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Presidential finalists named at Northeast

Presidential finalists named at Northeast

NORFOLK, NE – The Board of Governors at Northeast Community College has named three finalists in its search for the institution’s ninth president. The candidates represent a broad and diverse background of service in higher education.

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are: Dr. Leah Barrett, vice president for student affairs for the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD), Dr. Lenny Klaver, president of North Central Missouri College, and Dr. Charles Nwankwo, vice president of technology and business partnerships at Chandler Gilbert Community College (CGCC) in Arizona. They were among sixty-three applicants for the position.

A Presidential Search Advisory Committee, which is made up of board representatives and members of college administration, faculty, staff, and students, reviewed all of the applications and identified candidates for screening interviews that were conducted in mid-September. The committee forwarded the names of Barrett, Klaver and Nwankwo to the full Board of Governors for its formal consideration.

Board Chairperson Steve Anderson is pleased with the caliber of the finalists.

“We have an excellent pool of candidates. Northeast Community College has earned a stellar reputation and as a result, we have attracted some talented individuals who have the credentials to continue to move the college forward in meeting the needs of our students and constituents across the 20-county service area. We are now looking forward to meeting our finalists in person and learn more about their qualifications,” he said.

Before coming to NWCCD, Barrett served as the associate vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at The College at Brockport (NY) from 2008-2016. She began her career in higher education in 1992 at the University of Wyoming, where she worked at the Wyoming Union. Barrett has been employed at several colleges across the United States including Arizona State University, Valparaiso University, and Boise State University.

Barrett earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wyoming and a doctorate in Education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. 

Klaver began serving as president of North Central Missouri College in Trenton, MO, in 2016. Previously, he held the position of vice president for institutional advancement and enrollment at Finlandia University in Michigan for three years. Klaver served as a tenured faculty member, chair and director of athletics in the Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Sport Management for five years at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UW-P). He was then promoted to vice chancellor for university relations and advancement at UW-P, where he served for 10 years in that capacity.

Klaver earned his doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. He also has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Wayne State College. His initial college degree was an associate of arts degree from Iowa Central Community College.

Nwankwo has twenty-four years of broad experience in three community college districts in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona. During his employment at CGCC, he has served as the interim vice president of academic affairs and interim vice president of administrative services. Previously, Nwankwo was employed by SOWELA Technical Community College (LA) as the chief information resources and technology officer. Prior to SOWELA, he held various staff roles at Houston Community College (TX). He also has 20 years of teaching experience as an adjunct instructor.

Nwankwo has a Ph.D. in Education Administration, with an emphasis in Community College Leadership, from the University of Texas-Austin, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology from University of Houston-Clear Lake. He also earned an associate of science degree from Houston Community College.

Each of the candidates will be on the Northeast campus in Norfolk beginning next week to take part in individual interviews with the board, followed by opportunities to meet with Northeast employees, students and the general public during additional forums.

Interviews will take place on Wednesday, October 2 (Klaver), Monday, October 7 (Nwankwo), and Tuesday, October 8 (Barrett). Two public forums will be held each day from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3:15-4:15 p.m., in the Cox Activities Center Theatre on the Northeast campus, 801 E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.

In addition to Norfolk, the public may participate in the forums from all Northeast extended campus locations, including O’Neill, 505 E. Highway 20, Room 104; South Sioux City in the College Center, 1001 College Way, Room 138, and West Point in the Nielsen Community Center, 202 Anna Stalp Ave., Room 206.

Following the candidate’s visits to campus, Anderson said the board desires to select a new president this fall with the successful candidate starting in January 2020. The new president will succeed Dr. Michael Chipps, who retired in May. Co-interim presidents Mary Honke and Steve Schram, former Northeast administrators, will continue to serve in their roles until to the new president assumes office.




PHOTO IDs: Dr. Leah Barrett, Dr. Lenny Klaver, and Dr. Charles Nwankwo. (Courtesy Photos)