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SMITHFIELD — Dee Dee Daughtry, vice president of instruction at Johnston Community College, has retired after 30 years in higher education.
Daughtry got her start in 1989 at St. Leo College at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. In 1993, she moved on to Wayne Community College where she was assistant financial aid director and veterans affairs coordinator.
In 1997, she joined JCC as financial aid director. After a few years in that role, she became an accounting instructor, then department chair for business programs and eventually vice president of instruction.
“The best part of my career at JCC was being able to work for supervisors that gave me the opportunity to creatively find ways to help students,” said Daughtry. “As a college, we’ve gone from being a middle-of-the-road institution to being a leader in the community college system, and that’s been exciting.”
The resident of Wayne County’s Brogden community said she’s fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for all three of JCC’s presidents.
“Every president we’ve had has been the leader the college needed at the period of time they were serving,” said Daughtry. “Opportunities changed under each president, and for me that offered great challenges and experiences as we moved through those times with each president.”
In her 22 years at JCC, Daughtry said she’s witnessed a lot of growth and progress for the college, such as JCC being an Aspen finalist and a Bellwether recipient.
“We’ve been able to grow reputable programs. We restructured to a one college organizational model. We collaborated with county partners to build the Johnston County Workforce Development Center,” said Daughtry. “All those are pretty big turning points in forming the college we have now. Our ability to recruit a highly diverse and talented team that supports instruction has been crucial to the success.”
College President David Johnson thanked Daughtry for her leadership.
“Dee Dee was one of my first hires after coming to JCC and she remains one of my best hires,” said Johnson. “I will miss her institutional knowledge and ability to think through circumstances we have faced. She has been a true friend to the college, to me, and to the students for whom she has tirelessly advocated.”
Daughtry earned her associate degree in accounting from Wayne Community College. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Mount Olive College, now the University of Mount Olive, and her master’s in business administration from Campbell University.
Daughtry said she sees continued growth in JCC’s future.
“I think JCC is in a prime location and has developed a prime reputation to be one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the system,” said Daughtry. “I think JCC has made a name for itself in both industry and the community and I see it growing. I think we’ve got the right leadership in place that will allow that to happen.”
Daughtry said she’s looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with her parents, husband and three children in her retirement, which was effective June 30.
“My faith is a big part of what I do and that has led me to my next phase in life,” said Daughry. “I’ve felt like every step of the way in my career I’m where I should be and I feel the same now.”
The college is currently in the process of searching for and hiring its next vice president of instruction.