Edythe Abdullah

Dr. Edythe Abdullah has 33 years of experience in higher education. Her first 25 years of experience was at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) during which she was the former Campus President of the Downtown Campus. Ms. Abdullah, left FSCJ to become President of Essex County College (ECC) where she was the sixth, and first female, president of ECC. Dr. Abdullah’s Florida and New Jersey community and professional affiliations were extensive. She was on the boards of the Youth Leadership Jacksonville, Leadership Jacksonville, Newark Regional Business Partnership, the Newark Alliance, and the Newark Youth Policy Board. She sat on numerous national education advisory councils, including the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers and the National Advisory Council for Job Corps.

She previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Florida and chaired the Jacksonville Community Council Inc.’s study on adult literacy and its impact on economic development. In March 2012, Dr. Abdullah was identified as one of the 50 most influential blacks in New Jersey by Black Village magazine. She currently serves as a Jax Chamber Trustee, Word Affairs Council Board member, River City Science Academy Advisory Board, Nine in 15 Steering Committee and on the Operation New Hope Board.

Dr. Abdullah currently works at the University of North Florida (UNF) as Dean of the Division of Continuing Education. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida and earned two bachelor degrees from Valparaiso University in Indiana. She also earned a Leadership Certificate, Management of Lifelong Education from Harvard University and was a Kellogg Fellow with the League for Innovation in Community Colleges.

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I chose to join the Board of Directors for Operation New Hope because I believe in its vision, mission, programs and documented outcomes. I have been affiliated with Operation New Hope (ONH) for many years. I first learned of the efforts of Kevin Gaye and his staff when I was employed by Florida State College at Jacksonville. We provided adult education courses to ONH. However, ONH’s impact on individuals is far greater than helping them earn a GED. ONH seeks to ensure each client has a fresh new start in Jacksonville and a career ahead of them. As a University of North Florida dean I’m challenged to help ONH identify training opportunities and partnerships that help individuals re-entering society earn an income that can lead to self-sufficiency. I’m a strong believer in the empowerment that comes from education and soft skills development. ONH embraces that belief and effectively collaborates with educators and employers to make personal and career success possible for anyone willing to learn the skills and walk to journey. This program works and I’m willing to work with it!

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