Born in Savannakhet, Laos, Dr. Ketmani Kouanchao emigrated to the United States in 1979. She grew up in Minneapolis with her three sisters, one brother and her parents. Today she is the Dean of Student Services at Mendocino College.
Ketmani Kouanchao earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota in 1993. There she majored in Sociology, Public Health and East Asian Studies. She earned her Master’s in Education in 1997 with a concentration on Family Education. Kouanchao received her Ed.D. in Education as part of the first cohort of CSU-Fullerton’s program in Community College Leadership. Her dissertation was on student holistic identity development among Lao American college students.
She was involved with the SatJaDham Lao Literary Project in its early years and was featured in several of their anthologies. She writes occasionally for community media such as the Twin Cities Daily Planet and for Lao American blogs like Little Laos on the Prairie. She is an editor of the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement. Among her distinctions, she was a 2012 Honor an Educator Recipient from California State University-Fullerton and received the 2014 Administrator of the Year Award from Mt San Jacinto College. In 2014, the 3rd Ward of Minneapolis recognized October 5th as Ketmani Kouanchao Day.