Three finalists emerge in LBW search

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Following the end of a long interview process Monday, the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College search committee came to a near consensus on the three finalists to be the next president at LBWCC.

The three finalists selected were Dr. Kay Adkins, provost of Columbus State Community College in Westerville, Ohio; Dr. Raymond Cummiskey, president of Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Ill.; and Dr. Herbert Riedel, vice president for instruction and student development at Northeast Texas Community College in Pittsburg, Texas.

Semifinalists not chosen were Dr. Cornelius Bell and Dr. Anne McNutt.

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The five semifinalists were interviewed Monday by the 11-member search committee, with the first interview beginning at 9 a.m. and the final interview finishing around 3:30 p.m.

Following the interviews, which took place at the Conference Center at LBWCC’s Andalusia campus, the committee members were asked to fill out a ballot listing their three finalists in alphabetical order.

Adkins and Cummiskey were both selected on all 11 ballots, and Riedel was selected on 10 of the 11.

“I think that we had a very good committee,” said Dr. James Mitchell, president of Wallace Community College in Selma, who served as committee chairman. “The committee took the time necessary to really ask the right questions and have the necessary debate about the different candidates and their credentials. I think at the end of the day, we ended up with three very strong finalists.”

The three finalists will interview with Postsecondary Chancellor Bradley Byrne on Wednesday in his Montgomery office. Byrne will make a recommendation to the Alabama Board of Education on Tues., Nov. 11. The state board hopes to have a new president in place by Jan. 1, 2009.

Wayne Bennett has been serving as interim president at LBWCC since May, when then-president Dr. Ed Meadows left to take the same position at Pensacola Junior College in Florida.

Monday’s interviews were each approximately one hour long, with each candidate asked the same 18 questions — each of the 18 questions was assigned to a specific committee member who asked that same question to each candidate.

Some of the questions asked included: “What aspects about this job do you feel most confident about performing, and why?” and “Describe a lesson learned from a mistake or failure.”

Ramona Franklin, a psychology/sociology instructor at LBWCC and one of the committee’s members, said she was honored to be a part of the process.

“I was honored to be selected by our faculty to serve as their representative on this committee,” she said. “As a faculty member, I’m very pleased with the quality of (the candidates’) credentials and with the things that we learned through the interview process. I think that any of the three candidates that are in our final selection can be a great benefit for this college and the community.

“Was it work? Yes. Was it time consuming? Yes. But it is an honor to have been involved in a process of this magnitude that will affect this institution and its place in the community.”

The other members of the committee were Jackie Curry, administrative assistant to the dean of student affairs at LBWCC; Diaon Cook, English/reading instructor at LBWCC; Martha Simmons, executive director of communications in the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education; James Perdue, probate judge of Crenshaw County; Jeddo Bell, mayor pro-tem of Greenville; Allen Foster, administrator of Mizell Memorial Hospital; Brenda Petty, administrator of the Covington County Commission; Tucson Roberts, director of the Covington County Economic Development Commission; and David Walters, retired.