In The News


Presidential Search Progress Report 1

The Essex County College (ECC) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that we have begun the search to identify the next president of ECC. 

The Board is committed to conducting an equitable, inclusive, and transparent national search that will attract a strong pool of candidates from throughout New Jersey and the nation. The Board has selected the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) to assist us with the presidential search process. ACCT’s assistance will include providing support with the development of the presidential profile, recruiting highly competitive candidates and working with the Commission. ACCT has conducted over 750 community college searches and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our process.  ACCT’s mission is to strengthen community college governance through education and advocacy. Dr. Debbie DiThomas and Julie Golder, J.D., will serve as our ACCT Search Consultants, and will assist the Board and college community throughout this important process. Their bios are located at: Debbie DiThomas, Ed.D. I Julie Golder, J.D.

Open Forums – Presidential Profile Development

An important step in the presidential search process is the development of a Presidential Profile. On Wednesday, May 12 and Thursday, May 13 we will host Virtual Public Forums. The purpose of the sessions is to listen to your input, which will assist with the development of the Presidential Profile. The entire ECC community is invited and encouraged to participate in a wide-ranging discussion about the qualities, characteristics, and qualifications we are seeking in our next president, and the opportunities and challenges facing Essex County College in the years to comeAdditionally, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the presidential search process. The virtual discussion will be facilitated by Debbie DiThomas and Julie Golder, ACCT Search Consultants.

We want to invite and encourage everyone to attend one of the important 1-hour Open Forums:

Wednesday, May 12

3:30pm – 4:30pm:


Thursday, May 13

2:40pm – 3:40pm:

Please share with those who may have a concerted interest in Essex County College and wish to attend. No RSVP is needed. 

In addition to the virtual public forums, we have developed a short electronic survey that we hope you will complete. Your anonymous responses to the survey will also be used to inform the development of the draft Presidential Profile. It is available here:

Please submit your survey feedback by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 14 2021.

The Presidential Search Committee

The Presidential Search Committee will review the confidential applications, interview semifinalist candidates, and identify the final candidates to be submitted to the full Board of Trustees for consideration. The Search Committee is comprised of the following members:

  • Marion A Bolden – Chairperson Bd of Trustees ECC, Former Superintendent of/Newark Public Schools


  • Arnold Lewis – Vice Chairperson Bd of Trustees ECC, Assessment Director/Professor William Paterson University


  • Johanna Wright, Board of Trustees ECC, Former Educator / South Orange School District


  • Isabel Cruz, Board of Trustees ECC, Coordinator of Constituent Services Office of Congressman Donald Payne


  • Michael Frank, Faculty Representative to Board of Trustees ECC


  • Ned Wilson, President – Faculty Association ECC, Professor of Computer Science


  • Phyllis Walker, President – Professional Association ECC, Assistant Director of Financial Aid


  • Judith Celestin, President – Administrative Association ECC, Director of Adult Learning Center


  • Craig Drinkard, Co-CEO Victoria Foundation


  • Denise Tolbert, Overseer of Christ Temple Church Ministries, Alum of ECC


  • Nicole Johnson, Deputy Superintendent – Newark Public Schools




Final Candidates

The Board will interview the final candidates and all final candidates will participate in open forums at Essex County College. We anticipate the open forums taking place in October, and we will provide the dates, times, and location as soon as they are confirmed. Everyone throughout the College and community will be invited to attend the open forums. Feedback forms will be provided to all attendees, and the completed forms will be collected at the end of each forum and given to the Board for review as part of their deliberation process.


Our recruitment efforts will involve an open and thorough national search, seeking qualified candidates from all regions of the country.  ACCT specializes in one-to-one recruitment of community college leaders.  Additionally, to assist with this process, advertisements will be placed in the Chronicle of Higher Education and other major publications and websites.

Presidential Search Webpage  

The Essex County College website will include information on all aspects of the search, both for the College community and candidates. The presidential search webpage will be developed in the coming weeks and will include key information including the timeline, regular progress reports, information on how to apply, etc.  

We will continue to keep you updated on this important process. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to our ACCT Search Consultants:

  • Debbie DiThomas, Ed.D., ACCT Search Consultant,, or (951) 961-6533 (mobile)
  • Julie Golder, J.D., Vice President of Search Services,, or (202) 775-4466 (office)


Lang »