BATON ROUGE, La - Today, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) announced the finalists for the position of chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College. The announcement comes after an open, competitive, and comprehensive nationwide search. The search process began in August 2019 and the application process produced an impressive pool of diverse and highly qualified applicants.
"Last August, we set out to identify the best fit for the Baton Rouge Community College Chancellor position, and these three finalists represent the depth and quality of the national search," said Tim Hardy, LCTCS Board Supervisor and Search Committee Chair. "We are confident that the next Chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College is among this group and will continue leading the college forward to meet the needs of the Greater Baton Rouge Region."
Each finalist will interview with the Baton Rouge Community College Chancellor Search Committee within the next two weeks. The finalists will also participate in a separate series of public forums with students, faculty and staff, and community members. The college community is strongly encouraged to attend the forums which will take place at the Baton Rouge Community College Mid-City Campus, 201 Community College Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70806. The schedule of these forums will be released in the days ahead.
Finalists in alphabetical order:
Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon
Dr. Porter Brannon has more than 20 years of progressively responsible experience serving in key leadership roles at public, private and proprietary higher education institutions. She currently serves as the Vice President for Student Services at Mitchell Community College, NC, where she coordinates long-range and strategic planning for academic advising, accessibility services, financial aid, recruitment and enrollment, student activities, student support services, and veteran's affairs.
Dr. Porter Brannon began her higher education career as an information technology specialist, helping faculty incorporate technology into the teaching and learning experience. She has served as an academic advisor, adjunct instructor, Director of Advising, Registrar, and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Throughout her career, she has been a primary architect in creating policies, programs and systems designed to improve college access, retention, and completion. Dr. Porter Brannon believes that community colleges are uniquely positioned to deliver high-quality programs aligned to meet regional needs, satisfy workforce demands, and help students become all they are called to be.
Dr. Porter Brannon earned her Bachelor's degree in Human Services and her Master's degree in Education from St. John's University. She earned her Doctorate in Executive Leadership, Administration and Policy from Fordham University. She is an alum of Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program where community college leaders are selected through a rigorous process that considered their abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams, cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements for greater student access and success.
Dr. Paige Niehaus
Dr. Paige Niehaus is a passionate leader with more than 28 years of community college experience. She is currently the Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director for the Design Center at Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) in Detroit, MI. Prior to WCCCD, Paige was the Director for Workforce Development at Joliet Junior College, IL.
She earned a Doctor of Education in Community College Leadership from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI, and both a Master of Science in Training in Development and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Organizational Management from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL. Paige is a community college graduate having earned an Associate of Applied Science and an Associate in Arts at Joliet Junior College.
Dr. Niehaus is active in her community. As a member of the Rotary Club of Grosse Pointe, she serves on the Community Affairs, Youth Exchange, and Scholarship committees. Paige is also the secretary and executive board member for The Family Center, and vice president of the board of directors for the Grosse Pointe Public Library Foundation.
Dr. Willie E. Smith
Dr. Willie E. Smith has been working in the Louisiana Community & Technical College System (LCTCS) and colleges for the past 19 years. He began his academic career by earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University, where he attended on a full athletic scholarship. He earned his Master's in Public Administration from Troy University in 2001 and went on to earn his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in 2014. Dr. Smith currently serves as Interim Chancellor at Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) and prior to that he served as Vice President for Training and Business Partnerships for LCTCS. While working at LCTCS, Dr. Smith also held the roles of Director of Manufacturing and Extension Partnerships of Louisiana (MEPOL) (2018-19); Acting Vice Chancellor of Workforce Solutions for BRCC (2018-19); Chief Executive Officer for South Central Louisiana Technical College (SCLTC) (2017-18); Vice President of Academics and Workforce Solutions at South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) (2016-17).
Dr. Smith has a long and faithful career with the former Louisiana Technical College (LTC), which became Acadiana Technical College (ATC), and now South Louisiana Community College. At SLCC he served in many roles including Vice President for Academics & Workforce Solutions, Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development, Vice Chancellor for Business and Industry, Acting Vice Chancellor of Student Services, and Dean of Students. At ATC he served as Associate Dean for the Acadian, C. B. Coreil, and T. H. Harris Campuses, Director of the Keeping Youth Trained & Educated (KYTE) program, and coordinator of LTC incumbent worker training program. He is a Certified Grant Writer and Certified Special Program Coordinator.
Prior to joining LCTCS, Dr. Smith served as Program Director with the following organizations: Lafayette Parish School System, LTC- Sullivan Campus Youth Build program, Washington Correctional Institute, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 3 program. Dr. Smith also served as a Social Worker Supervisor for the Mobile Police Department in Mobile, Alabama, where he was awarded civilian employee of the month for addressing and combating high levels of juvenile crime.