Meet an Innovator: Angela Ballentine

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At Vance Granville Community College, Dr. Angela Ballentine’s job title is listed as “Vice President of Instruction.” In that role, she is responsible for the staffing, program planning, oversight, budgeting, quality, integrity, research, implementation, and development of all VGCC curriculum programs and satellite campuses.

Angela Ballentine, Vice President of Instruction, Vance Granville Community College
Angela Ballentine, Vice President of Instruction, Vance Granville Community College

But Ballentine could also be known as “Community College Expert on Opening Early College High Schools,” after her key role in helping to create and implement the four early colleges that VGCC operates in partnership with local school districts and North Carolina New Schools. As the higher education partner for Vance County Early College High School, Granville Early College High School, Warren Early College High School and Franklin County Early College High School, VGCC has more early college programs than any other community college in North Carolina and at one time had more than any community college in the nation. Her work with early colleges earned her a President’s Leadership Award in 2010.

“The first year with Warren County and Vance County was an intense year to get two schools up and running at the same time,” Ballentine said. “The following years as we brought on Granville and Franklin counties, it was a much smoother transition because we had learned so much the first year. By then we had it down to a science.”

Ballentine brings the community college perspective to the early college planning process, considering everything from where to house the school to how to provide the right courses for high school students. She navigates the community college policies – including developing new ones as needed – to maintain the college criteria while also ensuring they have the right safety measures and supports in place to help younger students.

“These kids are leaving middle school after 8th grade and coming back from summer as college freshmen,” Ballentine said. “That’s an awesome experience for them and it can be very intimidating. But once we get students engaged, many of the faculty don’t even notice that they have high school students in class.” 

The relationship between the community college and the local school districts offers benefits to both sides, according to Ballentine. “We’ve learned a lot about the parameters that high schools have to work within and have found ways to make it all work,” Ballentine said. “In the end, we’ve built a much stronger connection with the local school districts that has really enhanced the whole partnership between the community college and the public schools.”

Bringing the early college high school program to the region was an obvious choice for Ballentine. “This is a wonderful opportunity for students in our four-county area, a chance to get a step ahead and have a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be in college programs,” Ballentine said. “And for the community college, it’s an opportunity to share the endless possibilities we offer in terms of education, training and personal enrichment. We are making sure our community’s needs are met and these students are preparing to contribute to the economic bottom line for our communities.”

Her enthusiasm for the early college program and her commitment to excellence for all students have made Ballentine an asset for the innovative approach. “Dr. Ballentine has always been an advocate for doing whatever it takes to serve students,” said Pauline Younts, program director for NC New Schools and former Granville County principal. “She never sees barriers, only opportunities to do things differently so that all students can access college and be successful. She always puts students first.”

Dr. Ballentine has worked at VGCC since 1991, first as an instructor and then as program head for radiography before being named Dean of Health Sciences in 1998 and promoted to Vice President of Instruction in 2007. A Rockingham County native, Ballentine earned both a bachelor’s degree in biology at Greensboro College and a certification from the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital School of Radiologic Technology in 1987. She worked as a radiologic technologist and mammography specialist for several years before joining VGCC. She later earned both a master’s degree in adult and community college education and a doctorate in higher education administration at North Carolina State University.

Ballentine is a graduate of the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program and has attended the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership and the Academy for Community College Leadership, Innovation, and Modeling at N.C. State. She is a member of the Oxford Rotary, where she is a Paul Harris Fellow, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.