Stability key at ACTC

It sounds like Kentucky’s Community College system leaders feel the same way we do when it comes to the future of Ashland Community and Technical College’s leadership — stability is key.

This week the college system appointed an interim president of the college until a permanent president is hired this fall. Dennis Michaelis, a former president of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, takes the reins temporarily after the retirement of Kay Adkins, who finished up her tenure in June.

Michaelis will run the university during a national search that is expected to yield a permanent replacement by the first of October.

A new school year is approaching and the community college system across Kentucky is, in our view, facing turbulent times. There is a continued lack of clarity surrounding the state’s pension crisis. The pension reform bill has been tossed out by the courts, and it is still not exactly clear what this means for our local colleges. The General Assembly and the state in its entirety obviously has a very poor track record of dealing with this issue — the college will need stable, courageous leadership for the future. All this points for the need for the college’s board to make the right decision and find the best candidate possible — someone who holds at the qualifications and is committed to the area long-term.

Although we don’t know Mr. Michaelis, Jay Box, president of the college system, does. We can thus assume that Box knows Michaelis has the experience necessary to lead the college while the search is completed. He previously served as interim president to Hopkinsville Community College and Southeast Kentucky CTC.

Finalists for the presidency will be announced later this month. Candidates have been vetted by a screening committee. Also reviewing candidate submissions are Box, two college presidents, the board chair and a search consultant. Candidates for interviews are chosen by Box in consultation with the board chair and finalists are chosen from among those.

We wish Mr. Michaelis the best and say welcome to Ashland. In the meantime the appointment gives the system’s leader and the board the comfort of knowing they have the time to make the most informed decision possible in pursuit of a new leader over the long-term.

The Daily Independent