CEO on the move

Margaret Ford Fisher is the new chancellor of Houston Community College (HCC). She had served as HCC’s interim chancellor since September 2023.

“Dr. Ford Fisher is a driven and passionate educator with deep institutional knowledge of HCC,” said Cynthia Lenton-Gary, chair of the HCC board of trustees. “She is forward-looking and a nationally recognized leader who is ideal to move HCC forward in providing educational excellence and innovation.”

Ford Fisher also was the inaugural president of HCC Online College, the seventh HCC college, established in 2018. Earlier, she served for 20 years as HCC Northeast College president where she led two successful capital campaigns and garnered community support for an HCC annexation initiative that resulted in greater educational services and programs, according to the college.


Jerry Fliger has been named the 11th president of California’s Bakersfield College, effective March 11. He previously was vice president of instruction at College of the Mainland (COM) in Texas.

Prior to his nearly five years at COM, Fliger was dean at Alvin Community College (Texas) and served for seven years at Florida State College at Jacksonville in various roles, including faculty member, associate dean and interim dean.

“Dr. Fliger’s extensive experience in instruction, academic affairs and workforce development is the exact leadership we need to advance student success and ensure we are developing the future workforce of Kern County as innovation and new opportunities are brought to the area,” said John Corkins, board president of the Kern Community College District, which includes Bakersfield College.


Anthony J. Iacono, president of County College of Morris (CCM) in New Jersey, has been recognized on ROI-NJ’s Influencers Power List 2024, for the fifth year. He is one of only three community college presidents included this year in the business publication’s annual listing. ROI-NJ cited Iacono’s leadership in the recently announced plans for a $30-million, 70,000-square-foot center for healthcare education, which will allow CCM to expand its healthcare programs in order to meet growing local demand.


Kristin Clark, chancellor of the West Hills Community College District in California, has announced her plans to retire in July. She has served in the position for three years, and was previously president of West Hills College-Lemoore for five and a half years.

“Kristin has been an invaluable member of our district, and her impact on the district will be felt for years to come,” said Mark McKean, the district’s board president. “Her dedication, leadership, and passion for our students and community have inspired us all. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for her years of service and wish her a fulfilling and well-deserved retirement.”

Last year, California Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria recognized Clark among women leaders for their outstanding service to their community as part of the “Women Leading the Way Women’s History Month” celebration.

Earlier in her career, Clark was vice president of student services at Orange Coast College in California from 1999 to 2015.


Ed Barnes, who served as the fourth president of Virginia’s New River Community College (NRCC) from 1991 to 2000, passed away on February 7 at age 86.

“His tenure at NRCC was particularly notable for his efforts to expand and improve the college’s offerings and infrastructure. Ed Barnes was a passionate advocate for the power of education, believing deeply in its capacity to transform lives and communities,” according to his obituary.

Barnes’ service to Virginia’s Community Colleges spanned nearly three decades, from 1972 to 2000. He also served as president of Paul D. Camp Community College and was acting president at Wytheville Community College from 2005 to 2006. He initially served as the college’s executive vice president. Barnes also participated in early discussions related to what would ultimately become the Wythe-Bland Foundation Scholarship Program, one of the first “promise” scholarship programs in the nation.

“Dr. Barnes was an extraordinary leader and a mentor to me and to many others at WCC, in the Virginia Community College System, and beyond,” WCC President Dean E. Sprinkle said in a release. “He genuinely cared about people. He leaves a tremendous legacy and will truly be missed.”


Mayra A. Gutierrez is the new director of the First Born and More model office, based at the Early Childhood Center of Excellence at Santa Fe Community College (New Mexico). First Born and More is a home visiting program and curriculum that supports families with children ages prenatal to five.

Robert L. Whitaker is joining Seminole State College of Florida as its vice president of business operations and CFO. Most recently, he was associate vice president for finance, foundations and compliance at Georgia Southern University.

Jennifer Whisman has been named director of instructional support services and special projects at North Carolina’s Guilford Technical Community College. She had served as an instructor at the college for almost a decade.

At New York’s Borough of Manhattan Community College, Musa Elbulok has been promoted to acting assistant vice president of institutional effectiveness and strategic planning, and Joy B. Tolliver is the new acting assistant vice president for legal affairs and labor relations. Previously, Elbulok was director of institutional research and data analysis at the college, while Tolliver was CEO and founder of the consulting firm Solutions for Antiracism, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

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.
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