Elam, Soney compete for same job

Published 1:16 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016

GOLDSBORO – The search for Wayne Community College’s (WCC) next president enters its last stages, and two of the finalists for the job have ties to Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

The field has been narrowed to six candidates and all have been invited for in-person interviews at WCC, according to a press release sent earlier this week by the college. Those finalists are Dr. David Brand, Dr. Michael Elam, Dr. Deborah Grimes, Dr. Ted Lewis, Dr. Ralph Soney, and Dr. Thomas Walker.

Elam is currently the President at Roanoke-Chowan Community College, named in 2013 to lead the school. After informing the RCCC Board of Trustees earlier this year that he was “seeking other opportunities,” the board voted (in a 7-4 decision) at the January meeting not to renew Elam’s contract. His last day on the job at RCCC is June 30.

Soney served as the RCCC President from 2005-2012. He too was ousted by the local board as they opted not to renew his contract in 2012.

“Each of these applicants has extensive experience in higher education and has impressive educational and work history,” said Mrs. Chris Martin, chair of the college’s board of trustees.

Each candidate will meet with the board of trustees for an in-depth interview, attend a meet-and-greet event, and tour the campus and learn about the college.

The meet-and-greet sessions are open to the college community and the public. They are being held so that “people in each of those groups have an opportunity to talk with the candidates,” Mrs. Martin said, and give feedback.

The interview schedule is: June 8, Walker; June 9, Lewis; June 10, Grimes; June 13, Soney; June 15, Brand; and June 16, Elam. All are planned for 2-3 p.m. except the June 10 session with Grimes which is set for 11 a.m.- 12 noon. They will be held in Room 101 of the Walnut Building on the college’s main campus in Goldsboro.

After all interviews have been completed, the WCC Board of Trustees will prioritize the candidates and make its selection, which will then be reviewed by the State Board of Community Colleges. The trustees expect to announce the new president in mid-July.

The process of narrowing the candidate field to a half-dozen has been achieved by a presidential search advisory committee guided by a consultant.

The committee was made up of 10 people: five trustees and one representative each from the college’s faculty, staff, and Foundation, plus Wayne County Public Schools and the local business community.

“Committee members spent many long hours studying resumes and learning about qualified candidates, then began narrowing the field of applicants,” Mrs. Martin said.

The WCC Board of Trustees hired Dr. Donny Hunter, president/chief executive officer of the North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees, to consult on the process and assure the search was conducted professionally and fairly.

Dr. Kay H. Albertson will retire effective Aug. 1, 2016. She served in the N.C. Community College System for 33 years, including 19 at WCC and nine of that as the college’s president.

Elam came to RCCC Central Louisiana Technical Community College in Alexandria, LA where he served as interim chancellor. From 2009 to 2011, he served as president of College of the Mainland in Texas City, Texas. From 1999 to 2009, Elam served as vice president for student development at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Fla. He also served as interim chancellor at SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles, LA.

Soney has served as vice president of corporate and continuing education at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, N.C. since 2013. Prior to his seven-year stint at RCCC, Soney served as vice president for academics at Pitt Community College in Winterville from 2004 to 2005. He served as vice president for instructional services at Mitchell Community College in Statesville from 2000 to 2004 and as a division director at Wayne Community College from 1997-2000.

Brand has served as senior vice president and chief academic officer at Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville since 2012.

Grimes has served as senior vice president of instruction and student services at Lenoir Community College in Kinston since 2015.

Lewis has served as vice president for academic affairs at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn. since 2012.

Walker has served as campus president at Central Community College-Grand Island in Grand Island, Neb. since 2014.

Wayne Community College is a public, learning-centered institution with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro. It serves 14,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry, and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 72 college credit programs.