COA close to decision on president


Currituck Commissioner Paul O'Neal


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Saturday, March 18, 2017

College of The Albemarle could have a new president by the end of next week, the chairman of COA's Board of Trustees said this week.

Board Chairman Paul O'Neal said Thursday trustees met for roughly three hours in executive session on Wednesday to discuss the four finalists for the president’s job and to make an offer to one they considered the top candidate.

O’Neal declined to name the finalist trustees agreed was the best choice, but said the decision was based on a ranking system that asked trustees for their first, second, third and fourth choices for the job. Trustees used the ranking system as a precaution in case the first choice declines the job. The position will then be offered to the second-ranked finalist, he said.

The four finalists for the president’s job are: Deborah Grimes, senior vice president of instruction and student services at Lenoir Community College in Kinston; Keith Mackie, executive vice president at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory; Gene Smith, vice president of academic and student services at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro; and Bob Wynegar, vice president of academic and student affairs at Western Nevada College in Carson City, Nevada.

COA trustees' recommendation is currently a pending a review by the State Board of Community Colleges in Raleigh, which is standard procedure when a community college trustee board reaches a decision on hiring a president.

O'Neal said once he receives state board approval of trustees’ choice, he'll contact that person and make an offer of employment. Trustees and the candidate are then expected to negotiate issues like salary before signing a contract, he said.

Asked when he'd like to have the college’s next president hired, O’Neal said, "Hopefully by the end of next week."

All four finalists toured COA’s four campuses and attended public forums where they answered questions from the audience. COA interim President Kennon Briggs led the forums and escorted the finalists during their visits. Each of the four finalists also met privately with trustees.

The finalists are seeking to succeed Kandi Deitemeyer, who resigned at the end of 2016 to become the new president at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. Deitemeyer had been COA's president since April 2010.