Newsmakers

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New CEOs

Ryan Cornner will become the next superintendent/president of Glendale Community College (GCC) in California. Since 2016, he has served as vice chancellor for educational programs and institutional effectiveness for the nine-college Los Angeles Community College District. He also has served in other administrative roles in the district for more than a decade.

“Dr. Cornner was a remarkable candidate who demonstrated a deep understanding of the challenges facing community colleges with a proven record at both the campus and multi-district level,” said GCC Board President Armine Hacopian. “Even more inspiring was his commitment to ensuring all people have equitable access to education and his willingness to work with others to set and achieve the goals that are the foundation of the community-college system.”

Previously, Cornner was associate vice president for strategic planning and innovation at Pasadena City College and dean of institutional effectiveness at East Los Angeles College. He also has 12 years of teaching experience in the community college and the university systems.

Deborah Preston will serve as the seventh president of Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, effective July 1.

Preston is currently provost and vice president of academic affairs at New Jersey’s Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC), a position she has held for four years. She also oversees the college’s academic affairs as chief academic officer. At RVCC, Preston developed and implemented college-wide initiatives for student equity and success, advocated internally and externally for campus resources and provided innovative leadership throughout the Covid pandemic.

Prior to RVCC, Preston was dean for visual, performing and media arts at Maryland’s Montgomery College for 11 years. She also served as campus provost and department chair at then Georgia Perimeter College. Preston also serves on the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Jean Runyon will serve as the sixth president of Piedmont Virginia Community College in Virginia. She brings more than 21 years of higher education experience to PVCC, and currently serves as campus vice president of Front Range Community College in Colorado, where she is the top executive of the Larimer campus, a role she has held since 2015.

“Jean offers multi-state leadership experience. She has led innovative efforts to connect adult learners with short-term training programs, which is increasingly important for our colleges, and she has been a successful leader in transfer education,” said Glenn Dubois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

From 2007 to 2015, Runyon served at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, holding leadership roles in the college’s learning advancement and virtual campus. Prior to that, she was director of the Innovative Teaching Center at the College of Southern Maryland, where she was also a professor.

Scott Stokes has been selected as the next president of Iowa Lakes Community College, starting July 1. Currently, he is executive dean of the college’s Estherville Campus.

The college’s board of trustees noted Stokes’ work history with Iowa Lakes enabled him to develop a diverse and unique skillset.

“He has a proven track record of positively representing Iowa Lakes and promotes an environment of collaboration and inclusion,” the board said in an announcement, noting that Stokes–an alumnus of the college–was instrumental in implementing guided pathways for student success and helping to solidify a $1.6 million federal Title III Grant.

Interim CEOs

Joy Bodin will serve as interim president of Minnesota’s Hennepin Technical College (HTC), as of June 1. She is currently vice president of academic and student affairs at Central Lakes College in Minnesota, a position she has held since 2017. Previously, Bodin served HTC from 1992 to 2017 in several capacities, including director of marketing and admissions, dean of industry, interim dean of students and academic dean.

“She is a strategic and transparent leader with a commitment to career and technical education. Her ability to build relationships and consensus positions her well to navigate the college through this transition,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State system.

Kenneth Boham was named interim president of Johnston Community College in North Carolina, effective May 16.

He has more than 40 years of experience serving North Carolina community colleges. He was president of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCCTI) for more than 20 years before his retirement. He also served more recently as interim president at James Sprunt Community College and Martin Community College. Prior to his CCCTI, Boham was vice president for continuing education at Wake Technical Community College and interim president for Mayland Community College. Boham was named Community College System President of the Year in 2003 and won the I.E. Ready Distinguished Graduate Award from North Carolina State University in 1998. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

CEO retirements

Maureen Murphy, president of College of Southern Maryland (CSM), has announced that she plans to retire at the end of December. Murphy’s 35-year plus career in public higher education includes 15 years as a community college president. She has led CSM since 2017.

CSM Board Chair Jay Webster lauded Murphy for her work on strengthening the college’s role in the community, and especially for her leadership during the Covid pandemic and social justice turmoil.

“Many community college presidents navigated these perilous times, but in my opinion, none did so with the degree of confidence, clarity, vision, and humanity that I attribute to Maureen,” Webster said in a release. “Each time a disruption to students’ lives erupted due to the changing political landscape or the pandemic, Maureen immediately focused on her students’ safety and holistic well-being. She leads by example, and the board witnessed first-hand as she communicated her vision and empathy to staff and faculty that elicited a sustaining response, ensuring students had emotional support, food, technology, access to support systems, and financial resources – again and again.”

During Murphy’s tenure at CSM, the college launched the Velocity Center, a collaboration among the college, U.S. Navy and local governments to increase STEM attainment in the region and retain a highly qualified workforce for the naval bases in Maryland. Murphy also led efforts for a new health sciences center and leadership center as well as software development and cybersecurity initiatives at the college. In addition, she worked to continue to build resources for programs focused on the trades, workforce development and high school students.

Murphy serves community colleges at the national level as well. She has been a board member for the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association for Women in Community College and the Higher Education Research and Development Institute, where she is currently chair.

Murphy began her career in community colleges as an English professor at St. Louis Community College and eventually became its dean of mathematics and communications. She then was named vice president of instruction and student development at Wytheville Community College before becoming vice president of instruction and student development in the Virginia Community College System. Her first college presidency was at San Jacinto College district in Texas. Before coming to CSM, Murphy was president of Brookdale Community College in New Jersey for five years.

Christine J. Sobek, president of Waubonsee Community College in Illinois, plans to retire on January 4, 2023. She has led the college since 2001.

Sobek is recognized for her efforts to transform and strengthen Waubonsee by achieving its infrastructure growth outlined in the college’s five-year master plan ahead of time and under budget. Under Sobek’s stewardship, the college significantly expanded with the construction of five new buildings on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus and the opening of two new campuses.

Sobek has also championed the college’s commitment to student equity and success. Under her leadership, Waubonsee was one of the first community colleges in Illinois to obtain a federal Hispanic-serving institution designation. The college re-engineered what student success means for its more than 30% Latinx students and many first-generation students by having candid conversations around access, retention, graduation and completion.

Sobek also over her career has served on various local, state and national boards, including as past president of the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents and a former a board member for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Sobek has received many honors, including being selected as a Chicago’s Notable Women in Education sponsored by Crain Chicago’s Business; the Outstanding Alumni Award from Northern Illinois University; and the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction from the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. She is also a finalist for AACC’s 2022 CEO of the Year award to be announced May 2 during the AACC Annual convention.

Prior to her appointment as president, Sobek took on several administrative roles at Waubonsee–where she as served since 1989–including provost, executive vice president for educational affairs, assistant vice president for instruction, assistant vice president for student development and dean of student development. She previously was at College of Lake County (Illinois) in various leadership positions.

Appointments

Justine Caron will serve as North Shore Community College’s inaugural chief people and culture officer. She will join the Massachusetts college on May 23. She is currently executive director of human resources at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Candice Grause, chief of staff at Tallahassee Community College in Florida, will add vice president to her title. In addition to her current position, Grause–an alumna of the college–will also oversee the communications and marketing office as of May 1. She has worked at the college for 12 years.

Gerald Jones, associate vice president of student affairs at Tallahassee Community College, will serve a three-year term on the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education. He was selected for his commitment to closing equity gaps. As a member of the council, Jones will lead the work of student affairs to ensure its competencies of equity-minded student success strategies are embedded within the conference’s platform.

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.