Northwest College Board Makes Interim Pick

NICEVILLE — The Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees on Tuesday decided to offer the job of interim president to Cristie Kedroski, a senior vice president at the school, as a search begins to find a replacement for outgoing President Devin Stephenson.

The trustees selected Kedroski after a discussion that started with Chairwoman Lori Kelley recommending the board authorize negotiating a contract with Vice President of Academic Affairs Henry Mack to serve as interim president.

Mack previously was a senior chancellor at the state Department of Education overseeing the Division of Florida Colleges and was a finalist last year to become president of Florida Gulf Coast University.

Trustees set parameters on Kedroski’s potential contract that would include a base salary of up to $250,000 and benefits that are available to Kedroski in her current position.

Also, the contract could preclude her from applying to become permanent president.

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“I, like probably everyone here, had a call from the governor’s office suggesting that they would prefer that the interim (president) not be a candidate for the final position. And I totally personally agree with that,” trustee Don Litke said.

While discussing candidates, trustee Jon Ward said the ideal interim president should “have a long-standing history” with the college.

“I think that Dr. Mack, while his resume is very impressive and he’s got a lot of work at the state level, his history here is very short-lived. As a matter of fact, just two months before coming here, he was offered the (interim president) job at Broward College,” Ward said.

Mack was appointed vice president of academic affairs for Northwest Florida State College in December.

In October, Mack was briefly named interim president of Broward College. Less than 24 hours later, the school changed plans and hired Barbara Bryan, a longtime employee of the school, after Mack withdrew. The school cited an inability to reach agreement with Mack on a contract.

“I think past performance and past action is a future indicator of what we might be facing. I think we have a safer choice. Personally, I would like to see Dr. Kedroski being appointed interim president, and hopefully Dr. Mack will be OK with staying as vice president of academic affairs,” Ward said.

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Mack was a finalist last year to become president of Florida Gulf Coast University, but the school’s trustees picked Aysegul Timur for the job.

In her role as a senior vice president, Kedroski oversees issues such as academic affairs, strategic communications, grants development and a college foundation, according to the school’s website.

A LinkedIn page for Kedroski said she has worked for Northwest Florida State College for more than 13 years and has held the senior vice president position for more than four years.

If Kedroski accepts the job as interim president, she likely would get a pay increase, as she earns a $160,000 salary in her current job.

Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees is in the process of trying to select a search firm to assist in finding a president. The selection of a firm, and the details of Kedroski’s contract, are expected to come before the board during a June 18 meeting.

Stephenson was chosen last month to become president of Florida Polytechnic University, where President Randy Avent plans to step down in July.

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