Cumberland Times-News

Local News

August 2, 2010

‘Heavy lifting’ ahead in ACM search

College hopes to name next leader in mid-November

— CUMBERLAND — The search for a new president for Allegany College of Maryland is “off to a great start” and officials hope to name a new leader by mid-November, according to Board of Trustees Chair Kim Leonard.

A newly appointed Presidential Search Committee is scheduled to meet for the first time in late this month, and a tentative deadline for receiving applications has been set for Sept. 15, according to a timeline posted on ACM’s website.

The quest for new leadership became necessary in May when Bruce Exstrom, who served as ACM’s president for two years, unexpectedly resigned, saying he wished to pursue other career opportunities. His last day was June 30.

The search for a new president, which is to be national in scope, is being facilitated by the Association of Community College Trustees.

“This is one of the most important decisions for all of us and it will decide the direction of the college for years to come,” Leonard said in a press release posted on ACM’s website.

Though the selection process is confidential, finalists are to participate in public forums, and Leonard said progress reports will be regularly posted.

“... We are committed to undertaking a process that will allow us to keep the college community informed and involved,” he said in the release. “We will keep the college informed through the distribution of regular progress reports, the posting of information on the college’s web page, and during my formal reports provided during the regular meetings of the board.”

Advertisements announcing the vacancy have been placed in the Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications, but the “heavy lifting” of sorting through applications won’t begin until after the fall semester starts.

What the search committee is looking for is a “student-centered educator” who is “decisive” and “approachable” and a “champion of innovation,” according to a position profile posted on ACM’s website. In addition, the school wants to hire someone who will “make a long-term commitment to the college,” the profile says.

Search committee members include faculty members Dr. June Bracken, director of developmental education; Dr. Merle Helsel, business; Dr. Bill Rocks, director of respiratory therapy; Dr. Maggie Waldmann, biology; and Dr. Bev Wilcox, English.

Other Allegany College of Maryland employees on the committee are Mona Clites, vice president of administrative services; Dr. Heather Perfetti, vice president of instructional affairs; Kara Riley, chair of associate support staff and nursing faculty secretary; and Beth Nightengale, chair of professional support staff and college recruiter.

Also on the committee are ACM’s Bedford Foundation Chair Dan Koontz, Cumberland Foundation Chair Dr. Audie Klingler, Somerset Foundation Chair Linda Fetterolf, Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jane Belt and Leonard.

Tom Finan, a Cumberland-area businessman and past ACM board chair, will serve as a community representative. A student government representative hasn’t yet been chosen.

Appointed interim president was retired ACM administrator Gary Durr, who agreed to serve in the position for one year. Exstrom, who was a finalist for the president’s job at Blackhawk Technical College in Wisconsin earlier this summer, wasn’t selected for that position.

Contact Kristin Harty Barkley at

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