For the past seven years, Atkinson performed the public relations and marketing for South Texas Independent School District (STISD), one of the top-performing school districts in the state and nation. Though she was a one-person department, it did not stop her from taking the magnet school district to a new level of visibility and prestige. In the time she served at STISD, enrollment increased by 88 percent.
LSC-Tomball President Dr. Susan Karr was very impressed by Atkinson’s qualifications and character.
“Andi really stood out, and I am delighted that she has joined us,” Karr said. “She is uniquely qualified to provide the leadership necessary to promote our college and to sustain and strengthen our relationships with our community and service area.”
A native Texan, Atkinson graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos in May 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg in July 2010.
Atkinson began her profession in 1995 in Central Texas, where she worked in the private sector. She moved back to her hometown of Harlingen in 2001 and began her career in education in 2003 when she went to work for STISD. It was at STISD where she fell in love with school public relations.
“School PR is so rewarding. In education, you can truly make a difference in the life of a student…and I get to tell all those stories,” Atkinson said.
Though her job was secure, she applied for the Dean of College Relations position at LSC-Tomball because she believed in the mission of the college.
“Community colleges play such an important role because they offer all students an affordable, quality education,” Atkinson said. “I also wanted to continue working in education, but I wanted to move on to higher education at some point. I researched Lone Star College, and it had an excellent reputation. It just seemed to be a good fit, and I felt honored when I was selected for the position.”
Atkinson, 39, is married to Brad Shields, an attorney. She has two daughters, 13-year-old Tesla and two-year-old Teresa. She now calls Tomball “home.”
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With more than 69,000 students in credit classes for fall 2010 and a total enrollment of more than 85,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of five colleges: LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris and LSC-Tomball; six centers; LSC-University Park; LSC-University Center at Montgomery; LSC-University Center at University Park; Lone Star Corporate College; and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.