She has been working in the field of education for decades and currently Denise Noldon is the vice president of student development and enrollment at Folsom Lake College.
However, Dr. Noldon is attempting to take the biggest step of her career.
One of the four remaining candidates for the position of Contra Costa College president, Noldon’s experience, no-nonsense demeanor, progressive attitude and professionalism are among the qualities that could make her the choice for the position.
Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor Helen Benjamin will select the new college president on April 11 and the Governing Board will vote on her decision on May 23.
“She’s just top quality,” FLC Dean of Instruction and Technology Gary Hartley said. “(Noldon) is extremely ethical, truthful and very trustworthy. On any level she is a quality person through and through.”
A Bay Area native, Noldon was born in Oakland and spent her youth, adolescent and teenage years in Berkeley. The 57-year-old graduated from Berkeley High School in 1973 before attending college at Cal State-Long Beach.
Although she has never worked in the Contra Costa Community College District, she does have ample experience working at California community colleges. After earning a doctorate degree in the field of counseling at the University of Maryland, Noldon came back to her home state.
At Las Positas College, Noldon was the coordinator of the EOPS/CARE department. From there, she went on to Chabot College where she was the dean of counseling.
While employed at Chabot College, she served on the Curriculum Committee in addition to being the adviser to a student organization.
If elected, Noldon said she plans to be involved in all aspects of CCC in the same way she has been involved with various staff members and departments at FLC.
“(The FLC staff) is very collaborative,” Noldon said. “We work together with students, administrative staff and student services.”
Familiar with California community colleges, Noldon is no stranger to budgetary restraints. Despite deteriorating funds for operation, she remains a rational thinker.
“We do the best we can in spite of not having proper resources,” she said. “We spend a lot of time discussing what is essential.”
Once the pertinent issues are identified, Noldon said the faculty and staff ensure they understand the issue and do their best to solve it before moving on to less important matters.
“She operated as both a dean and vice president (of student development and enrollment) when she first arrived,” Hartley said. “Things (at FLC) were a little haphazard before she was hired. She’s more business oriented. She restructured a lot of student services by bringing us up to speed with new regulations.”
Noldon began her tenure at FLC in 2005.
“Before, our discipline process was haphazard,” Hartley said. “She laid out steps for us to work within. She’s someone who likes to bring appropriate structure to an institution and teaches staff how to work with that structure.”
Donna Jung, a medical social worker at Asian Health Services, is a former colleague of Noldon’s. The two worked alongside one another at Cal State-East Bay as EOPS/CARE counselors.
“She has a good sense of humor, but when it comes to serious business she gets it done,” Jung said.
Jung referred to Noldon as a “team player.” She said although Noldon has strong views, she is more than willing to collaborate with staff to find the best possible solution to any problem or obstacle that may come.
Those who have known Noldon for years, like CCC counselor Suzanne Huey, can attest to her ability to work with a diverse array of ethnicities.
“I’ve known her since the ’80s when we worked at Cal State-East Bay,” Huey said. “She always came across as an open, people-orientated individual.”
Huey said that Noldon’s ability to understand the issues involving different cultures and ethnicities is what enables her to better meet the needs of students from different racial backgrounds.