Jill Wakefield, the former chancellor of Seattle Colleges, is coming out of retirement to lead Bellevue College for a year.

Share story

Jill Wakefield, the chancellor of Seattle Colleges who retired this summer, didn’t stay retired for long: She’s agreed to become the interim president of Bellevue College for the next year.

Bellevue College’s president, David Rule, resigned this month. The college has described it as a mutual decision and an amicable parting.

“We’re thrilled Jill is available — she’s got an incredible reputation, a long history of running, as chancellor, one of the largest institutions around,” said Lisa Chin, president of the Bellevue College board of trustees.

Chin said one of Wakefield’s conditions for accepting the job was that the college immediately launch a search for a permanent president. “We agreed we would get right on it,” Chin said.

It usually takes about a year to find a college president — a process that starts with a fall search and a list of finalists selected in the spring. New college presidents typically start their jobs during the summer, Chin said.

Chin said Wakefield would not be a caretaker: “We need her to move the college forward,” she said. One of Bellevue College’s highest-profile initiatives is its plans to form a partnership with Washington State University to offer bachelor’s degrees on the Bellevue campus.