Kathleen Plinske (MBA ’12) | February 2021

Kathleen Plinske

Plinske (MBA 2012) was recently named the next president of Valencia College in Orlando. She is the fifth and first female president of Valencia. 

Previously, Dr. Plinske served as Executive Vice President and Provost and as Campus President of the Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses at Valencia College. Prior to joining Valencia in 2010, Dr. Plinske began her career at McHenry County College, a community college in her hometown of Crystal Lake, Illinois. She was hired as an Instructional Media Specialist in 2001 and moved into a number of different roles over the next nine years, including Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, and ultimately, Interim President.

A graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Dr. Plinske attended Indiana University as a Herman B Wells Scholar, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Physics with highest distinction and honors. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she completed a Master of Arts in Spanish from Roosevelt University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida, and a Doctorate in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University.  She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida.

Actively involved in her community, Dr. Plinske serves on the Board of CareerSource Central Florida. She has served as Board Chair of the Education Foundation of Osceola County, President of the Rotary Club of Lake Nona, and has also served on the Board of the Osceola Center for the Arts, Junior Achievement of Osceola County, and the Lake Nona Education Council.  She has taught Spanish, mathematics, and leadership at Valencia College as well as graduate courses in educational leadership and e-learning for the University of Central Florida and Pepperdine University.

In 2012, Dr. Plinske was selected as Woman of the Year by the Orlando Business Journal in its 40 Under 40 competition and named as an Outstanding Young Alumnus by Indiana University.  She received the 2013 Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, and in 2014 received the Compadre Award from the Hispanic Business Council of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce and the Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.  Dr. Plinske was selected as an Aspen Presidential Fellow in 2016, was recognized as one of Pepperdine University’s Distinguished Alumni in 2017, and in 2019 was named by the University of Florida as one of 40 Gators Under 40, its recognition for outstanding young alumni.

Dr. Plinske is happily married to her husband, Larry W. Tyree, who shares her love for golf, the Florida Gators, the Chicago Cubs, and their dog, Cooper.