Newsmakers

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Interim CEOs

Darrell L. Cain will serve as interim president at Everett Community College (EvCC) in Washington. He is currently president of Pierce College Puyallup and has worked in higher education for almost 20 years with leadership roles at community and technical colleges across the country.

The college’s board of trustees noted Cain’s success building campus and community partnerships, as well as his experience with the Washington state community and technical college system and advocacy for students. At Pierce, the community college alumnus also taught at least one class every year to ensure he has firsthand knowledge of challenges facing students and faculty.

“He is a leader who has equity at the center of everything he does,” said EvCC trustee Bob Bolerjack.

Prior to Pierce, Cain was vice chancellor for student affairs at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. He also served as vice president for academic affairs at Eastfield College in Dallas and was dean for academic affairs at Atlanta Technical College. Cain has taught part-time throughout his career and is currently in graduate school at University of Maryland University Center.

Raúl Rodríguez is now interim chancellor at San José – Evergreen Community College District in California. He most recently was interim superintendent/president of Hartnell College in California.

Prior to Hartnell, Rodríguez served for one year as interim president at East Los Angeles College. From 2010 to 2019, he was chancellor of Rancho Santiago Community College District. Other previous positions include vice president of instruction and interim president of San José City College (SJCC), roles that he held from 1994 to 1996.

Community and professional service has been Rodríguez’s priority throughout his career. He is currently on the board of the National Community College Hispanic Council and on the board of stewards of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Rodríguez previously served for eight years as a board member of the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, for three years on the Orange County Taxpayers Association, and for three years on the International Consortium for Educational and Economic Development. In 2012 he was elected to the board of the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges and appointed to the executive board of the California State University, Fullerton Doctor of Educational Leadership Program.

CEO retirement

Larry Keen, president of Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) for nearly 15 years, has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the year.

Over his time leading the third largest community college in North Carolina, FTCC has focused on serving military members, veterans and their families, including creating a clear and data-driven process to grant college credit for the formal training that service members receive during their military service. The college also opened a veterans center at its Fayetteville campus. Other advancements at the college under Keen’s leadership include ongoing development of a fire and rescue training center, including an indoor swiftwater rescue training facility, that will serve the county, region and state. In addition, the college partnered with seven other community colleges and three four-year institutions to create the Carolina Cyber Network in order to fill the growing need for cybersecurity personnel through coordinated training programs at each partner institution.

Keen also took the lead in revitalizing the college’s technical programs, which were on the brink of closure. The revamped programs are now in great demand and with high job placement rates.

“We are strong academically but never satisfied with the status quo due to our continuous quality efforts that have contributed to ongoing improvement,” he said in a letter to the board announcing his plans to retire on Jan. 1, 2023.

Previously, Keen was vice president of economic and workforce development for the North Carolina Community College System for five years. Before that, he was business and industry development manager for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. His career reflects both classroom experience as a faculty member and educational leadership at the community college and university levels. Keen retired from the Army Reserve after 21 years as an officer.

Kudos

The late Roy G. Phillips, who was the first president of Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Homestead Campus, will have his name adorn the oldest structure on the campus as the college renames it in his honor next month. The 26,828-square-foot facility is currently home to student life, admissions, advising and registration offices, as well as TRIO student support services and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy. The building also housed Phillips’ office for more than a decade.

Phillips served for 11 years as president of the campus, which opened in 1985. He retired in 2001.

“We are extremely proud to honor the memory of Dr. Phillips, who was instrumental in setting the foundation of what the Homestead Campus is today,” said MDC Homestead Campus President Oscar Loynaz. “He remains and will always be a very important presence on our campus.”

Appointments

Scott Ralls, president of Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina, will serve on a federal telecommunications cross-agency working group that aims to identify the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry. The group will prepare a report by next January to Congress on its recommendations, including workforce safety.

Ralls was appointed as a higher education representative to the task force by U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Wake Tech was one of the first institutions in the country to launch an apprenticeship program to train telecommunications tower technicians.

Marcus Bennett will serve as special assistant to the president for diversity, equity and inclusion at Northwestern Michigan College, beginning July 1. He has worked at the college for more than a decade, currently as associate dean of campus and residence life.

Shakerra Carter has been named vice president of student services at San Diego College of Continuing Education, which is part of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD). Carter previously served for more than five years as SDCCD’s dean for outreach, student affairs and pre-enrollment services. She was also Title IX compliance coordinator and a member of the senior leadership team for the vice chancellor of student services for more than six years.

Michele Cubelli Harris is the new director of the SUCCESS program at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts. Cubelli Harris has been with the college for 16 years and was previously the senior special program coordinator for the MALES (Men Achieving Leadership, Excellence and Success) program.

Annazette Houston is the new chief diversity officer at Hillsborough Community College in Florida. Houston worked previously for Pellissippi State Community College (Tennessee) as executive director of equity and compliance.

Matthew (Matt) Jones will serve as executive director of the Hinds Community College Foundation in Mississippi. He previously was senior associate director of athletics at Samford University in Alabama.

Valerie Lundy-Wagner is now vice chancellor of the digital innovation and infrastructure division at California Community Colleges after serving as the division’s interim leader. She also served as the system’s assistant vice chancellor for research and data. A former assistant professor and faculty fellow at New York University, Lundy-Wagner has also worked at the Community College Research Center and Jobs for the Future and California Competes.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.