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Wartell to interview for Alabama position

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The state Board of Education has picked eight people, including the former IPFW leader, to interview for chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system.

The board voted unanimously Thursday to interview eight recommended by a consultant, who reviewed 29 applications.

Those chosen for interviews include Michael Wartell, chancellor emeritus at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne; John Schmidt, senior vice chancellor of advancement at Troy University; Gregory Gray, chancellor of the Riverside Community College District in California; Blake Flanders, vice president of workforce development for the Kansas Board of Regents; and Daniel Howard, executive vice president and provost of Arkansas State University and a former vice president at the University of North Alabama.

Also on the list are Bruce Murphy, vice president for academic affairs at the Air Force’s Air University in Montgomery; Mark Heinrich, president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa; and Kandis Steele, director of academic programs for Alabama’s Department of Postsecondary Education.

Gov. Robert Bentley, who is chairman of the school board, said the panel will interview the eight Aug. 23 and 24 in Montgomery and then invite about three back for a second interview on Sept. 13. The board plans to vote that day on its choice to replace Freida Hill, who headed Alabama’s two-year college system from December 2009 until March. The board bought out her contract after some members criticized her leadership style.

In picking a successor, the board plans a reception to see how the finalists relate to the board members, two-year college presidents and employees in the Department of Postsecondary Education, which the new chancellor will head. The reception is the evening before the final interviews.

Hill made $289,900 annually, but the board has not decided what to offer the next chancellor.

The school board did not know until Thursday any of the 29 people who applied for the chancellor’s job. All the applications went to Narcisa Polonio, vice president of Association of Community College Trustees. She screened them and recommended the eight for interviews. She said four of the 29 applicants dropped out when told that Alabama’s open records law required their names to be made public if they were considered by the school board.

The school board said all the interviews will be in Montgomery and will be open to the public.