Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Daytona State Board of Trustees authorizes negotiations for presidential selection

Dr. Carol Eaton
Dr. Carol Eaton

(DAYTONA BEACH, FL) June 22, 2011 - The District Board of Trustees of Daytona State College has selected Carol Eaton to be its first choice to lead the institution as its next president. The board today authorized college staff to offer the job to Eaton, who is currently president of Frederick Community College in Maryland, and begin salary negotiations. If Dr. Eaton accepts the position, she will be the first woman to hold the presidency in Daytona State College’s 50-plus year history.

In the event Eaton does not accept the position, the board also authorized college staff to offer the presidency to Drew Bennett, currently chancellor of Missouri State University-West Plains (West Plains, Mo.).

Dr. Eaton has extensive leadership experience in higher education and has served as a college president in two states. In addition to Frederick Community College, she also has served as president of Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh, NY, and has been chancellor of community colleges at the State Universities of New York (SUNY).

Eaton was the board’s top choice among 44 who initially applied for the position. That list was narrowed to four candidates, who this week visited the area to meet with college constituent groups and community leaders before being individually interviewed by the board today.

In addition to Eaton and Bennett, the other finalists were Roslyn Artis, executive vice president of Mountain State University (Beckley, W.Va.); and Irby "Skip" Sullivan, president, West Georgia Technical College (Waco, Ga.).

Drs. Eaton and Bennett were clearly held as the strongest two candidates following polling of individual board members, surveys of the college community at large, and a straw poll taken by senior administrators and college constituent groups, which included faculty representatives. Still, the board struggled with coming to a final consensus between selecting Bennett or Eaton as the top choice.

“This is a difficult decision for you because all four candidates would make excellent presidents,” said Interim President Frank Lombardo, who appealed to board members to come together and select the candidate they feel will exhibit the most heart, leadership and transparency.

Board members pointed to the unique qualities of each finalist: Artis’ strong communication skills and diverse experience working within institutional divisions; Sullivan’s experience working with business and industry; Bennett’s leadership skills and his ability to navigate state and local political waters to secure funding sources.
But in the end, the board chose Eaton based on her experience leading two community colleges. “She is the real deal,” said board Vice Chairman Christina Frederick-Recascino. “She is a national-level leader for a nationally ranked college. She has the depth and breadth of background to not just be a leader, but a visionary for this institution.”

The college was assisted in the presidential search by Academic Search, a national firm that specializes in helping colleges and universities recruit senior administrators.