The search for a new president of North Shore Community College is heading into its final stretch, with the college poised to name a woman or minority as its new leader.
The college, which has campuses in Danvers and Lynn, recently announced the selection of five finalists to succeed Wayne Burton, who is retiring. Burton’s salary is $212,600.
The finalists — Wildolfo Arvelo, L. Joy Gates Black, Patricia Gentile, Gena Glickman, and Janet Sortor —chosen by a 16-member search committee, include four women, one of whom is African-American. The sole male candidate is Latino. Thirty-four percent of the college’s student population are minority, with Latinos accounting for nearly 20 percent and African-Americans about 9 percent.
Following the candidates’ two-day visits to the college’s campuses, North Shore’s board of trustees is expected to recommend its selection to the state Department of Higher Education in early October. The state panel is then expected to make an appointment by Oct. 29.
Richard Yagjian, who is chairman of North Shore’s board and who chaired the search committee, said the strong representation of women and minorities in the final five is not the result of any specific focus.
“We had 72 applicantsdistilled to five, and in the opinion of the search committee, these were the five strongest candidates,” he said.
Whoever is selected will be North Shore’s fourth permanent president since the college’s founding in 1965.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Janice Forsstrom, who is serving as interim president while the search is conducted.
Forsstrom, whose regular position is vice president of finance and administration, said the college community misses Burton, a “very engaging and engaged president” during his 13 years at the helm. But, she said: “There are opportunities for somebody to come in with some new ideas, some new vision.
“I think the college is looking for someone who will be a good fit for our institution and the culture of student success, because that is what we are all about,” said Forsstrom, “and someone who will have the vision to take the college to the next level.”
One of the oldest and largest of the state’s 15 community colleges, North Shore serves 26 cities and towns. In addition to the two campuses, it also has a workforce training and community education center in Beverly. The college annually enrolls about 8,000 credit students, and an additional 5,000 students take noncredit courses.
Arvelo has been president of Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, N.H., since 2007, and before that served as an administrator at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston, rising to become vice president for corporate and external relations.
A native of Puerto Rico who spent his formative years in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, Arvelo began his career in 1985 in the advising, financial aid, and admissions departments at Bunker Hill Community College. He later held managerial positions in enrollment services at other area colleges.
Black, who is African-American, is currently vice chancellor for student success at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, where she also served as campus interim president from 2011 to 2012.
Prior to joining Tarrant in 2010, she served as vice president for student success and enrollment management at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas, and as dean or associate dean at four other colleges and universities in Texas, California, and Massachusetts, including her alma mater, Cambridge College. She is an Air Force veteran.
Gentile is dean of resource development and continuing education at the Cape May County Campus of Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, N.J., where she oversees recruitment, admissions, testing, and financial aid. She has been an administrator at the school for 22 years.
She previously served in an executive position with several nonprofits, including chief operating officer of the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington.
Glickman has been president of Manchester Community College in Connecticut since 2008, the first woman to hold the position. Prior to that, she was vice president for teaching, learning, and student development at Elgin Community College in Illinois,and an administrator at the University of Baltimore, Maryland College of Art & Design, Hartford Community College, and Baltimore City Community College.
Sortor has been vice president and dean of academic affairs at Southern Maine Community College since 2002. Previously, she was dean of academic affairs at Bunker Hill Community College.
“I believe that all five of the candidates are exceedingly capable of taking over the leadership of North Shore Community College,” Yagjian said. He noted that the search committee was nearly unanimous in selecting the five finalists.
Yagjian said that a key task for whoever is selected will be to help the college participate in the Vision Project, a long-term effort by the state to bolster public higher education in Massachusetts. Particular areas of focus for North Shore and other community colleges, he said, will be promoting student success and “training people for the jobs available in the state.”John Laidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.