College President

Dr. Rachel Solemsaas, President

Dr. Rachel Solemsaas

Dr. Rachel Solemsaas was named president of North Seattle College, effective July 1, 2024, after serving as interim president beginning in September 2023. Her career spans more than three decades in progressive public service. Dr. Solemsaas’ journey includes 20 years in leadership and administrative roles at community colleges, where she has held chief executive officer positions. Prior to being named interim president for North Seattle College, she served as chancellor of Hawai‘i Community College for seven years. Her unwavering commitment to institutions aligns with her personal values as an anti-poverty activist and social justice advocate.

Dr. Solemsaas also made substantial contributions as the chief financial officer or chief business officer at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada, Bellevue College, and Edmonds College, both in Washington State. Prior to her tenure in the community and technical college system, she served Snohomish County and King County in various finance-related capacities, supporting public governance, community development, health, and human services.

She served as Board Director for the American Association of Community Colleges, the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students. She has also served as a Commissioner for the Northwest Commission for College and Universities since 2020, as the Board Director and past president of the National Asian Pacific Islander Council, and as a member of the Hawai'i Leadership Forum as an Omidyar Fellows.

Her commitment to social causes is evident in her role in Collective Impact Movements and impactful organizations in her community. She played a pivotal role in the establishment of Vibrant Hawai'i, serving as its inaugural board chair. Under her guidance, Vibrant Hawai'i evolved from an anti-poverty movement to a catalyst for creating opportunities and abundance for the Hawai'i Island community. Her dedication to community welfare is further demonstrated by her support for the Child Advocacy Center in Snohomish County, known as Dawson Place, and her appointment as Snohomish County Children's Commissioner.

Dr. Solemsaas holds a doctorate of education with an emphasis on community college leadership from Washington State University, a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington, and a bachelor of science in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines.

She considers the Pacific Northwest her home. Her humble beginnings as an immigrant started at Lake City Way in Seattle, Washington, in 1986, when her family moved from the Philippines due to opportunities with Boeing. She met her husband, Ron, in Renton and raised their family, settling in Lake Stevens, Washington. Today, they enjoy being grandparents.