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Divisional Dean Poole retiring, Connor stepping in

Portrait of Shelle Poole
Dr. Shelle Poole is retiring as the Divisional Dean in July.

The School of Nursing recently announced a series of leadership changes occurring in July 2024. After 29 years in various leadership roles, Shelle Poole is retiring from her current position as the school’s divisional dean.

Amidst the leadership transitions, the school’s overall culture of diligence and enthusiasm continues to thrive. The new leaders were chosen by their peers and aim to seamlessly lead the School of Nursing to its next chapter.

“Where we are now, as a team, brings me deep joy,” said Poole. “I know our team has the skills, knowledge and collaborative nature to propel the School of Nursing into the future. Within our school we believe in ‘growing our own’, and it is with this value that we name our new interim leaders.”

Poole retiring in July

In over 13 years at Boise State, Poole taught in six different departments within three colleges. She received multiple faculty teaching and service awards before joining the School of Nursing staff in 2018. A year later she stepped in as associate divisional dean, and, in 2020, she advanced to divisional dean.

Poole stands at a podium in her doctoral regalia and addresses the faculty in their regalia standing in front of her.
Poole addresses the crowd attending Convocation.

“Leading at the School of Nursing during a pandemic was one of the most significant leadership challenges I have faced,” Poole said. “Serving alongside nurses has been one of the most incredible experiences, and I have deep respect for what they do everyday.”

Poole will step down from her current role in July 2024. She is a dynamic leader whose diverse career bridged the private sector and academia. Her expertise lies in organizational and business leadership, as well as strategic management.

Spurlock and Poole stand at the front of a lecture hall speaking jovially with members of the community.
Spurlock and Poole (top left and right) prioritize partnerships with the community. They are pictured here during the School of Nursing Community Showcase event in fall 2022.

In her 20 years at Hewlett-Packard, she focused on leading business improvements, organizational design and transformational leadership. She also led multiple pan-enterprise initiatives and worked in innovation incubator teams.

Poole has a passion for meeting Idaho’s workforce needs, with particular emphasis on attracting and retaining talent through workplace culture. With deep Idaho roots and a heart for the community, she often consults with companies in order to build organizational culture and advance the workforce of tomorrow. She is a certified Project Management Professional and a Lean Sigma Master Black Belt.

Poole holds her Ph.D in adult and organizational leadership from the University of Idaho and her master’s in organizational leadership from George Fox University. A Bronco from the beginning, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Boise State University.

Connor steps in

Dr. Kelley Connor, the current director of simulation-based education and research, will step into the role of divisional dean and chief nurse administrator.

With a bent toward innovation and collaboration, Connor has been active in teaching, research and service her entire career. In addition to instructing undergraduate and graduate courses, study-abroad courses and simulations, Connor has a robust research portfolio advancing simulation and education technology.

Her scholarship focuses on computer-based virtual clinicals; simulations in multi-user online environments; and virtual reality clinical experiences. Several of Connor’s endeavors also include partnerships with colleagues from around the world.

Kelley Connor wears her doctoral regalia to attend Convocation and waves at the camera from the top of a staircase.
Poole is mentoring Dr. Kelley Connor to take on the role of divisional dean in July 2024.

Connor is deeply invested in developing Boise State’s educators and actively fosters faculty mentoring opportunities at the School of Nursing. She is a fellow in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing program, and in fall 2023 she was inducted as a fellow in the National League for Nursing’s prestigious Academy of Nursing Education.

“Dr. Kelley Connor has been a Boise State School of Nursing team member for nearly 18 years, and we are thrilled that she has brought her commitment and energy to a new leadership role within the school,” said Poole. “Kelley has worked tirelessly on innovations with our simulation team over the past few years, and we look forward to her fresh ideas as the breadth of her leadership expands.”

Connor holds a Ph.D in nursing with a minor in informatics from the University of Kansas. She will serve as interim divisional dean until Joelle Powers, the recently-announced next College of Health Sciences dean, conducts a national search for the permanent position.