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Ava L. Parker, President

Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker leads Palm Beach County’s largest higher education institution with a strategic approach that emphasizes innovation, student success, and business and community collaboration. Parker is the first female president in the history of the institution, which opened in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college. Under Parker’s leadership, the college opened a fifth campus, improved student success rates, and increased enrollment. PBSC was also awarded the top status of GOLD in the Florida College System's 2017 rankings. 

An esteemed educational leader at the local, state, and national levels, Parker serves on the Association of Community College Trustees' national advisory committee of presidents and is actively engaged in the American Association of Community Colleges. She also served as the 2018-19 chair of the Florida College System Council of Presidents.

Before joining Palm Beach State, Parker was the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Florida Polytechnic University, where she was the first executive hired to develop the institution's mission and vision as the state’s only STEM-focused university. She also served for more than a decade on the Florida Board of Governors for the State University System, including serving as board chair.

Parker’s leadership extends beyond higher education. She is on the board of directors of Orchid Island Capital, a publicly-traded specialty finance company. She is also a founding board member of Coastal Community Bank and a member of the Florida Council of 100, the Women’s International Leadership Forum, and Leadership Florida Class XXI. She is a former president of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association. Parker is also active in community organizations, including the Business/Leadership Development Board of Palm Beach County, the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, and the Academic Leaders Council of Palm Beach County.

Parker is a native of Santa Rosa County in northwest Florida and earned her BA and JD degrees from the University of Florida.