Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics announced the appointment of Lauren Wilson (right) as director of Wallace State’s Oneonta Campus this week. Wilson, who has served as assistant superintendent of Oneonta City Schools, will begin her new role May 17.
“With her broad administrative experience in education and deep connections to Oneonta and Blount County students and community, Lauren Wilson is the perfect fit for director of our Oneonta Campus. We are delighted to welcome her to the Wallace State family,” said Dr. Karolewics.
Since Wallace State was asked by city and county officials and community leaders to locate a facility in Oneonta in 2016, Karolewics’ commitment to the area has been steadfast – with programs and partnerships increasing by the year, the most recent of which is a mechatronics program, and academic offerings that allow students to complete a degree fully in Oneonta and online. The new Wallace State Oneonta flagship Academic Center opened in 2019, and the original facility, now the Technical Center, has undergone three expansions to meet increasing demand in welding, machining, and now mechatronics. A new partnership with the Oneonta Career Center, co-located in the Wallace State Oneonta Technical Center, is expanding workforce development services.
Wilson takes over for Wes Rakestraw, who will continue serving as Dean of Applied Technologies at Wallace State. Rakestraw, who was named Director of the Oneonta Campus in 2018, had been serving in this dual role since his appointment as Dean last year. Oneonta campus technical and ESL programs expanded in Oneonta and the new academic facility was opened during his tenure there.
Wilson will continue to build on that momentum and bring more activities back to campus in the wake of the pandemic.
“I am very excited to begin this journey with Wallace State Community College, and I thank Dr. Karolewics for entrusting me with this opportunity,” Wilson said.
Wilson, who is in her 22nd year in education, has served in several capacities throughout secondary education. Most recently as assistant superintendent she has overseen curriculum and federal programs for Oneonta City Schools. She previously served as the Academic Accountability Coordinator for OCS, principal of Oneonta High School, and before that as a principal, assistant principal, and teacher in the Troup County School System in LaGrange, Ga. She also worked as a School Improvement Specialist at West Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency.
“My goal in education has always been to help prepare students for the next step, and I have always worked closely with counseling and advising students throughout the process of making postsecondary decisions,” she said. “After 22 years in K-12 education, I am looking forward to helping students in that next step as they begin their college experience.
“I am also thrilled that I can continue to work with Oneonta City Schools, Blount County Schools, the City of Oneonta, and Blount County to continue to build partnerships with Wallace State that will benefit both the schools and the community.”
Dual enrollment and other pathway programs are among areas of increasing opportunity at Wallace State Oneonta. Dual enrollment has been proven to save students money on a college education and improve outcomes and scholarship opportunities upon transfer to universities. Credits earned at Alabama’s community colleges are guaranteed to transfer to other state institutions as a result of the STARS statewide articulation system. New programs are being developed across all divisions.
“I look forward to enrollment and accessibility continuing to rise across all programs – adult education, workforce, career technical, academic, and dual enrollment,” she said. “The Oneonta Campus is a very viable option for students to begin their college education or to work towards certification. I want students and the community to realize what learning opportunities Wallace State can offer for all community members.”
Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree in health education from the University of Georgia as well as a master’s degree and Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in Educational Administration from Troy University. She is married to Adam Wilson and they have two daughters, Kylie, 17, and Lily, 13.