BATON ROUGE, La - Today, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) announced the finalists for the position of chancellor of Louisiana Delta Community College. The announcement comes after an open, competitive, and comprehensive nationwide search. The search process began in August 2020 and produced a diverse pool of highly qualified applicants.
"As LCTCS Board Chair and a member of the Louisiana Delta Chancellor Search Committee, I am extremely proud of the process which has resulted in these finalists," said Paul Price, Jr. "This is a strong group, and they represent the best leaders in Louisiana and the nation. The future of Delta and the communities it serves in Northeast Louisiana is bright."
"As a Board, we could not be more pleased with these five finalists," said Tim Hardy, LCTCS Board Supervisor and Search Committee Chair. "The depth and quality of the national search are evident within this group. We are confident that the next Chancellor of Louisiana Delta Community College is among this group and will continue leading the college forward to meet the needs of the Northeast Louisiana Region."
On Wednesday, December 2, each finalist will participate in separate virtual public forums with students, faculty, staff, and community members. Once confirmed, the complete public forum schedule will be released in the days ahead. The college community is strongly encouraged to participate in the virtual forums, which will occur via ZOOM.
Finalists in alphabetical order:
Dr. Mordecai Ian Brownlee currently serves as the Vice President for Student Success at St. Philip's College, the only college in the nation federally-designated as both a historically Black college (HBCU) and a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), located in San Antonio, Texas. During his tenure as vice president, Dr. Brownlee has led St. Philip’s to record enrollment of over 13,500 students and the college’s four largest degree and certificate conferments in its 122-year history. Brownlee also serves as an adjunct professor at Morgan State University School of Education & Urban Studies and the University of Charleston School of Business and Leadership, where he teaches business management, human resources, social justice, and community college leadership. In addition, he is a higher education columnist for EdSurge.
Dr. Brownlee earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and a Specialization in Higher Education at Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas) where he was awarded the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award for his research regarding legislative impacts on community colleges in the state of Texas. Prior to completing his doctorate, Mordecai attended Houston Baptist University where he earned a Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication & Political Science, and an Associates of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts from North Harris Community College District (now known as Lone Star College) in Kingwood, TX.
Dr. Brownlee is a 2017 graduate of the Penn State University Academic Leadership Academy, a 2017 graduate of the Leadership & Mentorship Institute sponsored by the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, and a graduate of the John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute of the American Association for Community Colleges in 2018. Currently, he is enrolled in the Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the League for Innovation In Community Colleges and the Strategic Enrollment Management Endorsement Program.
Dr. Randy Esters currently serves as the 4th President of North Arkansas College in Harrison, Arkansas. Before coming to Harrison, he served as the Head of the Liberal Arts division at Louisiana State University at Eunice, Dean of the School of Education and Associate VP for International Affairs at Louisiana College in Pineville.
Over the years, the opportunity and privilege have arisen for Dr. Esters to work with international students. He has led service-learning programs and teacher training seminars in the Tanzanian communities of Moshi, Mwanza, Zanzibar, Bukoba and Dar es Salaam. He has conducted similar seminars in Kampala Uganda, Swedru, Ghana, Kumasi Ghana, and Accra Ghana and taught graduate seminars at Ahnui University, Hefei China. In China and S. Korea, Dr. Esters developed formal and informal partnerships with educational institutions that resulted in more than a million-dollar impact on the university’s annual budget. In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Esters was inducted into the prestigious President’s Club at Louisiana College in 2011. This honor is reserved for large donors and others who make exceptional contributions to the college.
Dr. Esters also served in progressively advanced positions as Industrial Coordinator/Evening Administrator, Interim Campus Dean and Assistant Campus Dean for seven years at Louisiana Community and Technical College where he led the Oakdale campus to record growth of 144%. Community College Week named the institution the Fastest Growing College in its category in the nation.
Dr. Esters received a B.A. in Biology and General Science Education and M.A. in Educational Leadership and Supervision from McNeese State University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership/Higher Education from Lamar University in Beaumont TX.
Dr. Scott Rule currently serves as President of West Georgia Technical College in Carrollton, Georgia, serving more than 7,000 students per term across seven counties with five full-service campuses, two instructional sites, and additional facilities. Dr. Rule is currently leading a $64 million capital construction project that is relocating one of the College’s largest campuses – completely replacing an aging facility and providing much needed additional space with purpose-designed classrooms and labs for its programs.
Dr. Rule began his career as a computer programmer at Kennesaw State University, where he also taught evening continuing education classes for the University along with associate degree level classes in Computer Information Systems for the nearby North Metro Technical College. Dr. Rule then worked for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia before returning to North Metro Technical College as a full-time faculty member, database administrator, and Chief Information Officer. After a decade at North Metro Tech, Dr. Rule served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Appalachian Technical College before returning to North Metro, again, as Vice President for Economic Development.
In 2009, North Metro Tech and Appalachian Tech merged with Chattahoochee Technical College. During that merger, Dr. Rule was instrumental in his role as Vice President for Research, Planning, and Knowledge Systems with restructuring the college and overseeing satisfying the requirements necessary for the merged college to establish itself as an accredited institution with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Dr. Rule subsequently served six years as Vice President for Student Affairs at Chattahoochee prior to being tapped by the Technical College System of Georgia as its Assistant Commissioner for Data, Planning, and Research.
Dr. Rule earned his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Southern Polytechnic State University, his MBA in Management from Kennesaw State University, and his Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy from Georgia State University.
Dr. Wendi S. Palermo currently serves as the Executive Director of Nursing and Healthcare Initiatives for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) and is a native of Caldwell Parish. She has over 16 years of full-time experience in higher education at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to her full-time position, she serves as adjunct faculty in both Doctoral and Master programs at Northwestern State University.
Dr. Palermo currently represents LCTCS on various statewide committees, works alongside industry partners and promotes innovative strategies to serve students. As a result, she led efforts to secure over $4M in external funding and resources to support LCTCS colleges for program expansion and telehealth services. Prior to her current position, Dr. Palermo served as the Dean of Nursing and Allied Health at SOWELA Technical Community College where she has been credited with opening new nursing and allied health programs and earning programmatic accreditation in record time. She has nearly a decade of programmatic accreditation experience as an Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) site visitor, team chair and served nationally as a member of the Evaluation Review Panel (ERP).
Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Beauregard Parish Pregnancy Care
Center, Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (SWLAHEC) and is the Vice Chair of the Lake Charles District Nurses Association. Most recently, she was appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.
Dr. Palermo earned an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 1999 & 2002 respectively from Northwestern State University. She continued her education and earned a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from McNeese State University in 2004 and then a PhD in Nursing Research from Southern University in 2011.
Dr. Heather Spillers Poole currently serves as the Executive Vice Chancellor of Student Services and is the Director of Foundation Relations at Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC). Poole is a Louisiana native and began her career in higher education over 25 years ago at the Board of Regents, where she worked in a number of capacities, primarily serving as the Assistant Commissioner of Assessment and Economic Development, where she coordinated several statewide initiatives.
In 2011, she assumed an additional role as the Executive Director and Dean of the Learning Center for Rapides Parish. In a dual capacity, she has also worked with the Louisiana Office of Financial Assistance providing grant management of over $20 Million dollars focused on College Access.
In 2013, to gain college campus experience, Heather began working with Louisiana State University of Alexandria as the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services overseeing Admissions, Recruitment, Financial Aid, Continuing Education and Community Outreach.
Since starting with CLTCC in 2015, she has been responsible for providing leadership and initiative in the planning, implementation and administration of the campus’s recruitment, outreach and enrollment efforts.
Dr. Poole earned both her undergraduate degree and her Masters of Business Administration from Louisiana State University and completed her Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana Tech. Heather is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) 2007 class of Leadership Louisiana and LCTCS’s Leadership Louisiana.
ABOUT LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Louisiana Delta Community College, an open-admission, comprehensive community college, provides northeast Louisiana citizens with affordable and accessible high-quality educational programs, services, and modern workforce training. Supported by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, a dedicated faculty and staff fulfill this mission through their commitment to student achievement, academic excellence, lifelong learning, and current technology use.