Board of Trustees Release Names of Candidates for President at James Sprunt

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         JANUARY 31, 2019

KENANSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA – James Sprunt Community College’s Board of Trustees has narrowed the search for the college’s next President to four candidates.

Those candidates are

  • Dr. Shannon Kennedy, who is currently serving as Executive Vice President at Cleveland Community College in Shelby, NC.
  • Dr. Robert (Bob) Lowdermilk, who is currently serving as Vice President for Student Development at Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, NC.
  • Dr. Deborah Grimes who is currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Instruction and Student Services at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, NC.
  • Dr. Jimmy (Jay) Carraway, who currently serves as the Vice President of Continuing Education at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, NC

Following protocol established by the North Carolina Community College System, the Board of Trustees at James Sprunt have now presented the finalists to the State Board of Community Colleges for vetting. The four candidates named above will be invited to the college for public forums in which community members, students, faculty, and staff will have an opportunity to meet with the candidates and assist in the process for naming the final candidate. The date for the public forums will be released at a later time.

The board plans to have the new president in place by April of 2019.

“We are moving forward with four candidates who each have a proven record of leadership,” said Anita Powers, Chair of the Board of Trustees at James Sprunt. ”We believe any one of them can carry forward the mission of James Sprunt by serving students, providing a quality education, and assisting with economic development for Duplin County.”

Below are biographies of each of the four candidates:

  • Dr. Shannon Kennedy serves as Executive Vice PKennedy.jpgresident at Cleveland Community College in Shelby, NC. She has been with the College for more than 18 years. Prior to serving at Cleveland Community College, Dr. Kennedy worked at Gardner-Webb University, the Uptown Shelby Association, and Shelby Headline News. A native of Baltimore, MD, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Millersville University in Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in English Education from Gardner-Webb University, and a Doctor of Education degree in Adult and Community College Education from North Carolina State University. Dr. Kennedy serves on the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity and is a member of the North Carolina Community College System’s Information Technology Requirements Oversight Council. Locally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Homes of Cleveland County and Destination Cleveland County, Inc.
  • Lowdermilk.jpgDr. Robert (Bob) Lowdermilk is currently serving as Vice President for Student Development at Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, NC. A native of Greensboro, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Guilford College in political science. He received a master’s degree from Duke University with a concentration in ethics, and a doctorate with emphasis in programming and services for college students from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He completed additional graduate study in higher education administration and counseling at UNC-Greensboro and earned certificates in graphic arts print production and in mediation. His career in higher education has included service as a chief student development officer, dean of institutional advancement, interim academic leadership roles as division chair and chief academic officer, vice president for administration, assistant to the president, and eventually president of a two-year college. He has served at both two-year and four-year colleges in North Carolina (High Point College, Catawba College, Rockingham Community College; Kentucky (Lees College, Hazard Community & Technical College); and Mississippi (Wood College).
  • Grimes.jpgDr. Deborah Grimes is currently serving with Lenoir Community College in Kinston, NC as the Senior Vice President of Instruction and Student Services. She has been employed at Lenoir CC for over 12 years. Prior to her employment at LCC she worked as Assistant Principal for South Lenoir High School, Adjunct Instructor for both Lenoir and Craven Community Colleges and Director of Quality Improvement at the Caswell Center in Kinston, NC.  Dr. Grimes attended Lenoir Community College before transferring to East Carolina University in Greenville, NC where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education, Master of Education degree in Mental Retardation and Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership, Higher Education. Dr. Grimes has served on numerous committees within the North Carolina Community College System and with Lenoir County Public Schools. Her community involvement includes serving as Past Chair of the Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce, State Employees Credit Union Advisory Board, and Human Rights Committee for the Howell and Caswell Centers.
  • Carraway.jpgDr. Jimmy (Jay) Carraway currently serves as the Vice President of Continuing Education at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, NC. Over the course of his 34-year career at LCC, Dr. Carrway has served in a variety of progressively challenging roles including Coordinator of the Greene County Center, Director of the Greene County Center, Associate Dean of Greene County, Associate Dean of Satellite Campuses, and Dean of Continuing Education. Dr. Carraway completed his Bachelor in Science degree in Health and Human Performance, Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration and Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership, all from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Dr. Carraway is an active member of the State Employees Credit Union Advisory Board, Board member of The GATE (a development Center for Underprivileged Teens) and is Past Chair of the Lenoir/Greene United Way Board.

The Board of Trustees began accepting applications for the position in October with a deadline of December 7, 2018 for applications and nominations. A nationwide search was conducted under the guidance of the firm Executive Leadership Associates (ELA) LLP of Emerald Isle, NC. ELA is a consortium of former North Carolina Community College Presidents who are committed to ensuring that North Carolina’s internationally recognized community college system continues its proud tradition of excellence. The North Carolina Community College System is the third largest body of education in the United States.

ELA was chosen by the Board of Trustees because the cost of this firm performing the search was significantly lower than other bids received, saving the college almost $10,000.

Serving as a principal of ELA is Dr. Donald Reichard, who is a familiar face to Duplin County, having served as President of James Sprunt for 10 years.

“As one of the former Presidents of James Sprunt, I have been committed to finding the perfect candidate to fill this role,” said Dr. Reichard. “I have a vested interest in James Sprunt and Duplin County. I want to see the college grow and expand. It has been my honor to lead the search for the next President of this fine institution.”

It should also be noted that also serving as a principal of ELA is Dr. Kenneth Boham, who serves as Interim President of the college. Although having over 40 years of experience in the community college system, Dr. Boham recused himself from being involved in the James Sprunt presidential search with ELA.

“I am confident that the Board of Trustees of James Sprunt Community College will find the best candidate, not just for James Sprunt, but for Duplin County,” said Dr. Boham. “They have the college’s best interest at heart.”

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For media related questions, please contact Cheryl Hemric, director of marketing and public information at (910) 275-6170.

James Sprunt Community College is one of the premier institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. Our college serves more than 5,000 students annually from our Kenansville and WestPark campuses and three specialized centers. Learn more at http://www.jamessprunt.edu.

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