RALEIGH, N.C. - The State Board of Community Colleges approved new presidents for Durham Technical Community College and Southeastern Community College on Friday.
The board also approved up to $100,000 from State Board Reserve funds to expand law enforcement training on topics such as de-escalation, relationship-based policing and community interaction.
John B. "JB" Buxton, an education consultant and member of the State Board of Education, was named president of Durham Tech. Buxton is a former deputy state superintendent at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. He was a senior education adviser to Gov. Mike Easley and was instrumental in North Carolina's early college high schools initiative.
Buxton earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University. He is the founder of Education Innovations Group, a Raleigh-based consulting firm.
He will succeed William Ingram, who will retire June 30 after 12 years as Durham Tech's president. The State Board also approved Tom Jaynes, the college's executive vice president, as interim president of Durham Tech until Buxton begins in the role.
Christopher English, vice president for economic and workforce development and continuing education at Blue Ridge Community College, was named president of Southeastern Community College in Whiteville. English is a former dean of advanced technologies at Blue Ridge and was lead automotive systems technology instructor. In 2003, he was named Blue Ridge Community College Teacher of the Year. He was also transportation sector director for the NC Community College System from 2010 to 2012.
English earned a doctorate of education from Western Carolina University, a master's degree in educational administration from New Mexico State University and a bachelor's degree in automotive technology management from Pennsylvania College of Technology. He earned an associate degree in industrial technology from Greenville Technical College in South Carolina.
English will succeed William Aiken, interim president at Southeastern.
In expanding law enforcement training, NC Community College System President Peter Hans said community colleges can help improve policing by giving officers the best tools to de-escalate tense situations and interact successfully with all members of their communities.
The country is in deep pain, he said, and wrestling with huge societal issues. "I'm asking myself, just like I know you are as well, what can we do? What can we do better? What is our part to play? What is our positive role right now?"
The State Board Reserve funds would be used to "train the trainers" who teach law enforcement at all 58 community colleges.
North Carolina's community colleges provide education to the vast majority of law enforcement officers in the state. Last year, that included basic law enforcement training to nearly 2,400 people and continuing education to nearly 43,000 others.
Hans said there is more work to do, but supplementing police training is a start.
"Every day, our colleges strive to tear down barriers, overcome historical inequities and provide economic opportunity for all," Hans said. "Community colleges are a beacon of progress for hundreds of thousands in North Carolina every year....We lift people up. Let's not forget that, even if we have tough days along the way."
In other action, the State Board approved COVID-19 relief funding to help community college students in a number of areas:
- A $4 million allocation for virtual tutoring for students who have had to adjust to online classes.
- A $950,000 allocation for a Student Assistance Program, which would provide students and their household members with around-the-clock access to confidential counseling for mental health, medical and other concerns. The service can also refer students to longer-term counseling when appropriate.
The new services are essential to student success during the pandemic, Hans said.
"We're hoping to support them during this challenging time," he said.