State Board of Community Colleges approves new presidents for 3 colleges

State Board of Community Colleges approves new presidents for 3 colleges

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 4:26pm

RALEIGH – The State Board of Community Colleges today (Dec. 18) approved the selection of new presidents at Bladen, Vance-Granville and Wake Technical community colleges.

The board approved the following presidents:

  • Dr. Amanda Lee at Bladen Community College. Most recently the chief of staff and vice president of academic affairs at Union College in Barbourville, Ky., Lee previously served as president of Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. She holds a doctorate in communication arts from Regent University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baylor University. She will succeed Dr. William Findt, who is retiring this month after 10 years as president.
  • Dr. Rachel Desmarais at Vance-Granville Community College. The executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem since 2015, Desmarais has been with Forsyth Tech in a variety of roles since becoming a department chair in 2002. She earned her doctorate in instructional design and technology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill College. She will succeed Dr. Gordon Burns, who has served as interim president since August.
  • Dr. Scott Ralls at Wake Technical Community College. Ralls has served as president of Northern Virginia Community College since September 2015. Prior to that, he was president of the NC Community College System for seven years and president of Craven Community College in New Bern for six years. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ralls will succeed Dr. William Aiken, who has served as interim president since September.

“During her tenure at Cape Fear Community College, Amanda Lee oversaw major expansion of the North Campus, the implementation of numerous new academic programs and the creation of the vocational technical high school, SEA-Tech,” said State Board Chair Scott Shook. “Scott Ralls has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and returns to North Carolina after leading one of the largest community colleges in the country. At Northern Virginia, he collaborated with Amazon Web Services to establish the country’s first associate degree program in cloud computing. The State Board unanimously bestowed on him the honor of president emeritus of the NC Community College System in May 2016. Rachel Desmarais is a rising star in the NC Community College System, having already established a record of achievement as a chief operating officer. In addition, she was among a select group of administrators chosen for the Aspen Institute Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence in 2017-2018.”

In other action, the board:

  • Approved the allocation of up to $2.94 million to community colleges from the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund for repairs of facilities damaged by the hurricane. The board also allocated an additional $525,329 to community colleges contingent upon clarification from the legislature that the funds can be used to reimburse colleges for repairs already completed or begun with non-state funds. The following 14 colleges submitted requests and were approved for funding: Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Coastal Carolina, Craven, Fayetteville Tech, James Sprunt, Johnston, Lenoir, Pamlico, Robeson, Sampson, Southeastern and Wayne. The funding comes from $5 million the legislature approved in October for repairs at community colleges.


The State Board approved new presidents Amanda Lee at Bladen, Rachel Desmarais at Vance-Granville and Scott Ralls at Wake Tech.