New CEOs

Clifford P. Coppersmith will serve as the sixth president of Chesapeake College in Maryland. Coppersmith, 55, is currently dean of City College, an embedded community college within Montana State University, Billings. He’s been the school’s chief executive officer in charge of academics, student affairs, finance and facilities since 2015. Previously, Coppersmith held several administrative and academic positions, including more than 19 years at two institutions: Pennsylvania College of Technology, a special mission affiliate of the Pennsylvania State University; and Utah State University – Eastern, formerly the College of Eastern Utah. Coppersmith is a former commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard and an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Aaron R. Fichtner is now president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. Fichtner previously was commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, appointed to the position in September 2016. He served in leadership roles in the department since 2010, first as assistant commissioner for research and information and then as deputy commissioner for more than four years. Under his leadership, the department implemented new initiatives that expanded economic opportunity through innovative, data-driven partnerships with high schools, colleges, community-based organizations, libraries, industry associations and employers. Fichtner was chair of the National Association of State Liaisons for Workforce Development Partnerships, an affiliate of the National Governors Association, from February 2016 to January 2018. Before joining the department in 2010, Fichtner was director of research and evaluation at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

Amit Singh will become the next president of Edmonds Community College in Washington on June 25. With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, Singh currently is provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, a position he’s held since 2014, at Clark State Community College in Ohio. He previously served at Cuyahoga Community College’s western campus – the largest institution of the four-campus district – in Ohio, where he was dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer. Earlier in his career, Singh was dean of business and computer science at Montgomery County Community College (Pennsylvania) and an assistant dean of business and social science at Darton College in Georgia.

CEO retirements

Gary M. Green, president of Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina, plans to retiree on December 31. Green is the longest-serving president at Forsyth Tech, taking the helm in 2001. Under his leadership, the college become known as a leader in cybersecurity and was designated as a Center of Academic Excellence-Cyber Defense Education and named the East Central Regional Resource Center by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Forsyth Tech also partnered with Northern Virginia Community College and Goodwill International to establish national models for community college/Goodwill collaborations, once again bringing national attention to the college. Academic excellence led Forsyth Tech to be selected as one of four community colleges in the U.S. to pilot the National Association of Manufacturers Endorsed Skills Certification.

“Dr. Gary Green has well-served Forsyth Tech as its president, leading some of the school’s most sweeping changes in its history,” said Alan Proctor, chair of the college’s board. “During his tenure, he tremendously evolved the educational experience for our students, adding an array of new curricula, leading more than $100 million in facilities expansions, raising more than $33 million over two significant capital campaigns, and turning the school into a national educational model for biotechnology, cybersecurity, and motorsports technology.”

Green also has had national roles on the executive committee of the 2006-2009 American Association of Community Colleges board of directors and as chair of the association’s public policy and government relations committee. Green currently serves as legislative chair for the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents and has held this role for multiple terms.

Stephen C. Scott, president of Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina, has announced that he will retire, effective August 31. With a career spanning more than 40 years, Scott has been at the helm of Wake Tech since 2003. Under his leadership, the college has become the largest of the state’s 58 community colleges. Scott’s professional career began in South Carolina, where he served 16 years at two colleges – he was dean at Tri County Technical College and vice president at Greenville Technical College. In North Carolina, Scott was president of Southeastern Community College from 1988 to 1999, and then as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) from 1999 to 2002. He was president of Lenoir Community College from 2002 to 2003, before coming to Wake Tech. Scott has led Wake Tech through a period of unprecedented growth:
• Wake Tech’s student population has grown from 50,000 in 2003 to more than 74,000
• Full-time equivalent enrollment – upon which the college is funded – more than doubled, from 9,700 to more than 21,000
• The number of credentials (degree, diplomas, certificates) awarded grew from 1,911 to 8,754
• Total budget went from $60 million to $279 million

In 2008, Scoot was named the NCCCS President of the Year by the North Carolina Board of Community Colleges. He received the 2008 Business Leader of the Year Award from Business Leader magazine and the 2009 I.E. Ready Award from the North Carolina State University Department of Adult and Higher Education. In 2012, Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) named him one of the 100 Most Influential Business Persons in the Triangle area, and in 2016 TBJ named him a CEO of the Year.


David L. Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College and vice president for the Community Colleges, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, has received the 2018 Connecticut Higher Education Excellence Award from the New England Board of Higher Education. The board presents the award to individuals and organizations for exemplifying, through their work, excellence in promoting sound education practices and policies, efficient sharing of education resources, and leadership to strengthen the relationship between higher education and the economic well-being of New England.

Suzanne LaVenture, director of international education and a Spanish faculty member at Davidson County Community College in North Carolina, has received the Werner Kubsch Award from the Community Colleges for International Development. The honor goes to an educator with outstanding achievement in international education related to community colleges and similar institutions worldwide.


Stephanie Sutton has been named vice president of enrollment management at Stark State College in Ohio. She previously was associate provost of enrollment management and student success at Lorain County Community College. Sutton also is president of the Ohio Chief Student Affairs Officers and has served as a pathways coach for the American Association of Community Colleges and on the Ohio Department of Higher Education Multiple Measures Assessment Committee.

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