Jo Ann Higdon takes temporary role as VP of Business Services

Jo+Ann+Higdon%2C+on+Thursday%2C+Oct.+6+at+the+administrations+building+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.%2C+stepped+into+the+role+of+acting+vice+president+of+business+services+during+Vice+President+Lyndsay+Maas%E2%80%99s+leave.+Higdon+has+worked+for+numerous+California+community+colleges+over+the+past+25+plus+years.

Jenna McMahon

Jo Ann Higdon, on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the administrations building in Santa Barbara, Calif., stepped into the role of acting vice president of business services during Vice President Lyndsay Maas’s leave. Higdon has worked for numerous California community colleges over the past 25 plus years.

Ella Todd, Staff Writer

Jo Ann Higdon has stepped into her role as City College’s Business Services acting Vice President. She will only occupy the position for a short period of time as Lyndsay Maas takes a leave of absence.

With nearly 30 years of experience at California community colleges under her belt, Higdon said she is excited to be in Santa Barbara. Over the past two weeks, she’s been familiarizing herself with City College’s operations and seems to feel comfortable in her role already. Off campus, Higdon has loved exploring Santa Barbara with her husband and chatting with new neighbors.

“People are so friendly,” she said.

At City College, the business services division works behind-the-scenes of many different departments to support students, faculty, and staff. Higdon’s role is demanding, but she sees it as rewarding and exciting to help community colleges be the best they can. 

She graduated from Saint Louis University in Missouri and is a Certified Public Accountant. Beginning her career at College of The Desert, she has worked at schools across the country. In 2017 she retired from El Camino College and has been doing temporary work at community colleges like Saddleback and LA Trade Tech.

Higdon explains that when she started working at El Camino in 2008, Compton College had just lost their accreditation a couple years prior. 

“Between ‘06 and ‘08, they had struggled to keep their doors open,” she said. “It was firefighting, and I walked into a horrible accounting situation.”

Higdon joined the team that eventually got Compton College back on their feet, working on Compton’s finances four days a week for her first two years at El Camino.

“Taking Compton from having their accreditation revoked to bringing it up to fully accredited was one of the best professional experiences I’ve ever had,” she said.

Higdon also fondly looks back on her time teaching with San Diego State University on the island of Saipan. Saipan is a small island near Guam, and Higdon taught in the “fifth-year program,” which gives K-12 educators a chance to increase their wages by taking more graduate-level courses. She wanted to teach local K-12 teachers and community college professors about finances and foundations, among other things like human resources.

“My love is foundations,” Higdon said. “I knew that area was hurting to have a professional approach to fundraising and I think my time there was a huge success.”

Higdon has worked at different schools for most of her life and is just as passionate as she was when she first started her career. She also loves to travel with her husband and hopes to check some spots off her bucket list in the coming years. 

For now, she’s excited to continue to explore Santa Barbara and is determined to make the most of her time at City College, where her expertise is welcomed and appreciated as part of the Business Services division.