Baton Rouge Community College has a new interim chancellor in James F. Horton Jr.

Horton is the retiring president of Yavapai College in a relatively rural section of Arizona north of Phoenix. He was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors.

Horton has vowed not to seek the job beyond the interim. He replaces Myrtle Dorsey, who left BRCC last week to become the new chancellor of St. Louis Community College.

Horton, 67, is scheduled to take over as interim chancellor July 5, with LCTCS President Joe May assisting to lead the campus in the meantime.

Horton will receive a pro-rated pay package of $206,000, which is the same that Dorsey made.

“He’s a very committed professional … a tremendous guy,” May said of Horton. “I’m really pretty excited about finding someone of this quality who’s available on short notice.”

May had hoped to name an interim chancellor in May, but he said there were delays in finding the right person who could also fit the schedule for taking over.

“I really wanted someone to start today,” May said.

Yavapai College is comparable to BRCC as a community college with an overall enrollment of about 9,000 students. Horton took over as president there in 2005.

Prior to Yavapai, Horton was vice chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates for more than three years.

But before traveling overseas, he was the chancellor of the San Jacinto College District near Houston.

Horton is vacationing internationally and was not available for comment.

But, in a prepared statement, Horton said, “I am fascinated by the exponential growth of Baton Rouge Community College.

“My role will be to facilitate the continuation of this success and look for new ways the college can contribute to student and economic development,” Horton added.

May said he wanted to avoid a “conflict of interest,” so he opted to hire an outsider who is not interested in the job beyond the interim. May said he expects internal and in-state candidates to apply for the permanent job.

The expectation is Horton will serve as interim chancellor for about six months, May said, while a national search is conducted.

On Tuesday, LCTCS spokeswoman Kizzy Payton said the interim chancellor paperwork, which would have named Horton, would not be completed until Wednesday.

But the documentation regarding Horton released Wednesday was dated May 17. Payton stated the paperwork was backdated to reflect the original date board meeting items were due for submission.

May said he worked with the Association of Community College Trustees to identify close to 10 candidates for the interim job. May said he then worked to find the best fit who could take over quickly.

The ACCT also will help lead the national search to find a permanent chancellor, May said.

Horton’s deal allows him to remain chancellor for as long as June 30, 2012. But May insisted Horton will only serve that long if there are serious problems with the search process.

Horton is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a doctorate from the University of North Texas.

Horton and his wife, Debbie, have five children.