MCC’s Tyjaun Lee among 28 new college presidents to be honored by Phi Theta Kappa

Metropolitan Community College’s Tyjaun A. Lee, Ph.D., will be one of 28 recipients of the Phi Theta Kappa Paragon Award for New Presidents this year.

Tyjaun Lee visits with students during “Pastries With the President” at the Health Science Institute, part of MCC-Penn Valley, in January.

PTK, the international academic honor society for two-year colleges, bestows the award on presidents “who have shown strong support of student success by recognizing academic achievement, leadership and service among high-achieving students at their college.”

Lee is president of MCC’s Maple Woods and Penn Valley campuses. She joined the College in August 2017, initially as president of Penn Valley.

PTK says more than 500 college presidents were eligible for the Paragon Award. Recipients should have served no more than three years at their current institution as of Dec. 5, 2019. A president can receive the award only once.

Students in the PTK chapter at MCC-Penn Valley nominated Lee for the Paragon Award. Among other things, they mentioned:

  • In addition to attending all chapter induction ceremonies, Lee “encourages and motivates current members as well as new inductees to work hard in their academics, to strive for better and to push to be their best.”
  • She supports the PTK chapter financially, including approving four students to attend the 2019 PTK convention.
  • She supported the Penn Valley chapter’s 2019 College Project, working with the Jackson County Family Court Services youth division.

Phi Theta Kappa will recognize the Paragon winners at PTK Catalyst 2020, the society’s annual convention, April 2-4 in the Greater Dallas area.

A former MCC-Penn Valley president will also receive the Paragon Award this year. Joe Seabrooks, who was MCC-Blue River president before moving to Penn Valley, currently leads Cedar Valley College in Texas, part of the Dallas County Community College District.

Among Lee’s other honors, she was inducted into the Black Achievers Society of Greater Kansas City in 2019. She serves on the board of directors of the Urban Ranger Corps, which provides young men in the urban core of Kansas City with positive role models, tutors and life skills. She also serves on the Broadway Westport Council, which oversees community development projects. She is the current president of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. She received the 2019 Tribute to Success award from Connections to Success, for which she is a board member. She has served as past president of the National Council on Student Development. She is a member of the Presidents’ Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs, which is affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges.

A Cleveland native, Lee attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She holds a bachelor’s degree in specialized studies; a master’s in education; and a doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis in higher education administration.

She came to MCC from Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, where she was vice president for student affairs.

Lee at a welcome-week event at MCC-Maple Woods in Fall 2018

Phi Theta Kappa recognizes the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helps them grow as scholars and leaders. The organization is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with about 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges.

According to PTK, its student members have a 91 percent student success rate. Research has shown that strong presidential leadership and support of PTK increases member success and the depth of students’ college experience.