The Sampson Community College Board of Trustees has named the next president of the local educational institute.
At a called meeting Tuesday afternoon, the board voted and named Dr. Bill Starling as the next president, following months of searching through candidates and finally narrowing the choice down to three just weeks ago.
Starling’s promotion is contingent upon the approval of the North Carolina Community College Board and will become effective when current president Dr. Paul Hutchins leaves. Hutchins’ contract expires in June 2018, however, he could leave early pending other professional opportunities, at which time Starling will assume his new duties.
Per the recommendation of the selection committee, Starling will be given a two-year contract and a 12 percent salary increase to $158,332 annually.
“We are so excited about this choice,” Erika Starling, Board of Trustees chairwoman, said. “Dr. Starling brings a wealth of knowledge and is well respected by faculty, staff and the community. The board could not be happier.”
After the unanimous approval of his new position, the board contacted Starling, who graciously accepted the offer.
“I am very honored to accept this offer,” Starling said through a phone conversation. “I look forward to working with you (Erika Starling) and the board. This is a special time in my career.”
As part of the selection committee, trustee Chuck Spell said the other two candidates gave stellar interviews and brought many ideas to the table that he hopes will be utilized through the new president.
“We can learn a lot from the other candidates,” Spell said. ” We want to make sure that Dr. Starling pushes Sampson Community College forward.”
Starling is no stranger to Sampson Community College, having worked with the educational institute for almost 40 years. He is currently serving as the vice president of academic affairs and administration, but has served in many other senior administrative roles since his hiring in 1979, including finance and business affairs, accreditation and personnel, construction and facility administration, program development and academic affairs.
“This year the college celebrated its 50th anniversary,” Starling noted just two weeks ago when the final three candidates were named. “My career spans much of this time. I have been privileged to work with many of the people who actually founded the college and worked at the original campus on Hwy. 421.”
Starling earned his bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and holds a master of arts in education from East Carolina University and a doctor of education from North Carolina State University with a minor in public administration.
“Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to work with younger staff and faculty who are now responsible for realizing the college’s mission,” Starling said. “I can think of no higher honor than to work directly with the current faculty, staff, and trustees as president to help lead the college community as we respond to the needs of our current students and anticipate the needs of those we will enroll over the next decade.”
Other candidates for the position were Dr. Camille Reese, who currently serves as the vice president for instruction and chief academic officer at Mitchell Community College in Statesville and Dr. Gene Smith, who is currently the vice president of academic and student services and chief academic officer at Wayne Community College.
The college board decided to hold the search themselves, then selected several trustees to serve on the Presidential Search Committee who made a recommendation to the entire board Tuesday afternoon, after announcing the three finalist just weeks ago.
Two public forums were held as part of the search process, both revealing the community’s desire to have a president who is a real part of the community, and not just someone who is just using Sampson Community as stepping stone in their career journey.
At the time, the faculty and community urged the board to consider an internal candidate for the position.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.