The Honorable Kimberly Michelle Jenkins, an accomplished judge, attorney, entrepreneur, and exceptional community leader, has been named the Southwest Virginia Community College 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon outstanding graduates from Southwest Virginia Community College.  Since the establishment of the award in 1980, forty-one graduates of Southwest have been selected by a committee to receive the award.  This honored tradition is to acknowledge the achievements of exceptional alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements, and community service exemplify the vision of Southwest which is to transform lives, strengthen communities and inspire excellence.

Of her time at Southwest, Michelle says that “[Southwest] was a milestone in my life, that gave me confidence, motivation, and the enthusiasm to get to the next level.”

Michelle currently resides in Gate City, VA and is a native of Richlands, VA. She graduated from Highlight Academy of Education in Raven in 1988, and Southwest Virginia Community College in 1990 with an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies, Magna Cum Laude, where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She graduated from Emory & Henry College in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, Cum Laude, and with a Master’s Degree in City & Public Management from East Tennessee State University, Summa Cum Laude, in 1994. 

Over the next few years, she worked part-time in the Scott County Treasurer’s Office which led her in the direction to be a partner in opening a debt recovery business, Appalachian Regional Collections, LLC from 2000- 2006.  Having always been her desire to become an attorney, she was given a wonderful opportunity to participate in the Virginia Board of Bar Examiner’s Law Reader Program under Supervising Attorney Michael F. McClellan Carrico.  Upon her successful completion of that program in three years, she was eligible to take the Virginia Bar Exam and passed the examination upon her first attempt.  She was sworn into the Virginia State Bar on October 30, 2006. 

Michelle went on to maintain a full-time law practice in Gate City with both civil and criminal representations, as well as a focus on family law and real estate.  In addition, she was the town attorney of Gate City for a few years.  On December 31, 2011, she closed up her full-time practice and remained an active member of the Virginia State Bar to take a position as the District Director for Congressman Morgan Griffith in the 9th District of Virginia.  During the next 8 1/2 years, she traveled the 9th District of Virginia extensively with the Congressman, managed the district offices, worked with community leaders in efforts for economic development and projects, managed academic programs for the office like the Service Academy Nomination process and the Congressional Art Competition, and oversaw the process for constituent contact and issues that went through the district offices. During the General Assembly session of 2019, she was elected as a Juvenile & Domestic Relations Judge to the 30th Circuit of Virginia (Wise, Lee, Scott & City of Norton), effective July 1, 2019. Michelle and her husband, Ross, have been married for 28 years. During this time, Ross continues to operate his family business- the Hob Nob Drive In, where Michelle has provided an advisory role or an “as needed to help” role.  She attends a union church—Marble Point Methodist & Baptist Church, established as such in 1907, where she is the secretary/treasurer and pianist.  She considers herself an amateur birder, a vacation golfer, and a tremendous Notre Dame football fan.