Thomas Leitzel picked as SFSC’s 4th president
AVON PARK - Thomas Leitzel will become the fourth president of South Florida State College. The SFSC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to choose Leitzel as the college’s next president to succeed Norm Stephens, Jr., who will be retiring in June. He will assume duties July 1. Leitzel currently is president of the Technical College of the Lowcountry in South Carolina. The eight-member board made its selection during a special meeting Friday afternoon.SFSC Board Chair Tami Cullen said she enjoyed the vision he had for the college, and “he had a clear vision for our mission and that mission is enriching our community through education one life at a time.” Friday morning Cullens said in her mind she had determined who would be the best person to lead the college. “I think this person is the best just because it will work great for not only our college, but also our community,” she said. All four of the finalists are “stellar,” she added, so it was just a matter of getting the person who was the right fit for SFSC. The majority of the board members received input through phone conversations or meetings on campus with college administrators, facility and staff and community members, Cullens said. “We took their comments and we definitely put them in our mind for the outcome.” The board abides by the Sunshine Law so there had been no prior discussion of the finalists among the board members, Cullens noted. Leitzel was notified and offered a contract not long after the board selected him. The board could approve the contract at its regular meeting at 6 p.m., April 24 at the Highlands Campus. Board member Ken Lambert said that Leitzel understood every aspect of the job description. After advertising the position the college received 47 applications. The presidential screening committee narrowed the field to 10 semifinalists. The Board of Trustees selected four finalists on March 14. Each finalist visited the college for two days of campus visits, interviews and community and faculty/student forums.