Sharon Wilson is Roane State Community College’s new campus director

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Roane State Community College’s new Campbell County Campus Director Sharon Wilson guest spoke at Tuesday’s South Campbell County Rotary luncheon and meeting.

Wilson is a Campbell County native and has been with Roane State for over 28 years. She began her career with Roane State as a part- time evening secretary.

In 2006, she was named as the Scott County’s Roane State Campus director. After 17 years there, she has returned home as the director of the Campbell County campus after the retirement of Tracy Powers. 

Campbell Countian Sharon Wilson is Roane State’s new director.

Wilson spoke about educational opportunities at the community college and the multiple scholarships and grant programs designed to help both high school students getting an early start on college and adults wanting to return to school for an education. 

Some of these programs include the middle college program, the early start college program, as well as dual enrollment, all of which are designed to help high school students get a head start on their college education. 

“In the middle college program, rising juniors take their two years of college while they are still in high school, and they actually graduate from college about a week ahead before they graduate from high school. It’s a great program, but it’s not for the faint of heart; you have to be dedicated,” Wilson said, adding that Roane State currently has 11 students enrolled in the middle college program, with five of those set to graduate in May.

Early College is a program that provides high school students with the opportunity to get an early start to their college education. High school college students take college courses and the credit earned applies to both a high school diploma and a college degree. This allows these students to complete their first year of college while still in high school. 

Dual enrollment is another great program which is open to any high school student and allows students to take up to ten college courses through grant funded assistance. According to Wilson, the Campbell County Roane State Campus has over 200 Campbell County High School students participating in dual enrollment classes and 11 students from Jellico High School. 

“Our students perform very well; when you look at the Dean’s list and the President’s list, you are going to see a lot of high school students names on those lists, because they are going above and beyond to get the opportunity to take those courses,” Wilson said.

She also spoke about the Tennessee Reconnect grant program designed to help adults earn an associate degree or technical certificate, tuition free. It is open to any Tennessee resident who has lived here for a year and doesn’t have a Bachelor’s Degree or associate degree. 

All of these programs are funded through grants and scholarships and designed to help these students find a pathway to graduation with minimal student debt.

Wilson said some of her goals as the new director of the Campbell County Roane State Campus were to “increase educational opportunities.” Some of this will include working with Jellico High School on offering more courses, as well as working with CCHS about adding more CTE courses. 

April Bozeman with Community Health of East Tennessee was inducted into the South Campbell County Rotary Club on Tuesday.
Bozeman is pictured with South Campbell County Rotary Club President Brandon Johnson (left) and Rotarian Ann Ayers Colvin (right) during Tuesday’s pinning ceremony.

“I am really big on student engagement,” Wilson said, adding that she wanted to “re-imagine” the student space on campus to have a “space for the students to hang out between classes and develop those friendships and relationships just like when you go away to a four year school.”

She said she wanted to start an endowment fund to help students that might need assistance purchasing books or having enough gas money to come to school. Other plans include the establishment of a student alumni connection group.

“I want to celebrate those that have graduated from Roane State,” Wilson said.

She also said a “special thank you” to Sen. Ken Yager and State Rep. Dennis Powers, who have been “instrumental in forging ahead and making these educational opportunities available for all Campbell County students,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she “loved Roane State and Campbell County,” and her main goal was to “honor the memory of Mr. Ed Wheeler.”

“He worked so hard to make sure Campbell County had a permanent campus. I want to make sure students and every community member has as many opportunities available at the Roane State Campbell County Center as possible,” Wilson said, adding she wanted students to feel connected and engaged. 

“I want to see them succeed and there’s a community full of folks that wants to see them succeed, because when they succeed, they become your future leaders and come back and give back to the community,” Wilson said.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/11/2023-6AM)