RALEIGH — On Dec. 7, the State Board of Community Colleges’ Presidential Search Committee announced Buffkin/Baker had been selected as the search firm to find the next president of the North Carolina Community College System.
According to the announcement, Buffkin/Baker has extensive experience in executive searches and “has deep North Carolina connections with two offices in the state.” Their offices are located in Winston-Salem and Charlotte.
The firm has led searches for many North Carolina colleges and universities, including being engaged in 2021 to conduct the search for a new dean to head up the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
“The State Board looks forward to working with an experienced educational firm in Buffkin/Baker as we recruit a new president to lead our great system over the next many years. Buffkin/Baker’s track record of successful searches will be helpful to the search committee and to the full State Board,” State Board of Community Colleges Chairman Burr Sullivan said in a statement.
“I am grateful for the leadership of Committee co-chairs Dr. Shirley Carraway and Mr. Hari Nath,” said Sullivan. “They have already devoted a tremendous amount of energy to the search process, and the Board is indebted to them and optimistic about the process now fully underway.”
The candidate selected during the search will replace Thomas Stith III, who was forced out earlier this year. Sources confirmed to North State Journal that his removal was discussed during a three-hour closed session of the system’s board on July 15. According to those same sources, the removal of Stith had “been an ongoing conversation for several months.”
It was reported Stith was paid $97,000 to leave the post early. Stith was being paid an annual salary of $292,000. He was named president of the system on Jan. 11, 2021. His resignation was announced on July 19 and took effect on July 22.
Dr. William S. Carver was named interim president of the system on July 20.
There are 13 members on the Presidential Search Committee; nine state board members and four members with community colleges and business experience.
The North Carolina Community College System includes 58 community colleges serving all 100 North Carolina counties.