RICHMOND – The State Board for Community Colleges has certified four finalists for the position of president at New River Community College. The finalists were among more than 90 applicants from across the nation.
The four finalists include Dr. David L. Brand of Fayetteville, NC; Dr. Pat Huber of Pulaski, VA; Dr. Susan Short of Salem, VA; and Dr. Kristen A. Westover of Martinsville, VA.
“The New River Community College presidency is attracting some impressive and diverse talent from both inside and outside Virginia,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “The focus our colleges are placing on student success, our innovative approaches to providing short-term workforce training and our stability make us attractive to high-performing education leaders who are seeking their next career step.”
Dr. David L. Brand has worked in higher education for the last 18 years, following a 23-year career in the United States Army from which he retired at the rank of Major. Brand currently serves as the senior vice president and chief academic officer of Fayetteville Technical Community College in North Carolina, a role he has held since 2012. Prior to that, he worked as the director of the Department of Education, a senior civilian role at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, NC. He also worked as the senior military training and education analyst at the Center for Army Lessons Learned, based at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Brand also worked as the chief academic officer and dean of the college at Bauder College in Atlanta. For six years he worked at DeVry University and Keller Graduate School of Management in Atlanta, where he began as a director of academic operations, rose to become the dean of the education center and then the regional director of operations. Brand earned a doctorate of education from the University of South Carolina; a master’s degree from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree from Troy State University.
Dr. Pat Huber has worked in education for 41 years, and has worked at New River Community College since 1988 where she began as an adjunct English instructor. Huber began working at NRCC full-time in 1992 as an assistant professor. From there, she rose through the ranks becoming an assistant division chair in 1999, a dean in 2005 and vice president for instruction and student services in 2007 – the position she holds today. Huber also served as the interim vice president for academic and student services at Wytheville Community College during the spring and summer of 2003. Huber earned a doctorate in community college leadership from Old Dominion University; a master’s degree from West Virginia University in Morgantown; a bachelor’s degree from Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA; and an associate degree from Wytheville Community College.
Dr. Susan Short has more than 36 years of experience working in higher education, with a blend of community college and university experience. She currently serves as the associate vice president for engagement at Virginia Tech – a position she has held since 2011. Short began her career as an admissions counselor at Shenandoah College and Conservatory in Winchester, VA. She later worked as a graduate counselor at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Short worked for 20 years at Lord Fairfax Community College, in Winchester, VA, beginning in 1984 as a counselor/coordinator of student services. She also served as the director of student support services and the director of instruction and student services, ultimately rising to vice president of instruction and services. Short began working for Virginia Tech in 2004, first as the college’s Roanoke Center director and Commonwealth Campus Centers Program leader. She also worked as the college’s outreach program development director before rising to her current role. Short earned a doctorate of junior and community college education from Virginia Tech; a master’s degree from Shippensburg University; and two bachelor’s degrees from Shenandoah College and Conservatory.
Dr. Kristen A. Westover has more than 25 years of experience in higher education. She currently serves as the vice president for academic and student services at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, a position she has held since 2011. Previously, she served as higher education program coordinator at the University of Texas in Austin, from 2009-2011. From 2008-2009, she also served as director of technical programs for the Kansas Board of Regents. In 2016, the Aspen Institute selected Westover for inclusion in the inaugural class of its national Aspen Presidential Fellows program. She holds a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and both a master’s degree in instructional technology and a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.
The four finalists are vying to succeed Dr. Jack Lewis, who retired last year after serving NRCC for 42 years, including 17 as college president. Longtime Virginia community college leader, Dr. Charlie White, is currently serving at the college’s interim president.
The finalists will each spend a day or more on the campus of NRCC in April, to meet with faculty, staff, students and community members.
New River Community College, which opened in 1969, is a comprehensive community college located in Virginia’s New River Valley, serving an estimated 4,500 students in the counties of Montgomery, Floyd, Pulaski and Giles and the city of Radford.
About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.