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Iowa Western board taps group for president search
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Iowa Western board taps group for president search

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Iowa Western Community College will ask the Association of Community College Trustees to handle its search for a new president, the college’s board of trustees decided Monday.

Current President Dan Kinney plans to retire on Aug. 31, the college announced on Jan. 6.

The ACCT, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing services to two-year public colleges, has a department, ACCT Searches, that does executive searches for member schools. It submitted a proposal to the board on how it would manage the process.

“The board has reviewed the proposal and found it very detailed,” board President Brent Siegrist said.

“The proposal talks about open forums for public input,” board member Randy Pash said. “They put what I believe is a very professional and comprehensive process together.”

The board hopes to meet with representatives from ACCT Searches in February, Siegrist said. Board members will consult with the search team on who should make up the college’s local search committee — how many people, how many board members and what other stakeholders.

They will also ask for the team’s advice on whether to try to complete the search by August or January 2021.

“We want to visit with our search team to find out what will give us the best search and the best candidate,” he said.

“We’re doing this with a heavy heart,” Siegrist said. “It’s the most important decision any of us will make as members of the board.”

The change in leadership is also an opportunity, said Connie Hornbeck, vice president of the Iowa Western Board of Trustees and chairwoman of the ACCT Board.

“It’s a challenge and it’s an opportunity,” Siegrist said. “It is bittersweet, because Dr. Kinney’s done a fantastic job.”

The next president will likely have different strengths than Kinney, he said. Part of the planning process will be deciding what strengths will be most important in the next phase of the college’s development.

“This is going to be a thorough, comprehensive and national search, and I expect one or two of the current Iowa (community college) presidents will apply,” Siegrist said. “I think we will have a lot of candidates. We have one of the premier (community college) campuses in the country.”

In other business, the board:

• Voted to refinance a series of bonds issued in 2014 to take advantage of lower interest rates currently available. The move should save about $647,000, according to bond manager Tim Oswald of Piper-Sandler.

“That is a direct savings for the taxpayers,” said Eddie Holtz, Iowa Western’s vice president of finance.

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