Search begins again for RCCC president

Published 10:44 am Thursday, September 7, 2017

WELDON – The Halifax Community College Board of Trustees has approved Roanoke-Chowan Community College Dean of Finance and Physical Services, Dr. David Forester, to a similar post with the Weldon school.

Forester had been serving as interim president of R-CCC since the abrupt resignation of past president Dr. Jimmy Tate early last month. Forester is expected to serve in his temporary position here until Sept. 30.

Dr. Tate resigned on Aug. 3 during a special called meeting of the R-CCC Board of Trustees.

Forester’s appointment was confirmed by current HCC President Dr. Michael Elam – former president of R-CCC.

“Our Board met two days ago,” Elam said in an interview. “We are excited to have him on board.”

Dr. David Forester

Forester came to R-CCC from Haywood Community College located in the western part of the state in Haywood County between Lake Junaluska and Canton, and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  He had been chairman of the Business and Entrepreneurship department while at Haywood Community College, as well as an Accounting and Business instructor.

“He has the experience to get some initiatives completed that we are looking to do here at Halifax, so we’re excited about him starting in October,” Elam said.

“We are anxious to digitize some of our processes here at the college and while we’ve had some long-term issues related to our Foundation we think his experience will help us,” Elam continued. “He also has some experience in increasing the labor-intensive processes that are often related to a small Foundation. As our Foundation builds we want it to be as efficient as it can be and he (Forester) has experience with that.”

Elam, who was responsible for attracting Forester from the mountains to the coastal plain said he was not particularly targeting Forester, merely the best candidate possible for the Weldon position.

“We did a search and we feel now that we have (the best) person,” Elam stated. “We know he still has commitments back at Roanoke-Chowan as (interim) president of that institution, and we are sensitive to that.  We do want to get him started here on the development of areas that we need.

“I recognized his talent back then,” Elam noted. “He has extensive community college experience on the teaching side as well as in administration.  He’s been a top financial officer for the college and he’ll do the same job here.”

Forester would not comment on the report, but Andre Lassiter, chairman of the R-CCC Board of Trustees, did confirm that Forester had submitted his resignation.

“He’s our CFO and interim president until we can get a permanent one in place,” Lassiter acknowledged. “There’s no shake-up. He was our senior-most-Dean and this was something we knew he wanted to do all along and we’ll have someone (interim) in place very shortly.

Lassiter said the R-CCC Board would be meeting Sept. 19, and expediting a replacement will be on their agenda.

“We’re working toward some possibilities,” he said. “The college can’t be without a president, but we have to get our particulars worked out. You and the community will be pleased that we have been good stewards over this situation.”