Volunteer State Community College Presidential Search Advisory Committee appointed. Public forum set for Jan. 26.

Volunteer State Community College

The Search Advisory Committee leading the Tennessee Board of Regents' search for the next president of Volunteer State Community College has been appointed and will meet for its orientation session and a public forum Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

Vol State

Board of Regents Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds will chair the 19-member search committee. Board Members MaryLou Apple, Layah Garton and Todd Kaestner will also serve as committee members, along with representatives of the college’s faculty, staff, students and alumni, and business and civic leaders from across its northern Middle Tennessee service area.  The full list of search committee members is below.

The public forum, which provides the public and campus community an overview of the search process, will be held virtually via Zoom teleconferencing, starting at 1 p.m. CT Jan. 26. To join the Zoom forum at that time, click here and enter the meeting ID and passcode below: https://academic-search.zoom.us/j/84418418357?pwd=05Zozc1cM1JWpkljUD492Z3s2bSm0Y.1&from=addon

Meeting ID: 844 1841 8357

Passcode: 193979

Anyone needing assistance may contact Mary Ann Hammonds, Executive Assistant to the TBR Chancellor, at maryann.hammonds@tbr.edu.

The search committee will review applicants and nominees and recommend finalists for the presidency. The finalists will be announced and introduced to the community in campus public forums. After the forums, TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings will conduct final interviews and review input from the campus community and the public to select one candidate for recommendation to the Board of Regents, which will appoint the president.

The next president will succeed Dr. Orinthia T. Montague, the college’s fourth president, who passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 22.  Dr. Russ Deaton, TBR executive vice chancellor for policy and strategy, is serving as interim president. The president is the college’s chief executive officer.

The Board of Regents approved criteria for the next president during a special called meeting Oct. 20. The Board invites applications and nominations for the position by March 25, and anticipates the next president will be in office by July 1.  Full details – including the presidential criteria, how to apply and submit nominations, information about the college, and the public forum access information – are posted on the Vol State presidential search webpage at https://www.tbr.edu/hr/executivesearches/president-volunteer-state-community-college.

Vol State presidential search begins

Volunteer State is one of the 13 public community colleges and 24 colleges of applied technology in the College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. Vol State is a comprehensive, two-year postsecondary institution with its main campus in Gallatin, branch campuses in Cookeville, Livingston and Springfield, and other teaching sites in its 11-county primary service area. The college enrolls approximately 7,000 credit-seeking students and has more than 450 full-time employees. Additional information is available on the college’s website at volstate.edu.


Members of the search advisory committee:


Regent Emily J. Reynolds

Board of Regents Vice Chair

Search Committee Chair


Regent MaryLou Apple

Board of Regents


Regent Todd Kaestner

Board of Regents


Regent Layah Garton

Board of Regents


Laura Black

Associate Professor of English

& Speaker of Faculty Council

Faculty Representative


Leah Frauendienst

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Faculty Representative


Maia Dennis

Student Representative


Sam Garrett

Student Representative


Leah Balli

Director of Admissions

Staff Representative


Emily Short

Vice President for Student Services

Staff Representative


Karen Mitchell

Vice President of Resource Development

& Executive Director, VSCC Foundation

Staff Representative


Alumni, Business & Community Representatives

Kim Baker

CEO, Gallatin Chamber of Commerce


David Gregory

Former TBR Chancellor & VSCC Foundation Past Chair


Jimmy Johnston

Forward Sumner


Evan Jones



Amy New

President, Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce


Steve Parker

Board Chair, VSCC Foundation

& CPA, Blankenship CPA Group


Dewayne Scott

Deputy Commissioner, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development

& VSCC Foundation Board Member


Cliff Wightman

President, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Crossville & Livingston


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.