By Nathan Tucker
The long search for a new Lewis and Clark Community College President is complete, as Dr. Ken Trzaska was unanimously approved by the L&C Board of Trustees on June 3.
Trzaska comes to Godfrey with an impressive CV of experience in the community college system, most recently serving as President at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas since 2015.
Prior to that, he held the Dean of Instruction position at Gogebic Community College in Michigan, and was Dean of Continuing Education and Community Engagement at St. Louis Community College from 2004-2009.
In April of this year, Trzaska was recognized by the Liberal Area Coalition for Families as Community Champion.
Trzaska also currently serves as President of the Community College Council of Presidents and is co-chair of the System Council of Presidents.
“The presidential search process has been a semester-long team effort to find the right fit,” said L&C Board Chair David Heyen, in a press release to students. “We believe Dr. Trzaska is the team-oriented leader Lewis and Clark needs to move forward.”
The L&C Board worked with a search committee of faculty, staff and community members to review applicants. The Board also enlisted The Pauly Group, an academic administration search consulting firm, to guide them to their final choice in Trzaska.
“Lewis and Clark has a strong history of serving students and community at the highest levels. This is important to me,” Trzaska said in the press release. “I notice that the realities before us today require a new level of readiness and creativity for educational change and in how we embrace the ideas of educational accessibility and functionality for everyone. Community colleges are essential to this focus and charge.”
Trzaska earned a Doctor of Education in Education Policy and Organization Leadership at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He has a master’s in English from the College of St. Rose and he earned an Institute for Educational Management (IEM) Certification from Harvard University’s College of Education and Harvard Program for College Presidents. He also has a Bachelor of Science in English from the State University of New York College at Brockport.
Student Trustee Ashtyn Britt, and many in the community, were vocal supporters of previous L&C president, Dr. Dale Chapman. Britt was joined by local state politicians Monica Bristow, D-Alton, and Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon, who spoke on behalf of state legislators, asking the L&C Board to renew Chapman’s contract.
Britt had harsh words for the L&C Board last fall: “You tend to see this school as a business rather than a place of education,” she said, at a public comments session on October 9. “If you must see this school as a business, then I encourage you to see students as not your customers. We are the product that you’re trying to sell to the rest of the world who partner with the school who give us access to jobs and internships.”
When reached for comment, following the announcement of Trzaska becoming president, Britt was brief, but clear: “I have full confidence in our new president.”
Trzaska formally starts in his new role on September 21.
Cover photo via L&C Flickr.