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 Jerry Buckley, the new president of Reedley College, stood next to the college’s “Clyde” statue on June 6. Buckley began his stint as president of Reedley College on June 3.

Despite his San Diego area roots, coming to the Central Valley felt like going home to Jerry Buckley, Reedley College’s new president.

“It’s a small community that has that warmth and special connection between people,” said Buckley, who officially started his new job on June 3. That tied in with the 63-year-old’s upbringing in rural San Diego County, where his first job in higher education was at Grossmont College (El Cajon) in 1990.

One of Buckley’s first official actions as president was attending the Reedley Middle College High School graduation on June 5. He talked about how RMCHS is a classic example of “dual enrollment.”

“Middle college high schools are very important, because it taps into one particular group of students that have unique needs,” he said. “What’s unique about Reedley? It’s really, with the rest of this district, worked hard to open up the doors for dual enrollment opportunities beyond just the middle college high school. So, it’s interesting that we now have so many different ways for students to advance their education quickly and effectively. [They can] either enter a job market or actually jump into a four-year university that much more effectively.”

Buckley has worked with middle college high school programs before, spending two years at Miramar College and six years in Santa Clarita when he was at College of the Canyons.

“Down in Santa Clarita, we had a waiting list of 400 students to get into that middle college high school,” he said.

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