Wilkes Community College president named new head of statewide system
- Wilkes Community College President Jeff Cox will serve as the next president of the N.C. Community College System.
- In addition to leading a community college campus since 2014, Cox has served as a school superintendent in Alleghany County, an assistant superintendent in Lee County, and a school principal in Union County.
Wilkes Community College President Jeff Cox will serve as the 11th president of the N.C. Community College System. The system’s board approved the hire Friday.
Cox had led the Wilkes campus since 2014. He served as superintendent of Alleghany County Schools from 2015 to 2014. He had served since 2022 as head of the N.C. Community College Presidents’ Association, according to a system news release.
“Dr. Jeff Cox has proven to be among the best education leaders in the country during his time at Wilkes Community College and as a North Carolina K-12 superintendent, and we’re excited to announce Dr. Cox as the new president of the North Carolina Community College System,” said board chair Burr Sullivan in the release. “We know our community colleges need strong statewide leadership and dynamic future-forward approaches to business and workforce development and Dr. Cox is that leader.”
The community college system touted Cox’s record of “more than doubling the completion rate” at Wilkes from 25% to 55% over five years. The news release also cites Cox’s work developing a strategic plan “seen as a national model,” along with raising $20 million for strategic initiatives and launching Wilkes Community College Education Promise. The fully endowed program aims “to guarantee the opportunity for a tuition-free college education for every graduating senior in the service area,” according to the release.
“I’m excited and ready to lead this great System through a time of dynamic change and tremendous opportunity. North Carolina community colleges are the catalyst for workforce development and growth for our state, and now is the time for innovation, collaboration, and partnerships,” Cox said. “The North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Cooper have done an exemplary job in setting the conditions to make North Carolina #1 in the country for business. I look forward to building strong connections with our state leaders and other key stakeholders to make sure we have the best prepared workforce in the country to meet the needs of our businesses and industries so we can fully realize our shared vision for the future of North Carolina.”
Before working as a superintendent, Cox was an assistant superintendent for Lee County Schools and a principal at a year-round school in Union County. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Appalachian State University and a doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The N.C. Community College System serves nearly 600,000 students at 58 colleges. It’s the third-largest community college system in the United States.