The Essex County College Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that we have selected three (3) finalists for the presidency of Essex County College. We would like to thank the entire College community for your continued interest and support in the process to identify our next President. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank each member of the Presidential Search Committee for their exceptional work and effort.

The Essex County College presidential finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Augustine Boakye, Ph.D., is Interim President of Essex County College in Newark, NJ. He previously served as Acting Dean of Liberal Arts and Business at Essex County College in Newark, NJ. Dr. Boakye earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Dundee in Dundee, UK; a Master of Arts in Education - ICT from Brunel University in London, UK; and a Bachelor of Education in Social Sciences and Economics from the University of Cape Coast in Cape Coast, Ghana.

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David Potash, Ph.D., is President of Wilbur Wright College, City College of Chicago, in Chicago, IL. He previously served as Chief Academic Officer at Curry College in Milton, MA. Dr. Potash earned a Doctor of Philosophy in from Cambridge University in the University of Cambridge, UK; a Master of Arts in History from New York University in New York, NY; and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Rice University in Houston, TX.

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Wendy Wilson, Ed.D., is Chief of Staff/Vice President of University Relations at Albany State University in Albany, GA. She previously served as the Interim Vice President of Student Affairs at Albany State University in Albany, GA. Dr. Wilson received a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership in Higher Education from Columbus State University in Columbus, GA; a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI; and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management and Development at Bluefield College in Bluefield, VA.

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The Board of Trustees has announced that the search is underway for the next President of Essex County College.

Applications and nominations for the position of President of Essex County College are currently being accepted until the position is filled.

The target date for applications is: August 25, 2021

If you have any questions or suggestions, or would like to make a confidential inquiry please contact:

  • Debbie DiThomas, Ed.D., ACCT Search Consultant,, (951) 961-6533 (mobile)
  • Julie Golder, J.D., Vice President of Search Services, ACCT,, (202)-775-4477 (office)

Essex County College

Marion A. Bolden, Chair



Essex County College (ECC)/Community Affiliation

Marion A. Bolden

  • Chairperson - ECC Board of Trustees,
  • Former Superintendent of Newark Public Schools

Judith Celestin

  • President – ECC Administrative Association
  • Director of Adult Learning Center

Isabel Cruz

  • Trustee – ECC Board of Trustees
  • Coordinator of Constituent Services Office of Congressman Donald Payne

Craig Drinkard

  • Co-CEO Victoria Foundation

Michael Frank

  • Faculty Representative to the ECC Board of Trustees
  • Professor of Biology

Nicole Johnson

  • Deputy Superintendent, Newark Public Schools

Arnold C. Lewis, Ph.D.

  • Vice Chairperson - ECC Board of Trustees
  • Assessment Director/Professor William Paterson University

Rev. Denise Tolbert

  • Overseer of Christ Temple Church Ministries
  • Alum of ECC

Phyllis Walker

  • President – ECC Professional Association
  • Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Ned M. Wilson, Ph.D.

  • President, ECC Faculty Association
  • Professor of Humanities/Computer Science

Johanna Wright

  • Trustee – ECC Board of Trustees
  • Former Educator, South Orange School District


Essex County College, New Jersey


The Board of Trustees invites nominations and applications for the position of President of Essex County College (ECC).  Since its inception in 1968, ECC, a comprehensive community college, has served as a beacon for education and knowledge to its community and region. Serving as many as 19,000 students annually across two distinct campuses and satellite locations, ECC addresses the diverse needs of its student populations through commitment to values of excellence, accountability, engagement, and transformational learning. As a federally designated Predominantly Black Institution and Hispanic Serving Institution, within an urban environment, ECC takes pride in ensuring a teaching and learning environment of collegiality, respect, and inclusivity amongst faculty, staff, and students. ECC’s mission statement affirms its dedication to academic excellence and the success of all students.


Essex County College (ECC), an open-access institution, is accredited by the Middle States Accreditation of Colleges and Schools and several of its Academic programs are also professionally accredited. ECC offers over 70 certificate, degree, and non-degree programs ranging from Pre-Medicine to Cybersecurity and Network Technology to Supply Chain Management, allowing students and the broader community to explore numerous opportunities for academic and professional development. ECC also offers transfer opportunities to many 4-year institutions, including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and New Jersey City University. Additionally, ECC partners with 23 K-12 Districts throughout the county and business, industry and community partners, to provide opportunities for students to earn college credit and to provide customized training.


As an innovator and active community partner throughout the region, ECC has received multi-million-dollar grants which have fueled sophisticated student, faculty, and institutional research and development projects. Partners include the New Jersey Department of Education, the Victoria Foundation, the Essex County Division of Training and Employment, the National Science Foundation, and NASA.


The College’s main campus is in the heart of Newark, across the Hudson River from New York City. The third oldest city in the nation and largest city within the state, Newark offers residents and visitors the opportunity to discover endless cultural, artistic, and educational experiences.


Expectations: Essex County College is seeking an innovative and long-term leader who will deliver thoughtful innovation and ongoing growth by addressing the following:

  • Honor ECC’s extraordinary history and study ECC’s past in order to guide ECC into a post-pandemic future which will continue to provide rigorous and innovative educational offerings for all students.
  • Increase enrollment and retention through a multifaceted approach including enhanced outreach, particularly among underserved populations, and increased student support programs and services.
  • To maintain ECC as the region’s premier higher education institution which will continue to profoundly impact the lives of its students, employees, and the broader community.
  • Provide strong fiscal leadership in order to assure the college’s fiscal health and financial accountability.
  • Manage capital projects, including the rebuilding of the West Essex Campus.
  • Embrace the rich diversity of ECC’s students, staff, and faculty and advance ECC’s deep and ongoing commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and social justice.
  • Strengthen K-12 partnerships and articulation agreements with higher education partners in order to increase enrollment and provide an educational path for all students.
  • Work in collaboration with all constituents to develop a vision for ECC that will build upon accomplishments and successes and propel the institution toward a future which will proactively meet the future needs of students, the community, and workforce partners.

Ideal Characteristics: Essex County College is seeking a leader committed to respecting, valuing, and promoting the ECC’s unique culture and is/has:

  • A motivational and inspirational leader who will serve as ECC’s tireless advocate throughout the region, state, and nation.
  • Experience providing oversight for the assessment of all academic and technical offerings to continuously meet the needs of students and the region’s labor demands.
  • A student focused leader, who has a successful track record of increasing enrollment.
  • Experience developing accessible, holistic student support services including mental health services, transportation, childcare, financial aid, and academic advising to better allow students to meet the demands of their educational and career goals.
  • An economic and workforce development leader experienced in collaborating with business and industry partners and meeting regional labor demands to promote economic equity.
  • Experience assessing and improving online offerings and college-wide technology.
  • Community college accreditation knowledge and experience; both in leading a college through the accreditation process and in serving on accreditation teams for other colleges.
  • Experience in providing leadership in the development, implementation, and review of college strategic planning efforts.
  • Experience leading broad-ranging crisis management situations.
  • Experience working with collective bargaining units.
  • A collaborative leader who will work to increase professional development opportunities for all employees.
  • Dedicated to shared governance and a proponent of the ideals that expertise exists throughout the institution, and better decisions are made when all are invited to provide input.
  • Strong fiscal management skills, a strong financial acumen, and extensive experience providing oversight over large and complex budgets. Understanding of New Jersey’s funding streams from the state and federal government.
  • An entrepreneurial leader who has experience developing new, ongoing, and innovative funding sources.
  • Experience engaging with political and legislative entities at the local, state, and national level.
  • Experience working at urban community colleges.
  • Commitment to working effectively and collaboratively with a governing board.
  • Deep understanding of New Jersey’s higher education landscape.
  • A skilled communicator who will value, respect, and engage with all internal and external constituents.
  • An open-minded, transparent, and accountable leader who leads with compassion and respect.
  • A courageous, transformational leader with a high level of integrity, who builds trust and develops relationships to facilitate the empowerment of employees.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Earned doctorate from a regionally accredited institution is required.
  • Experience serving an open-access and/or minority serving institution.
  • Extensive experience as a senior level administrator in higher education.
  • Higher education teaching experience.
  • Extensive experience overseeing large and complex budgets.




This is a confidential search process. To ensure full consideration, application materials should be received no later than August 25, 2021. The position will remain open until filled.

To apply go to and upload your documents.

Candidates will need to have the following information or materials available to complete the application:

  1. A letter of application (not to exceed 5 pages) that succinctly addresses the opportunities and challenges identified in the Position Profile and demonstrates how the candidate’s experience and professional qualifications prepare them to serve as the President of Essex County College.
  2. A current resume including an email address and cellular telephone number.
  3. A list of eight references: example, two to three supervisors, two to three direct reports and two to three faculty and/or staff members from current and former institutions.

 For additional information, nominations, or confidential inquiries please contact:

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


*An ACCT Search*




Mission, Vision, and Values

Vision Statement

A Beacon for Education and Knowledge, Essex County College attracts people who seek a better life through education. We transform lives, broaden learning and empower students to achieve their full potential. Our college community and graduates are change agents and leaders who contribute to the health, vitality, and advancement of society.

Mission Statement

Essex County College is an open-access community college that serves the diverse needs of students through comprehensive educational programs, training, and continuing education. Essex County College is dedicated to academic excellence and the success of its students.

Values Statement

Essex County College affirms the following principles, values, and beliefs:

  • Teaching and Learning: We affirm teaching and learning as our primary purpose. The College seeks to instill in students general and specialized knowledge, the ability to think critically, and a commitment to civic responsibility. We value academic freedom and support the open exchange of ideas and experiences.
  • Excellence and Accountability: We believe in creating a learning environment that fosters high expectations for achievement. The College is committed to rigorous academic standards, faculty excellence, and responsive support services that enable students to reach their full academic, professional and personal potential. We provide excellent programs that utilize technology, demonstrate innovation, and undergo evaluation to ensure consistent and outstanding performance.
  • Community and Engagement: We support programs that enhance the economic and social development of Essex County. We value our role as a vital community resource and are dedicated to forging effective partnerships with our many constituencies.
  • Diversity and Access: We embrace the rich diversity of our student population and our employees. We recognize the historical, intellectual, and artistic contributions of all cultures, and promote an atmosphere in which critical examination of perspectives is accepted and encouraged. We believe all people should have access to affordable, quality higher education that will prepare them to succeed in a dynamic world.
  • Legacy and Transformation: We honor our history and valued traditions of Essex County College, the City of Newark, and the County of Essex. We also welcome transformative power of education to change lives. Building upon our past achievements, we eagerly embrace the future by pursuing innovations in teaching, administration, and student services.


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