Jefferson College appoints first female president in school’s history


Dena McCaffrey

As Jefferson College welcomes students back for the school year, it is under new leadership.

Dena McCaffrey became the eighth president of Jefferson College in July, following the retirement of Raymond Cummiskey June 30. Over the past year, McCaffrey served as president-elect in preparation for the leadership transition.

She is the first female president in the community college’s nearly 60-year history.

“Student success has always been and will continue to be my top priority,” McCaffrey said in the announcement. “I look forward to working with faculty, staff, and the community to ensure that we continue to live the College’s mission by delivering quality learning opportunities that empower individuals to achieve their goals.”

McCaffrey served as dean of career and technical Education from 2013-2019, where she was responsible for senior administrative functions, supervision, administration of college policies and procedures, and grant management for all CTE programs. She also held the positions of interim dean and director of outreach and educational sites.

“In a world that is increasingly unpredictable, the college is committed to providing the highest quality education to our students and community through a variety of programs, classes, and formats,” she added. “Having a strong education is one of the best things you can do to prepare for any uncertainties. We’re ready to meet the challenges of today and the unforeseen demands of the future.”

Prior to Jefferson College, she was employed with Jewish Community Center as director of sales and marketing/senior director of sales and marketing and with St. Louis University as associate director, MBA and graduate business programs and program coordinator, Boeing Institute of International Business. McCaffrey has also held positions at the St. Louis Science Center and Maritz.  

She has been involved in a variety of community and professional organizations including the Jefferson-Franklin County Workforce Development Board, Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, Arnold Rotary Club, Missouri Community College Association, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Career and Technical Education Advisory Council, Missouri Association of Career and Technical Education and St. John Vianney High School.

McCaffrey earned her doctorate in higher education administration, along with her master’s of business administration and a certificate in women’s leadership from St. Louis University. She also received her Bachelor of Science in business administration in marketing and communications from Fontbonne University.

McCaffrey and her husband, Pete, have three children.