RCC Taps Firm To Seek New President; Selection Expected Spring 2023

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Isaacson, Miller,  Same Recruiter That Found Dr. Michael Baston, Will Lead Search For New Leader


Rockland Community College (RCC) has begun a national search for its 8th president after Dr. Michael A. Baston, who led the school for five years, accepted a new position last July. The college has hired Isaacson, Miller to lead the presidential search.

Isaacson, Miller, the same recruiter that found Baston, is known for recruiting senior leaders of colleges and universities, academic medical centers, foundations, preK-12 education, and education improvement organizations. They focus on supporting mission-driven organizations.

“One of the reasons we selected Isaacson, Miller was their ability to identify and recruit exceptional candidates from a broad range of backgrounds across nonprofit, corporate, and government sectors,” said Joseph Rand, RCC’s Vice Chair, who will serve as the Chair of the presidential search for the Suffern-based college.

“We were pleased with their efforts to identify our last president and we believe they will provide us with a list of exceptional candidates that we can choose from to lead RCC into the College’s exciting next chapter.”

The RCC Board of Trustees issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) this summer.

Five RCC Board of Trustees members will join Mr. Rand on the search committee: Ileana Eckert, Lynne Hilowitz, Grant Valentine, Elana Yeger, and student trustee, Rafhilene Frias-Sanchez. Rand, who is Chief Creative Officer for Howard Hanna | Rand Realty, is also a Trustee for the Village of Nyack.

The Board is also working closely with representatives from the State University of New York to ensure compliance with established best practices for community colleges, according to the search committee.

Baston, who has navigated Rockland Community College through a dynamic era of social upheaval, a progressive educational movement, and a pandemic, accepted a new position as President of Cuyahoga Community College located in Cleveland, Ohio.

Under his leadership, the college secured $30 million in grants, capital, and other fundraising efforts, including back-to-back Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institution awards, the largest grants in RCC’s 62-year history.

There had been broad consensus that Baston was a popular and accessible figure whose accomplishments included launching the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center in Nyack, introducing a guided pathway academic school model, adding Career and English Skills Academies to address middle-skills workforce needs, to name a few.

Before the search firm begins its process to replace Baston, the Board of Trustees, along with the Search Committee, which will recruit representation from the College’s various constituents including faculty, students, staff, members of the community, and alumni, in order to develop a presidential profile.

All individuals considered for the position will undergo careful review, reference checks, as well as internet and social media searches. The Board will then select candidates to interview and finalists will be announced. Next steps will include campus visits, candidate forums, and interviews.

Once this process is complete, the Board of Trustees will meet and select the next president. The selected candidate must also receive SUNY  approval.

RCC is anticipating a final decision by spring 2023.

Details of the process will be outlined on https://sunyrockland.edu/about/presidential-search/