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Kentucky's Community College System Picks a New President

Updated: Jay Box, a top administrator in Kentucky's community college system, will become the system's new president in January, the board of regents announced Wednesday.

Box will be the Kentucky Community and Technical College System's second president. He'll replace Michael McCall, who is retiring.

KCTCS operates Kentucky's 16 community and technical colleges, including Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville. Box has served since 2009 as the system's chancellor, overseeing academic affairs, economic development and other matters. He'd previously served as president of Hazard Community and Technical College and other administrative roles in the system.

In May, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting looked at the$669,463 in compensationKCTCS awarded to McCall, who is the highest-paid community and technical college president in the U.S. 

No information was made in the announcement about the compensation for Box, who officially assumes the KCTCS presidency on Jan. 16. We'll update this story later today with comments from Box.

Forty people completed the application process for the KCTCS presidency. Last week, the KCTCS regents named Box theirpreferred candidate during a special meeting held without the usual advance notice to the public. No other candidates were named.

“He has demonstrated in his current role and through his many years of higher education and community college leadership, that he has the necessary experience, vision and skills to take KCTCS to the next level of becoming the nation’s premier community and technical college system," said regents chair P.G. Peeples Jr. said of Box in a statement.

Updated 3:56 p.m.: Word from Box

WEKU's Stu Johnson spoke with Box today. Here's part of his report:
Box says his accomplishments include furthering student completion, enhancing transfer policies and dual credit initiatives. The Texas native admits being an insider may bring more scrutiny. "People know me. They know maybe some of the areas that I'm not strong in, but I think the board's decision shows that they see the strengths that I bring to this position and I think my strengths will help the system be able to move forward," said Box. Box says he expects the number of Kentucky high school graduates to flatten out or even decline. He anticipates an increase in older non-traditional students entering the KCTCS. "Those students, more than others, have failed in the education system before and that's why they don't have their high school diploma and so once we can get them to get their GED and enter with us, we think we've got a chance to help that group to be successful," added Box.
Peeples, the board or regents chair, told WEKU: "Our hiring process was a thorough, open one and he just happened to be the candidate that we chose after interviewing people from all over the country. We started this thing with 40 applicants."