So You Want to Be a Community College President?

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to do something in education. When I was in high school my dream was to be a high school band director. In fact, I majored in Music Education, but that didn't last long. Once I found my niche, somewhere around my second year of college, I decided that I would be a college professor. So I studied hard, earned three degrees, progressed through the academic ranks, and here I am. On April 29, I accepted the position as President of Everett Community College in Washington (not D.C., but the state). Isiah (my hubby) and I cried, we did our own dance routine in the living room, we prayed, had celebratory drinks, and probably slept for two hours after I received the call. I  signed my contract a few days later, and I am now preparing to move from New York to Washington in under 48 hours with a husband and three kids. My start date is July 1,  but I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately and I've decided to share my thoughts. 


As this is my first time writing a blog (seriously), I hope to make my first entries as informative as possible on the "stuff" they don't tell you in the leadership academies or in school. Stuff like, make sure you have low credit card balances to afford multiple cross country trips for interviews. Yeah, you get reimbursed, but I've heard some horror stories for sure on folks who did not realize that was the case. Not every college will front the money in the beginning. After all, they want to make sure you are invested in the opportunity first. 


Also, be sure you have some cash tucked away for the MOVE! If you get the job and you have to relocate money goes quickly. You have to pay for services to move your vehicles, down payments for moving companies for your furniture (luckily Washington has a really good policy for movers--we can discuss that later), and you need to make a trip to find a place to live. Consider the hotel expenses, airplane tickets, rental car companies, and food, you will notice your bank account dwindling rather quickly.


I've been to Washington three times in the past four months and we are making the permanent move Saturday, and I'm traveling with 5 people! Almost $2,000 for one way flights! This isn't my first time moving. I was born and raised in Georgia, went to school in Florida, moved to Texas by driving my 2010 Kia halfway across the country, relocated to New York after six years, and now preparing for an adventure in the Pacific Northwest. How exciting!


The only thing free in this process is the application. If you are lucky enough to get an interview and it is not Skype and is face-to-face, get your credit cards READY! 


But I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoyed this process from beginning to end and I am super pumped about what the future will bring at my new college. Always enjoy the process--just make sure you are financially prepared for it and negotiate a good relocation package. I'll tell you about the saga of selling our house later...


In my next post, we can discuss the interview.


Let me know your thoughts below!




Comments: 10
  • #10

    J-Ram (Friday, 05 July 2019 23:26)

    So true! When you consider expenses, the cost of interviewig have both fixed and peripheral costs associated. The coffee at Starbucks when you are at the airport, the meal on the plane that used to be free years ago and now about $10 each, and many others. Then there is tipping at hotels, Ubers, forgotten toiletries ..the list varies for each visit. In the end there can be a significant cost that stacks up quickly. And if your like me, the additional dollars you give for room service and other services can make you feel like a good contributor for low wage jobs, but also accumulates at a fast pace. Interviewing out of state can feel like a "trip' but always remember it is not a vacation! Congrats !!!

  • #9

    Donyel Hill (Sunday, 30 June 2019 06:08)

    I relocated to the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) in February during the terrible snow storm. I concur with every aspect of your article. I moved from Baltimore to Eugene and it was costly. I am appreciative of the relocation package the school gave me, however no one ever said a word about what it would cost to relocate and the process. I moved in 30 days and it still took me a few weeks to get things squared away. Even longer to be reimbursed. Thank you for the insight.

  • #8

    Gonzalo Gutierrez (Friday, 28 June 2019 07:36)

    Great post! I aspire to be a college president someday. Although I am an Academic Advisor currently, I like to read post like this to inspire me and get me ready. Thank you!

  • #7

    Pam (Wednesday, 26 June 2019 20:44)

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. This very valuable information. Congratulations on your new appointment. I look forward to your next post.

  • #6

    Kristie (Wednesday, 26 June 2019 13:18)

    Really great advice!! Most importantly, a big congrats to you on your new job!!!!

  • #5

    Denise V. (Wednesday, 26 June 2019 11:14)

    Daria, thank you so much for this post. As you know, after completing HLI, the objective is to move into a leadership position. Because I’m still writing my dissertation I’m nowhere near ready to even apply for Dean or Assistant Dean positions, however, this information is very helpful. Since I’m still writing my dissertation, I’m nowhere near ready to even apply for a leadership position, but learning about what I have to look forward to is an important part of preparing myself for the future!

  • #4

    Tony Jake (Tuesday, 25 June 2019 08:53)

    Great points! I am experiencing this just as I am applying to VPF positions. Have to have the $$ up front and be able to wait up to 30 Days for reimbursement.

  • #3

    Chris Cappannelli, Ed.D. (Tuesday, 25 June 2019 06:46)

    Spot on. Very much in line with my blog posts regarding the many costs associated with obtaining a doctoral degree. Much like that, the thrill of accepting a college presidency comes with many hidden costs, much of which is financial, but also the social, physical and psychological costs of leaving family and friends behind, getting used to another part of the country, etc.

    Best of luck to you and your family !!!

  • #2

    Anthony Gills (Tuesday, 25 June 2019 06:23)

    This was a great read. I follow a lot of college presidency searches and like you said many people do not talk about this process. Keep the blogs coming and congrats on the new job, Prez.

  • #1

    Isiah Brown (Friday, 21 June 2019 06:49)

    Nice blog. Good to see you are a source of inspiration for others to follow. Anything is possible when you work hard and truly love what you do!
    Keep moving forward and leaving those footprints.