Four finalists selected for Jackson State Community College's next president. Campus visits set for March 16-19

Jackson State Community College

A Tennessee Board of Regents Search Advisory Committee has selected four finalists for the next president of Jackson State Community College. All four will participate in campus visits during the week of March 16, the next step in the selection process.

The finalists are:

Dr. Rolando García, president and vice provost of academic resources of Broward College’s Judson A. Samuels South Campus in Pembroke Pines, Florida. He earned both a Doctor of Education in Higher Education and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from Florida International University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from the University of Miami.

Dr. Jeff Jochems, president/vice chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College’s Richwood Valley Campus in Nixa, Missouri. He earned a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership at the University of Arkansas, a Master of Science in Education in Higher Education-Student Personnel at the University of Kansas, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management at Washburn University, and an Associate of Science in Business at Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas.

Dr. Paige M. Niehaus, provost for strategic initiatives and executive director for the Design Center at the Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, Michigan. She earned a Doctor of Education in Community College Leadership from Ferris State University, both a Master of Science in Training and Development and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Organizational Management from the University of St. Francis, and both an Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Arts from Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois.

Dr. George Pimentel, vice president of academic affairs at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee. He earned a Doctor of Arts in History, an Educational Specialist (Ed.S), a Master of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in History, all at Middle Tennessee State University. 

The finalists’ complete resumes and photos, information about their upcoming campus visits and other information about the search process are available for review on the Jackson State Community College presidential search page of the Tennessee Board of Regents website at

Each candidate will participate in meetings and forums with faculty, staff, students and the public on the Jackson State campus. All four public forums are scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m. on the day of their visits, in the Ayers Auditorium of JSCC’s McWherter Center. Dr. Pimentel is scheduled for March 16, Dr. Niehaus March 17, Dr. Jochems March 18, and Dr. García March 19.

After the campus visits, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings will gather feedback from the forums and meetings with the finalists to select one candidate for nomination to the Board of Regents, which will appoint the next president during a meeting that will be scheduled later.

Jackson State’s fifth president, Dr. Allana Hamilton, was appointed vice chancellor for academic affairs of the College System of Tennessee by the Tennessee Board of Regents last September. Dr. Jeff Sisk, president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Jackson, is also serving as interim president of JSCC until the next president takes office, which is expected to occur by July 1.

The Board of Regents approved the Jackson State presidential search criteria Oct. 31, and the Search Advisory Committee held its first meeting and public forum Nov. 15 at the Jackson campus.

The 17-member committee includes four members of the Board of Regents, and representatives of the Jackson State faculty, students, staff and alumni, and the local community. The committee is chaired by Regent Barbara Prescott.

Jackson State Community College is a comprehensive, public two-year college serving 14 West Tennessee counties. It enrolls nearly 5,000 students and, in addition to its main campus in Jackson, has branch sites in Humboldt, Lexington, Paris and Savannah, and offers classes at several high schools and other locations across its service area.

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.