Thomas C. McDermott, Jr. is the new chair of the Essex County College Board of Trustees, following his election to the position at the November special meeting. Dr. Leila Sadeghi was elected vice chair of the board.
“I pledge that the College and Board will have transparency, financial stability, and efficiency as we deal with our most pressing issues,” said Chair McDermott.
“We certainly have a lot issues to deal with in a short period of time,” Chair McDermott said. He stated that the College and Trustees are working extremely hard toward seeking its full reaffirmation of accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The College remains fully accredited, but must lift the Middle States warning on two of its standards: Standard 3 (Institutional Resources) and Standard 4 (Leadership & Governance).
He also said the Board is working toward correcting issues with the United States Department of Education. This past summer, the Department accepted the College’s appeal of the citation resulting from the late FY 16 financial audit submission. Essex is on a month to month certification of participation for Title IV Federal Student Financial Aid programs, a situation he hopes will soon be permanently corrected.
“It’s a matter of getting the Board together, on the same page, and moving the College toward putting aside any of its differences and being more inclusive of all positions. I’m very confident we can do this as long as we keep our eye on the ball and work for all our students and employees.”
Mr. McDermott is vice president of Sales and Marketing for the Midland Steel Corp., Bronx, New York. He served for more than a decade on the Millburn Township Committee, six of those years as mayor.
Dr. Sadeghi is the executive director of the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. Prior to that appointment, Dr. Sadeghi served as the chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at Kean University, where she oversaw graduate programs in education.