Local News

Board expects to pick next SFSC president on Friday

AVON PARK - The next president of South Florida State College will likely be selected Friday at a special meeting of the college’s Board of Trustees. But, before that decision is made, Thomas Leitzel, the last of the four finalists, will conclude a two-day visit to SFSC today. Board Member Kenneth Lambert met Leitzel Monday during his tour of the SFSC Hardee Campus. Lambert said he will probably decide by Friday who he believes will be the best choice to lead the college.
Board Chairwoman Tami Cullens said the board is hoping “if everything goes to plan” to choose Friday who will be the college’s next president. “We’ve had three dynamic candidates and with the fourth one coming in I don’t see where we are going to go wrong finding a new president,” she said. “We will be looking for the staff and the faculty and the community to give us input from those who have been able to meet the candidates and speak with them. Cullens said she and the other board members have scheduled office hours, through the president’s office, to discuss the finalists with faculty, staff and others. Since the selected candidate will likely lead the college for many years it is important that person is someone who will work well with the faculty and staff, Cullens stressed. Wright said the turnouts at the candidate community forums have been “pretty good,” but he wishes there were more in attendance. “We have had a number of people there from the community at each one of them and a handful of people who have come to all of them so far,” he said. At Friday’s special meeting, will the board discuss the candidates first or take a vote right away? “I really don’t know; I know it is going to be difficult because we have some excellent candidates,” Wright said. “They have a lot of credentials and differences in style. It’s kind of exciting, but in my own mind it’s going to be tough, difficult decision, but in a good way.” During the candidates’ visits to SFSC, at the conclusion of each session, participants have been offered a form to complete so that they may give their impressions of each candidate. Human Resources Director Susan Hale said those forms will be available for review from noon Wednesday until noon Friday (office hours 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) in the Human Resources Office in Building I. If the board selects a president at its Friday meeting, which starts at 3 p.m., the chosen candidate would be notified and offered a contract. If the candidate accepts, the board could approve the contract at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Highlands County campus. If more time is needed, a tentative special meeting has been scheduled at 3 p.m., April 26. Leitzel is president of the Technical College of the Lowcountry in South Carolina. The other finalists and the dates they visited and interviewed at SFSC follows: Marie Gnage, president of the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg, April 3 and 4. John Holdnak, executive vice chancellor of the Florida College System, April 8 and 9. Paul Nagy, special assistant to the president, strategic planning and analysis, at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, April 10 and 11. SFSC President Norm Stephens announced in October that he will retire June 30 after 11 years with the college.


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