Board of Regents appoints Jimmy L. Wright President of TCAT Shelbyville, approves criteria for next Presidents of Volunteer State Community College & TCAT Harriman

Jimmy L. Wright

In a special called meeting today (Oct. 20, 2023) , the Tennessee Board of Regents appointed Jimmy L. Wright as the next president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Shelbyville. The board also approved criteria for the next presidents of Volunteer State Community College and TCAT Harriman.

Wright, the chief student affairs officer at Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Kentucky, will take office Dec. 1, succeeding Dr. Laura Monks, who retired last month after six years as the college’s chief executive officer and 30 years of service in the TBR system.

Wright earned a master of arts in higher education from Morehead State University, a bachelor of business administration in management from Sullivan University, an associate in applied science, computer science, from Prestonsburg Community College, and a diploma in data processing from Mayo Technical School. He is working toward a doctor of education in educational leadership at Morehead State University.

He joined the technology support staff of Prestonburg Community College (which merged with Mayo Technical College in 2003 to become Big Sandy Community and Technical College) in 1996 and was appointed system manager four years later. He subsequently rose in the college’s ranks to associate dean of student affairs, dean of student affairs and registrar, and in 2018 to chief student affairs officer, a member of the college president’s cabinet. His complete resumé is posted on the TCAT Shelbyville presidential search webpage at

“TCAT Shelbyville already has a strong reputation for the quality of its programs and services and I look forward to working with the faculty and staff to lead the college to even greater levels of success in serving the students and communities of southern Middle Tennessee,” Wright said following the board’s action today. “I’m grateful to the Board of Regents for this opportunity to serve and I will work hard every day to live up to its expectations of excellence.”

He was one of the finalists selected by a presidential search advisory committee and who participated in public forums and interviews on the Shelbyville campus Sept. 27. After reviewing feedback and comment from the forums and conducting final interviews, TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings recommended Wright’s appointment to the Board of Regents.  Regent MaryLou Apple, who chaired the search committee, supported the chancellor’s recommendation and made the motion for his appointment and the board unanimously approved.

The board also reviewed and approved criteria for the next presidents of Volunteer State Community College and TCAT Harriman, which are available for review in the board materials posted on the meeting webpage at  The meeting was live-streamed and is archived on the same meeting link.

Vol State President Dr. Orinthia Montague unexpectedly passed away Sept. 22, and TBR Executive Vice Chancellor Russ Deaton is serving as interim president while the search for the college’s next president is underway. At TCAT Harriman, President Danice Turpin plans to retire February 29.


The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.