NC Community College System names Dr. Jeff Cox as new president

Jeff Cox is currently president of Wilkes Community College

Wilkes Community College President Jeff Cox, right, speaks as Gov. Roy Cooper, center, and State Board of Community Colleges Chair Burr Sullivan listen during a news conference at the North Carolina Community College System offices in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, April 24, 2023. Cox spoke three days after the State Board of Community Colleges approved him to become the next president of the 58-college system. (AP Photo/Gary D. Robertson)

RALEIGH – On April 21, the North Carolina Community College System named Dr. Jeff Cox as the system’s 11th president.

“Dr. Jeff Cox has proven to be among the best education leaders in the country during his time at Wilkes Community College and as a North Carolina K-12 superintendent, and we’re excited to announce Dr. Cox as the new president of the North Carolina Community College System,” said Burr Sullivan, Chair of the State Board of Community Colleges.  

Sullivan added, “We know our community colleges need strong statewide leadership and dynamic future-forward approaches to business and workforce development and Dr. Cox is that leader.” 

Cox is the current president of Wilkes Community College and has led that institution since 2014. During his tenure at Wilkes Cox more than doubled the college’s completion rate going from 25 to 55 percent over five years. He also oversaw the raising of a record $20 million in funds for strategic initiatives and launched a fully endowed Wilkes Community College Education Promise. 

“I’m excited and ready to lead this great System through a time of dynamic change and tremendous opportunity. North Carolina community colleges are the catalyst for workforce development and growth for our state, and now is the time for innovation, collaboration, and partnerships,” Cox said. “The North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Cooper have done an exemplary job in setting the conditions to make North Carolina #1 in the country for business.” 

Cox said he looks forward to “building strong connections with our state leaders and other key stakeholders” to ensure the state has the best prepared workforce in the country and to meet North Carolina business needs. 

Previously, Cox was the superintendent of Alleghany County Schools from 2005 to 2014. He has also served as head of the North Carolina Community College Presidents’ Association since 2022. Cox also has experience in North Carolina’s K-12 system, having served as assistant superintendent for Lee County Schools and as principal of Benton Heights Year-Round School in Union County.  

Cox holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He also is a graduate of Appalachian State University with both a Master of School Administration and a Bachelor of Science in English–Secondary Education. 

According to the press statement by the NC Community College System, Cox is a former finalist for the annual President of the Year award bestowed by the State Board of Community Colleges to the top state college leader who exemplifies outstanding leadership and commitment to the community college mission.  

“I’d like to thank the search committee for their commitment to the process for this very important search,” said Dr. Shirley Carraway, co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee who led the nationwide candidate search. “We are excited and appreciative that we were able to find an exemplary candidate who is well experienced and one that I believe will be transformative for our System and in providing the workforce that North Carolina needs.” 

North Carolina boasts the third largest system in the U.S. with 58 colleges spanning all 100 counties in the state. The system serves around 600,000 community college students each year. 

About A.P. Dillon 979 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_