Despite Youngkin’s request, college board elects new leader | national politics

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A new permanent chief for Virginia’s 23 community colleges has been appointed after incoming governor Glenn Youngkin asked that the hiring process be resumed and an interim chief appointed.

The State Board for Community Colleges on Thursday elected Russell Kavalhuna, president of Michigan’s Henry Ford College, as the system’s next chancellor. He will succeed the retiring Glenn Dubois.

His appointment came after Youngkin criticized the appointment process for lacking transparency and failing to address the requirements of the system, particularly staff development. But the board said there was no need to wait because Youngkin’s concerns had been addressed, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Youngkin first wrote a letter to board chairman Nathaniel Bishop earlier this month, saying the board had failed to work with administration.

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Youngkin and Bishop met twice, but the governor asked for more involvement. He still feels excluded from the decision-making process, he wrote in a second letter available to the newspaper.

“Our exclusion from your search process for the next chancellor was disappointing, and I strongly recommend the selection committee appoint an interim chancellor and restart the process,” Youngkin wrote on Wednesday.

The board spent at least three hours in closed session Thursday before selecting Kavalhuna, who was also a former federal prosecutor and commercial airline captain.

According to Macaulay Porter, a spokesman for Youngkin, the governor believes the system has not done enough to support staff development to deal with the state’s vacancies and increase enrollment.

“While there are outstanding individual schools, Virginia needs an entire system that will support all Virginians to acquire skills, further their academic goals, and equip them with the tools they need to thrive in a world of constant competition ‘ said Porter.

In a letter to Youngkin on Thursday, the board said it contacted the education and commerce secretaries shortly after their appointment, and the selection committee added Jason El Koubi, interim president of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

The level of transparency, administrative burden and business involvement Youngkin sought has been achieved, the board said, so there is “therefore no need to delay or repeat the process.”

For copyright information, contact the distributor of this article, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Updated: March 19, 2022 — 8:00 pm

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