call home. You are a part of me now and your lives are much in my thoughts and prayers," she wrote.
"It is with sadness then that I tell you that I will be leaving the islands and Skagit Valley College. In August I will take a position as Dean of Arts and Humanities at St. Charles Community College in Missouri. My family will be joining me in stages over the next year, my daughter Annabelle right away and my son William after he graduates from FHHS next June. So you may still see my husband Patrick running back and forth to tend to children in two states!"
Another daughter, Joyce, graduated this year from Friday Harbor High School and will study at the University of Portland.
"I have so enjoyed our time working and living together and wish many blessings for you in the year to come," King wrote. "Please keep us in your prayers and I keep you in mine."
King was involved in the community on different levels. She was a performer and director at San Juan Community Theatre, and since August 2008 directed the chancel choir at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.
"She's a wonderful Christian woman," Pastor Joe Bettridge said. "She has done a magnificent job as choir director. She's very beloved and we'll miss her. She set a good foundation for our choir."
Bettridge said King has a "very strong personal commitment to Jesus Christ," with a spiritual depth to her relationships with people.
Charles Anderson, chairman of the San Juan Island Community Foundation, applauded King's service as chairwoman of the Jobs Development and Business Task Force, one of several foundation task forces that studied critical needs in the community.
"She was a super-organized, really skilled leader of those meetings," Anderson said. "She really tries to draw out all people in a meeting and specifically encourage them to participate. As a result, she made those meetings very productive."
Anderson said he hopes Skagit Valley College finds a local director who represents the college as well as King did in the community. "I hope they replace her with someone who sees the importance of Skagit Valley College here. They do a lot of good and local education is a big deal, particularly in these times."
St. Charles Community College is located in Cottleville, about 32 miles west of St. Louis, Mo. It has an estimated enrollment of 3,391 full-time and 3,539 part-time students, according to a college and information statistics Web site.