Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited for clarity and length.
Forsyth Technical Community College’s newest president doesn’t have a lot of free time — but with the time she does have, she’s helping the college make strides after taking the reins from retired president Gary Green.
Dr. Janet Spriggs has worked in a variety of roles in the N.C. community college system for 22 years, most recently as the chief operating officer at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury. She’s not without accolades, either — the prestigious Aspen Institute selected her for the 2018-2019 Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence.
As Spriggs and her husband get used to living here, they enjoy eating out at Willow’s Bistro, Mary’s Gourmet Diner, West End Café, Milner’s, and Jeffrey Adams. Spriggs recently dished about the direction she’s taking the college and what she thinks about Winston-Salem.
What’s new on the horizon for Forsyth Tech?
“We are going to evolve to meet our students’ needs today while also keeping an eye on the future. We are building our Aviation Lab and moving forward with plans to begin new avionics programs. We are also exploring other aviation-related industry needs that will position us to drive economic development and advancement at the Smith Reynolds Airport.
“We’re a leader in cyber defense education and will continue to grow both our certification and degree programs to meet the workforce needs in our region.
“Another new thing is we’ve been accepted as a member of the Achieving the Dream network. We are committed to expanding access and improving success for all students. Our tagline for this exciting work is ‘Creating Pathways to Dreams’ — that is what we do at Forsyth Tech.”
What have you enjoyed about this new role?
“I honestly cannot think of anything I haven’t enjoyed so far. I tell people this is my dream job, but for me, it really isn’t a job — it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I get to go to Forsyth Tech every day and work with a host of committed and passionate faculty and staff who really do believe in the power of education to empower lives and transform communities.”
What challenges have you had with stepping into the role?
“I think my greatest challenge with stepping into this new role has been time — there simply are not enough hours in the day for me to be able to take advantage of all of the opportunities available for us to make an even greater impact on the lives of our students and the communities we serve. I have tried to balance the internal and external requirements of the role and have worked diligently to meet as many of our community leaders and stakeholders as possible, but I really need about five more hours each day.”
What do you like most about Winston?
“So far, my favorite thing about Winston-Salem is its small-town heart. I grew up in Milton, N.C., a very small town in Caswell County about 80 miles northeast from here. I think I will always be a small-town girl at heart, and even though Winston has all the conveniences that come with a metropolitan area, it also has a kind, sweet soul that I find remarkable for a city this size.”