News: Quick Takes

Search committee for new community college chief vows thorough process

CJ file photo
CJ file photo

RALEIGH — The N.C. Community College system is looking for a new president, and the hire may not be an easy one.

The system’s search committee — set to begin work in a couple of weeks — will conduct a thorough review of the candidates, said Scott Shook, chair of the State Board of Community Colleges.

His announcement follows the abrupt resignation of former system President James Williamson, who left the job Sept. 30, only 13 months after taking office. Williamson, the former president of South Carolina’s technical college system, gave no reason for his departure.

This time, the board will consider candidates close to home, Shook said.

“There does not need to be a learning curve with the next president,”  he told legislators at a Nov. 7 meeting of the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. “We need someone who’s very knowledgeable about the [community college] system.”

The search committee may consider a business insider, or even someone with a background in politics, he added. Board members will weigh candidates’ abilities to work with college presidents and negotiate with legislators.

“Quite frankly, that’s not a job for everybody. We need somebody that enjoys it, and somebody that’s good and effective in that role.”

Shook previously declined to comment on Williamson’s resignation. His list of expectations for the next system president is very pointed, however.

There is no hiring timeline, but the search committee will work quickly, he said.

Jennifer Haygood, the system’s chief of staff, currently serves as interim president. Her salary is $270,000. Williamson was hired at $285,000.