Board of Regents approves criteria for next president of Cleveland State Community College

Tennessee Board of Regents to meet Oct. 31 to consider criteria for next president of TCAT Memphis

The Tennessee Board of Regents today approved criteria for the next president of Cleveland State Community College, the first step in the search for the college’s next president.

Board of Regents Member Danni B. Varlan will chair the search advisory committee that will review candidates and recommend finalists for the position. Regents Miles A. Burdine and Thomas A. H. White will also serve on the committee. Representatives of Cleveland State’s faculty, staff, students and alumni, and of the civic and business communities in the college’s service area will also be asked to serve on the committee.

Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said a search timeline will be announced when the committee’s full membership is appointed but the goal is to have a new president in office by July 1, 2024.

The criteria are similar to the other community college presidents in the College System of Tennessee, the public community and technical colleges governed by the Board of Regents. Preferred criteria include an earned doctorate degree from an accredited institution, a distinguished record of teaching and experience in public higher education, a minimum of five years successful campus administrative experience or a distinguished record of senior level administrative experience in a complex business, industry or government enterprise.

The full criteria and other details are available for review in today’s board meeting materials on the TBR website at A recording of today’s livestreamed meeting is archived at the same site. The criteria and other information about the search and the college will be posted later on the TBR executive search webpage at

The next president will succeed Dr. Ty Stone. Dr. Ray Brooks, retired president of Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood, SC, is serving as interim president. He has 35 years of experience as a college president, including 13 years as Piedmont’s chief executive officer and 22 years as president of Northwestern Technical College in Rock Spring, GA.

“Dr. Brooks has agreed to stay until we’ve completed the search process. He has jumped right in and we’re very grateful to have him on board,” Chancellor Tydings said.

The search committee’s selection of finalists for the presidency will be announced and those candidates will meet with the campus community in public forums. Afterward, the chancellor will review campus and public input and conduct final interviews to recommend a single candidate to the Board of Regents for its consideration for the appointment.

During today’s special called meeting, Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds introduced and welcomed two new members of the Board of Regents: Tennessee Commissioner of Education Lizzette Reynolds and Faculty Regent Ross Roberts, professor of education at Northeast State Community College.

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.