Edwards, who was born in Oregon and spent much of her life there, said she was intrigued by the job posting for the top human resources job at the East County college district.
“When I looked into the position, it seemed like a good fit with my background and experience and would allow me the opportunity to work with two great colleges in a great climate – decision made!” she said.
Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said the district will benefit from Edwards’ experience and knowledge in labor law and personnel issues, as well as her skills in contract negotiations.
“We are very fortunate to have someone with Marsha’s talents and keen perceptions,” she said. “In these economically challenging times and with the tenuous budget picture, it is crucial to have someone with her adeptness and expertise in personnel management. I am delighted to have her aboard as a member of the district leadership.”
Before joining the district in September, Edwards had worked since 2010 as the human resources dean for Clackamas Community College, a 38,000-student, three-campus college based in Oregon City. She also worked during two separate stretches for Linn-Benton Community College, a 23,000-student campus in Albany, first as the employment services manager in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, then as the human resources director for four years prior to her job at Clackamas. She has also held HR management positions with the cities of Lebanon and Portland, Ore.
She started her career in 1991 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she spent eight years as a personnel specialist, recruitment coordinator and trainer, and simultaneously earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in management and minoring in pre-law. She has gone on to earn a master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.
“I started my education at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno when I was around 24,” she said. “I took classes when I could afford it, while raising my family and working, so it was challenging, as it is for so many of our students. When we moved back to Oregon, I was lucky enough to get a job at Oregon State University and continued my education there.”
Edwards remembers her first job at a tree farm in Elkton, Ore., grading trees – work she describes as mind-numbingly dull. “Your job consists of standing by a conveyer belt and sorting trees for size and quality for distribution to the local nurseries,” she said.
As for her chosen field, one thing that appeals to her is that, unlike her first job on the tree farm, it is never dull.
“I enjoy the variety of people and issues I get work with, and that no two days are the same,” she said. “I enjoy working on process redesign and adapting to new technology, basically assisting the organization in finding the best solutions.”
And what does she view as the biggest challenge at her new job?
“Learning the committee structure and how our processes work here at the district – and, of course, learning new names and faces,” she said.
Edwards and her husband, Mike, are now living in Lakeside and spend their spare time house-hunting. The mother of two sons and two step-daughters – all grown – Edwards said her family obligations consist these days of her husband and two Lhasa apsos.
“I’m not a big hobby person, but I do have a major weakness for dogs,” she said.