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Jay K. Box Named 'Preferred Candidate' For Kentucky Community College System President

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The Board of Regents for Kentucky's community college system on Wednesday named a "preferred candidate" to replace President Michael McCall, who is retiring.

Since 2009, Dr. Jay K. Box has been the chancellor, a leadership position that oversees academic affairs, economic development, workforce training, and research and policy analysis, according to a release from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.A presidential search committee has been reviewing candidate materials since August, according to the release, and on Tuesday the Board of Regents voted unanimously in favor of Box. Box currently serves as the state lead for the Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky Initiative, which provides skills and training with "expected outcome of students earning credentials that lead to high wage, high demand careers," the release said.He received his master's degree in education from Texas Tech University in 1985 and a doctoral degree in educational administration, higher education/community college specialty from Baylor University in 1994.A forum will be held in Versailles on Nov. 18, and KCTCS faculty and staff are invited to attend. The KCTCS Board of Regents will hold a special meeting on Nov. 19 to review feedback and to approve the final contract.If approved, Box would begin in the new position on Jan. 16, 2015.McCall, 67, announced a year ago his intention to retire on Jan. 15, 2015, ending 16 years as the only president to run KCTCS since the community and technical college systems were merged in 1999. Under his watch, the system has grown from 49 to 72 campuses and 53,000 to 92,000 students, although enrollment fell 15 percent from 2011 to 2013. Enrollment for 2014 is not available.KCTCS Board Chairman P.G. Peeples, also co-chairman of the search committee, said 40 people applied for the position.Paring that field down to three finalists took longer than expected. Peeples said in mid-September that finalists would “probably” be named in October and that a new president would be announced after Nov. 1. At the end of October, he said the search committee was hopeful of “wrapping this up” in mid-November.The $669,463 that McCall received in total compensation in fiscal 2013 made himthe highest-paid community and technical college system president in the U.S., according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Presidents of much-bigger systems in other states, like North Carolina, are paid much less than McCall.Reporter Jim McNair, of Louisville Public Media's Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, contributed to this report.