Chancellor suggests dismissal was standard higher education politics.
By Kyle R. Cotton
One of four finalists for president of Northeast Lakeview College was removed this month as president of Texas Southmost College in Brownsville.
The search for a new president was conducted over the summer after Dr. Craig Follins was removed as president of Northeast Lakeview in November.
Dr. Lily Tercero was placed on administrative leave with pay pending a dismissal hearing by Texas Southmost board of trustees Aug. 2. The board named Mike Shannon, vice president of student services, as interim CEO.
Tercero, who served as chief budget officer for the Alamo Colleges 2010-11, is scheduled to visit the college Sept. 2.
The finalists were selected by a search team led by Dr. Tangila Dove, vice president of college services, who told The Ranger she was unaware of any issues with Tercero.
“She was still employed when we came to a decision,” Dove said.
Because they’ve already extended the invitation to Tercero, they have to go forward with her visit, Dove said.
Chancellor Bruce Leslie, who was unemployed at the time he was hired by the Alamo Colleges after resigning from Houston Community College System in 2006, said Tuesday that this is the politics of higher education right now.
“If you look across the country, you will see college presidents moving around all the time,” Leslie said.
Leslie said he was aware of Tercero’s removal but said he has stayed out of the search and let the search committee handle the selection of the finalists.
“She’s just a finalist; I still have to present a final selection to the board,” Leslie said. “We’ll go through the interview process, and whoever I feel is the best candidate will be the one I select.”
The other finalists and dates of their visits are:
- 30: Dr. Regan Romali, president of H.S. Truman College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago system, where Follins served as president of Oliver-Harvey College prior to coming to the Alamo Colleges.
- 31: Dr. Michelle Woodhouse, provost/chief operation officer of Tidewater Community College Norfolk Campus in Virginia.
- 6: Dr. Gregory Thomas, vice president of student affairs/institutional research, effectiveness and accreditation of Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Ill.
Each candidate will go through a daylong interview process including a public forum 2-2:30 p.m. in Room 211 of Northeast Lakeview’s library and an employee forum 2:45-3:45 p.m. in the performing arts center.
They were announced publicly Tuesday on the college website.
The short biography on the website lists Tercero as former president of Texas Southmost College, Tercero had served as president of the college since October 2011.
From 1999-2010, Tercero served in Tarrant County College District’s planning and budget services department as a director of planning and institutional effectiveness from 1999-2007 and an associate vice chancellor for planning and budgeting services from 2007-10.
Her education includes a doctoral degree in educational administration from the University of Texas in Austin, a master’s in business administration with a concentration in finance and management from the University of Texas at Permian Basin in Odessa and a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in management and marketing, graduating with honors.
In the press release announcing Tercero’s dismissal, Trey Mendez, Texas Southmost board of trustees vice chair, did not give a detailed reason for the Aug. 2 decision.
“It was clear that the institution needed a change in leadership,” Mendez said in a press release regarding Tercero’s dismissal.
The Valley Morning Star reported it was the result of an internal investigation regarding a windstorm insurance policy.
Mendez told The Star the investigation started after the policy expired in 2015 and Tercero renewed the policy in 2016 without board approval.
Mendez did not return calls from The Ranger.
Dove said in the July 13 Skype interview with Tercero, none of these issues were discussed.