NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Smith College Board of Trustees has announced its new president.

Sarah Willie-LeBreton has been named the college’s 12th president. She has been the provost and dean of the faculty at Swarthmore College where she has taught since 1997. She specializes in higher education, social inequality, community building, and African-American Culture.

Willie-LeBreton will take office at Smith College on July 1st, 2023.

Speaking at the President’s House Thursday, Willie-LeBreton said her game plan is to focus on listening to all members of the Smith community and make collaborative decisions. 22News asked her what challenges she anticipates to take on as president. She said this is a tough moment for higher education with COVID and also taking on the implications of inequality.

“We’re also faced with a crisis of confidence that many people have in our education system,” said Willie-LeBreton. “Together we’ll do an even better job communicating just how important what we offer at Smith is.”

Willie-LeBreton will replace President Kathleen McCartney who has been president since 2013.

Alison Overseth, chair of Smith’s board of trustees, commented, “In Sarah, we have found the extraordinary leader that the community intended as we began the search process. She has the vision, energy and strategic leadership experience necessary to move Smith toward our highest aspirations and goals for the future. Throughout the course of her career, she has demonstrated the courage to engage in challenging conversations and make difficult decisions while simultaneously exuding the joy, warmth, and curiosity that is required to lead an institution with empathy and integrity.”