03/28/07 — Board taps Albertson for college president

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Board taps Albertson for college president

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 28, 2007 1:46 PM

After an exhaustive nationwide search that began in October, the board of trustees at Wayne Community College has selected a woman president.

Dr. Kay Albertson, vice president of academic affairs and student services since July 2005, was unanimously voted in by the board, subject to the approval of the State Board of Community Colleges. She is slated to replace Dr. Ed Wilson, who announced in September he will retire June 29.

Board member Joanne Roberts, who made the motion to hire Dr. Albertson, shared after the meeting how difficult the selection process was for the trustees.

Hugging Dr. Albertson, she reassured her that "We tried hard to hire someone else," referring to the challenge of giving fair consideration to all candidates from across the country.

"It was the hardest thing we have ever had to do as a board," board member Timothy Haithcock said later.

Keith Stewart, board vice chairman, had previously worked to squelch any misperceptions about the choice of a local candidate.

The interview and selection process, he said, "was not taken lightly. It was taken with a great deal of consideration.

"The first thing I would like to put to rest is the question, because Dr. Albertson is currently on the staff, whether she had an upper leg on the process. Absolutely not. She had to fight for it and there were substantial qualified candidates.

"In fact, I hate to admit this," he said, directing his remarks to Dr. Albertson, "(but) you probably had greater hurdles to clear than some of the other ones did. Not because we were trying to put any barricades in the way but we had to be sure that we were not being favorable unduly to your candidacy."

They needn't have worried. Dr. Albertson, he said, "came out glowing on this deal. There were a lot of good candidates."

Stewart said he believed the process was fair, thorough and well thought out. He said the board now looks forward to the college's next chapter, giving a nod to Wilson.

"We are certainly losing one of our greatest leaders but we will continue to have him as one of our greatest allies," he said. "We look forward to 30 years."

"I don't know about 30 years," Dr. Albertson laughed. "But you may have to run me out anyway."

In her remarks to the board, Dr. Albertson said she never counted on a victory or ruled it out.

"I wasn't going to believe anything until the fat lady sang," she joked.

"I know from your perspective you are sincerely glad this process is over. I cannot tell you how relieved that I am that this process is over. ... But I can assure you that I, along with the faculty and staff, will continue this wonderful legacy. I could not have had a more wonderful mentor than Dr. Ed Wilson."

She pledged to continue "in the vein of superiority and excellence."

Wilson commended the choice for his successor.

"Kay is an experienced, capable and caring individual who will do a wonderful job at this institution," he said. "I'm very proud to have worked with her. I know she'll do a wonderful job."

The selection process is expected to continue into April. The state Board of Community Colleges is scheduled to convene on the Wayne Community campus April 20, at which time the official announcement should be made.

Dr. Albertson holds a master's degree and a doctorate from the University of Virginia. Her first connection with Wayne Community College came in 1980, when she was hired as an instructor in the teacher associate program and human services department. She worked there three years before her husband, Woody, was transferred with the military to San Antonio.

The family moved back to Wayne County in 1986 and Dr. Albertson worked in a variety of educational capacities, first in the Goldsboro City school system and for several years at Lenoir Community College.

In August 2000, she returned to Wayne Community as division head of social sciences, human/public services, agriculture and natural resources. One year later, she became division head of the applied technologies division.

She was named associate vice president of academic affairs in July 2002, and 18 months later was promoted to vice president of academic affairs.