Northeast State Community College may have new president by Jan. 1

Rick Wagner • Jul 9, 2018 at 1:52 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Northeast State Community College will have a new president in time for the new year if all goes as planned.

However, before that happens, there will be lots of opportunities for public input and consideration of up to three candidates for the job, although only the names and resumes of the finalists or finalist will be released. That marks a state-level change since the last presidential search at NSCC resulted in the hiring of Janice Gilliam in 2009, when all applicants’ names and resumes were open to public review.

Gilliam retired in mid-2017 after a faculty vote of no confidence and complaints about a “climate of fear” and financial issues at the school. In May of this year, she took a position as vice president of trades and technology at the Crown College of the Bible, based in Powell, Tenn.

James King of the Tennessee Board of Regents is serving as NSCC’s interim president.

Information about the presidential search is available online at www.tbr.edu/. 

Former Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips and Kingsport Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Miles Burdine, a TBR member, are among the 17 members of the Search Advisory Committee. The panel includes four members of the TBR, the college’s governing board, and representatives of NSCC faculty; staff; students and alumni; and the local community, including East Tennessee State University.


Burdine, appointed to the TBR earlier this year, said this will be his first presidential search as a regent although he voted on the appointment of a new president at another community college.

“Apparently they’ve been very successful using this consulting firm, the same search firm,” Burdine said of Greenwood/Asher & Associates Inc. He also said he believes the timeline and regional representation are good.

“I’m excited about the process. That position is crucial for our region’s economy.” 

The TBR in late March chose the criteria for a new Northeast president.


Rick Locker, TBR communications director, said the search process is designed to be thorough and keep the public informed. The Search Advisory Committee will have its first meeting, mostly an orientation and public forum, on the main Blountville campus Aug. 16 at a time and location to be announced.

“The usual process is that just before the Search Advisory Committee’s inaugural meeting, the executive search firm assisting the search, Greenwood/Asher & Associates, holds about an hour-long public forum, open to anyone and usually most attended by the campus community, in which the search process is explained and anyone may speak about what qualities they want the next president to have, etc.,” Locker said. “Then the Search Advisory Committee convenes for what is essentially an orientation for its members. That part of the meeting is open too.”


“Because state law requires that the names of the applicants are confidential until and unless they are named finalists, the meeting will be closed if the committee decides it wants to go ahead and discuss any applicants. But it would only be closed at that point. Future meetings will be closed because they are all about discussing and reviewing the applicants. And of course when they name their finalists, those names and their resumes become public and will be posted on our website.”

Locker said a prospect review meeting, Aug. 29, will be closed, as will interview meetings in September and October. After the committee makes a recommendation, TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings will make a recommendation to the full TBR. 

A timeline: Search for a new Northeast State Community College president

• July 2018 — Advertise and recruit applicants

• Aug 16, 2018 — Public forum, orientation and start-up meeting

• Aug 29, 2018 — Search Advisory Committee prospect review meeting

• Sept 13-14, 2018 — Round one interviews

• Oct 9, 2018 — Search Advisory Committee reference feedback meeting

• Oct 17-19, 2018 —-Round two interviews

• Jan 1, 2019 — New president in place

— Source: Tennessee Board of Regents


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