Lake Charles native discusses new role as Louisiana's higher education commissioner

Lake Charles native discusses new role as Louisiana's higher education commissioner
Kim Hunter Reed (Source: Colorado Department of Higher Education)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The next person to oversee college campuses across our state is someone some might recognize.

Lake Charles native Kim Hunter Reed was selected to become Louisiana's Commissioner of Higher Education after a months-long search.

"It's a wonderful feeling and a wonderful opportunity," said Reed.

Reed was chosen over three other finalists for the job.

"When the phone rings and people say to you your state needs you, they need your leadership, you take the call," she said.

She's currently the Executive Director of Colorado's Department of Higher Education and believes that job along with her previous experience has prepared her for this role.

"The foundation and the important work that has to be done is very similar," she said. "The states are very different, and so I'm excited to bring what I've learned from Colorado to Louisiana."
 
Reed's new job will allow her to oversee and head up policy decisions when it comes to our public universities, and the more than 200,000 students that attend them.

She understands the struggles our higher education system has been facing and wants to create a plan to make sure students further their education here in Louisiana.

"We need to make sure that we are keeping our best and brightest, (and)  that we have a financial aid package and a financing package that allows students that are meritorious and who are needy to have access to education," she said.

But Reed isn't a stranger to Louisiana, in fact, some might recognize her from her time here at KPLC.

Before Reed focused her talents on education she was anchoring 7News here in Lake Charles back in the early 90's.

"It's home," she said. "I grew up there. I'm a Saint Louis graduate, (and) a Saint Margaret's graduate as well so it's a special place.

As Reed gets ready to make the move back, she says she's committed and ready to make a difference for students here in our state.

"I'm looking forward to getting started," she said. "I'm very excited about the opportunity. I know that there's a heavy lift and a lot of work to be done, and so I'm honored to have the opportunity to do this important work in my state."

The current commissioner plans to retire in June, and Reed says she plans to take over in July.

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