Joan Yvette Davis, the interim president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was selected Wednesday to become the new chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans. She will begin work in July.
Davis was the unanimous choice of the 17-member board of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, which announced the selection at a meeting in Baton Rouge.
“The opportunity to work at Delgado as a chancellor is a lifelong dream,” Davis said during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.
A native of Macon, Georgia, Davis grew up in Tuscaloosa. She earned an undergraduate degree in English from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and a law degree from the University of Alabama.
She previously worked as chief executive officer for the Alabama Technology Network, which provides workforce-development training and assistance. For more than nine years, she served as legal counsel to the Alabama State Board of Education.
Davis said the new job will allow her to mesh her two passions, education and law.
She will make $185,000 a year.
Delgado’s previous chancellor, Monty Sullivan, left in February to become president of the Community and Technical College System. He recommended Davis for the post.
“As part of a national pool (of applicants) that was talented and diverse, she emerged as clearly one of the finalists,” Sullivan said. “She brings a unique combination of skills and experiences, having served as a system president, college president, an attorney and as an educational and workforce-development professional.”
He cited Davis’ work in both economic and workforce development as key to her selection.
According to Sullivan, Delgado just graduated its largest class ever. He said the growth of the city’s economy and New Orleans’ burgeoning reputation as a “brain magnet” have put Delgado in a strong position to provide qualified employees to local business.
“The responsibility of the community college is to put out the workforce that promotes economic growth,” Sullivan said.
Davis was one of three finalists for the job, along with John Graham, executive director of the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center, and Gordon May, president of Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
The three participated in on-campus interviews last month.
According to board member Timothy Hardy, the search for a new chancellor weighed the needs of faculty, administrators, students and other stakeholders. “Everybody was included,” he said.
Delgado, which has 10 campuses across the New Orleans area, had an enrollment of 18,684 students as of last fall.
Davis said her first priority is to get engaged with the Delgado community.
“A wonderful stage has been set by my predecessors for my work with faculty and staff in moving Delgado to the next level,” she said.
The community college system board made one other appointment Wednesday, naming Earl Meador as interim chancellor of Fletcher Community College in Terrebonne Parish.
Meador, who also serves as director of South Central Louisiana Technical College, welcomed Davis to the community.
“I’m excited to have a new leader in New Orleans,” he said.
Staff writer Elizabeth Crisp contributed to this report.