Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D.

Rachel Desmarais is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC. She completed her bachelor’s degree from Mars College and additional undergraduate work at Forsyth Technical Community College. She received a master’s degree in Information Systems Technology Management at University of North Carolina Greensboro. She earned her Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Technology from Old Dominion University, where her research focused on online and technology-enhanced education in community colleges. During her doctoral work, Rachel developed an interest in bringing research to practice.

Rachel has 18 years’ experience in education as instructor, department chair, vice president, and, currently, chief operating officer. Her responsibilities have included college accreditation, information technology, and strategic planning. She also has held a variety of technology and management positions in the manufacturing and legal industries.

In addition to her professional role at Forsyth Technical Community College, Rachel is active in her community. She serves on several community boards and is board chair of Forsyth Futures, a non-profit community research and data organization. She has held several volunteer leadership roles with the Moravian Church. She pursues her avocational interest in music as a member of the Southern Appalachian Choral Singers. She, her husband, and two sons live in Forsyth County, just outside Winston-Salem. As a former community college student, through her role as instructor, and in her current position as administrator, she is passionate about putting students’ data to work for their success.