By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Thursday the state Board of Education narrowed the field of potential chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system down to eight.
Insiders have suggest that Mark Heinrich, president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, has the inside track for now.
Of the 29 applications reviewed, eight candidates were brought before the board for final consideration.
Others picked for interviews include 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, Bruce Murphy, vice president for academic affairs at the Air Force’s Air University in Montgomery; Michael Wartell, chancellor emeritus at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne; and Kandis Steele, director of academic programs for Alabama’s Department of Postsecondary Education.
The Board of Education has been deliberative in the process perhaps still reeling from the debacle following the botched firing of Chancellor Freida Hill.
Hill who had been heavily vetted for the position finally resign after some members criticized her leadership style.
According to the Governor’s office the panel will interview the eight finalist August 23 and August 24 in Montgomery. As many as three will be invited back for a second round of interviews on September 13.
The applications process was conducted by Narcisa Polonio, vice president of Association of Community College Trustees. Polonio screened each applicant then recommended eight for interviews. Of the 29 individuals who applied for the position, Polonio, said four 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.
A GOP backed political blog had said that Governor Bentley’s Finance Director Marquita Davis was a plumb candidate for the chancellor job but the rumor seems to never have materialized.