Three Finalists Named in Search for Seventh President of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

February 6, 2020

The Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) Board of Trustees today announced three finalists in its search for the college’s seventh president. The new president will succeed Dr. Dennis King, who retired on January 31. The college’s interim president is Dr. Joe Barwick, formerly President of Carteret Community College and Vice President of Academic and Student Services at Southwestern Community College.

The finalists include: Dr. John Gossett, President of McDowell Technical Community College in Marion, NC; Dr. Gregory Little, Superintendent of Lexington County School District I in Lexington, SC; and Dr. Beth Pitonzo, Senior Vice President for Instruction and Student Support services at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, NC.

Board Chair John Parham Jr., MD, said the board received more than 70 applications for the position. Background checks and telephone interviews with the candidates were then conducted with semi-finalists, whose names were not made public. The board chose the three finalists during a special closed session on January 27 and, because of confidentiality requirements, withheld an announcement until its regularly scheduled meeting today.

The Board of Trustees has processes in place to solicit input on each candidate, including a full day of public forums and interviews with each candidate in February. The dates and locations are:

Dr. Gregory LittleDr. Gregory Little

  • Tuesday, February 11: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Coffee with the Candidate at A-B Tech Madison
  • Tuesday, February 11: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Candidate Forum at A-B Tech Asheville, the Brumit Center for Culinary Arts, Tillman Dining Room

 

Dr. Beth Pitonzo

Dr. Beth Pitonzo

  • Tuesday, February 18: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Coffee with the Candidate at A-B Tech Madison
  • Tuesday, February 18: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Candidate Forum at A-B Tech Asheville, in the Brumit Center for Culinary Arts, Tillman Dining Room

 

Dr. John Gossett

Dr. John Gossett

  • Tuesday, February 25: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Coffee with the Candidate at A-B Tech Madison
  • Tuesday, February 25: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Candidate Forum at A-B Tech Asheville, in Ferguson Auditorium

 

“We welcome and appreciate positive input to the selection process and strongly encourage the public and A-B Tech employees to attend the forums,” Parham said. “We believe that with both community and campus-wide collaboration, A-B Tech will be able to find the most qualified candidate.”

The Board of Trustees announced its search for A-B Tech’s next President in June, following King’s May announcement that he would retire on January 31. The board intends to select a new president for a term that will begin no later than July 1. The President is the chief executive officer of the college and reports to the 15-member Board of Trustees. North Carolina State Law requires presidents of its 58 community colleges to be elected by a majority vote of the local Board of Trustees and to be given final approval by the State Board of Community Colleges. The State Board currently is vetting the three finalists. The A-B Tech Board is expected to select a president on March 2, but it must have State Board approval before making an announcement. The State Board is scheduled to meet on March 20.

To facilitate the search process, the Board initially appointed a Presidential Search Advisory Committee to develop the job description, advertise the position, and provide the full 15-member Board of Trustees with a report on the desirable characteristics for the next President as identified through campus and community input. An employee survey was conducted and three public forums were held on the Asheville campus and at A-B Tech Madison. This portion of the process was completed in October.

On November 4, the Board of Trustees voted to amend the search process by hiring a search firm, Executive Leadership Associates, LLP (ELA) for supplemental search services and by appointing an interim president. The Board of Trustees delegated authority to its Executive Committee and ELA to reduce the candidate pool for presentation to the full Board of Trustees.

 


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