Board of Regents appoints Mike Whitehead as president of TCAT Pulaski & honors James D. King during quarterly meeting

Board of Regents quarterly meeting

The Tennessee Board of Regents today appointed Mike Whitehead as the next president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Pulaski, effective April 1.

The board’s unanimous vote for the appointment occurred during its quarterly meeting in Nashville and ends a four-month search. Whitehead has been vice president of TCAT Pulaski since August 2015 and succeeds Tony Creecy, who retired Jan. 2 after 33 years of service at the college.

In other action today, the Board of Regents approved 17 new training programs at nine technical colleges, small changes in student incidental fees at six community colleges and routine revisions in several TBR policies, and received updates on several programs and initiatives.

The Board of Regents governs the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology comprising the College System of Tennessee.

The board also honored James King, who retired Jan. 31 as executive vice chancellor of the system, by naming the administration building at TCAT Crump the “James D. King Administration Building” and approving a resolution detailing his 36 years of service. He joined the TBR system in 1983 as assistant director of TCAT Whiteville, served as director of multiple TCATs, was vice chancellor in charge of the technical college system from 1999 to 2017, and TBR executive vice chancellor and interim president of Northeast State Community College from 2017 until his retirement.

King served as director (as TCAT presidents were titled until 2017) of TCAT Crump from 1986 to 1997, where he helped to increase enrollment by 50 percent, add 7,500 square feet of classroom space, develop partnerships with the University of Memphis and Jackson State Community College, and make the school one the state’s first technical colleges with an online presence. “James truly did change the face of technical education in Tennessee,” TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said.

“Mr. King’s presence is well felt at Crump. It was an honor to bring this to you today,” said TCAT Crump President Stephen Milligan, who proposed the building naming to the board. A naming ceremony will be scheduled at the college later.

The new technical training programs approved by the board will enable the nine technical colleges that requested them to be more responsive to the needs of student, businesses and industries across the state. The new programs, which will start later this year, include:

  • Barbering Instructor Training at TCAT Chattanooga.
  • Production & Logistics Technology at TCAT Crossville.
  • Health Information Management Technology at TCAT Crump’s Clifton site.
  • Advanced Manufacturing Education by TCAT Livingston at the Cookeville Higher Education Campus.
  • Advanced Manufacturing Education for dual-enrollment students at Cookeville High School and White County High School, by TCAT Livingston.
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, for adults and dual-enrollment students at the Jackson County Instructional Service Center, by TCAT Livingston.
  • Welding Technology, for dual-enrollment students at Cookeville High School, by TCAT Livingston.
  • Industrial Maintenance by TCAT McMinnville, at VIAM Manufacturing in Manchester.
  • Advanced Manufacturing Production Technology for dual-enrollment students at Oakland High School, by TCAT Murfreesboro.
  • Building Construction Technology for dual-enrollment students at Alvin C. York Institute and Scott County High School, by TCAT Oneida/Huntsville.
  • Building Construction Technology at Morgan County Correctional Complex, by TCAT Oneida/Huntsville.
  • Welding Technology by TCAT Oneida/Huntsville, at its main campus and at Morgan County Correctional Complex.
  • Information Technology Systems Management at TCAT Paris.
  • Manufacturing Technology for dual-enrollment students at Ripley High School, by TCAT Ripley.

The board approved the May 12 recommendations of its Finance and Business Operations Committee to approve changes in incidental student fees requested by six community colleges. Incidental fees are charges for specific classes, labs, activities, parking, licensure exams, materials and other services to individual students and not billed to all students at a college.  Today’s board action approved new incidental fees for specific sets of students at Chattanooga State, Dyersburg State, Jackson State, Pellissippi State and Volunteer State community colleges, and small increases in certain existing health professions exam fees at Dyersburg State and Motlow State community colleges, due to increases by test vendors.

The board also received updates from staff on the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs, TBR research partnerships, and the upgraded data dashboards on the TBR website.

Details on all the board’s actions and a recording of the board meeting are posted on the TBR website at

Whitehead briefly addressed the board after his appointment. “I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the dedicated, talented TCAT-Pulaski team the last 3½  years, and I look forward to helping our institution continue to grow and play an integral role in workforce development for our region and the state. I also look forward to continuing to impact the lives of our students, their families and our community,” he said.

“I plan to continue to work closely with our secondary education and industry and business partners to identify and provide quality technical training that will help our students succeed. It continues to be an exciting time for technical/vocational education in Tennessee and I’m thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to lead our institution during this time. Thank you for putting your trust and confidence in me,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Tennessee Tech University and a Master of Education from Tennessee State University. Prior to his arrival at TCAT Pulaski, he was a high school math educator in the Marshall County school system from 2006 to 2015 and previously worked for 13 years in manufacturing industries.

He was one of two finalists for the TCAT Pulaski presidency selected in February by a Search Advisory Committee composed of two board members and representatives of the college’s faculty, staff and students, and local community and business leaders. After the two finalists met with the campus community, Chancellor Tydings gathered input from their visits and recommended Whitehead to the board.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.