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Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles among three finalists for the presidency of KCTCS

Ryan Quarles may be leaving the political realm to put his Ph.D. to work leading the state’s community college system.

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The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) has named three finalists for their new president — and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is among them.

KCTCS Board Chair Barry Martin announced the finalists Tuesday.

“We are overwhelmingly thrilled with candidates received in this search,” said Martin, “and we are excited to announce these extraordinary finalists.”

Besides Quarles, the other two candidates are:

• Dr. Dean McCurdy, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.

• Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea, President, Mott Community College, Flint, Michigan.

There has been much speculation about Quarles’ future since he ran, unsuccessfully, for the Republican nomination for governor, finishing second to Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Quarles received his doctorate in higher education from Vanderbilt University in 2018. His term as Agriculture Commission expires at the end of the year.

In a joint statement, presidential search committee co-chairs, Regents James Lee Stevens and Brianna Whitten, a faculty member at Maysville Community and Technical College, said, “We know the importance of this position. We know both the obstacles and opportunities that are ahead, and we are excited to work with a new president to bring KCTCS into its next chapter for the good of the Commonwealth.”

The next step for three candidates is to visit the system office in Versailles, where they will meet with the KCTCS Board of Regents and the 16 college presidents, and for a virtual forum conducted with faculty and staff members across the state.

The KCTCS Board of Regents is charged under state law with choosing a president to lead the system, and the selected candidate is expected to begin no later than Jan. 1, 2024.

The Association of Governing Boards has been assisting KCTCS with the national search for a permanent successor to Paul Czarapata, who left the post in February after nearly two years.  The acting President is Larry Ferguson, who is also President and CEO of Ashland Community and Technical College.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is the state’s largest postsecondary institution with 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses, as well as the largest provider of workforce and online education. To date, KCTCS has served one million Kentuckians.

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Cross-posted from the Northern Kentucky Tribune.



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The NKyTribune is a publication of the KY Center for Public Service Journalism. We are a nonpartisan, independent news organization that produces journalism in the public interest for a place we love.

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