Leadership coach hired for Follins

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Follins is working as a consultant to universities, according to Linkedin.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

Chancellor Bruce Leslie and the Alamo Colleges District spent approximately $11,000 assigning Dr. Craig Follins, former president of Northeast Lakeview College, a coach to educate Follins on “leadership coaching and team building.”

Gary O’Bar, district director for purchasing, said Dr. Preston Pulliam, member of the Gold Hills Associates president search team, was responsible for coaching Follins.

O’Bar said Pulliam received two payments of $5,900 and $5,100, respectively, for coaching Follins.

O’Bar said Gold Hills Associates was selected as administrative search provider over six other competitors because of their accolades.

Leo Zuniga, associate vice chancellor of communications, said Pulliam was hired in July 2015 to help Follins with leadership and team building, approximately two months before Leslie’s first memo to Follins about his conduct sent Oct. 1, 2015.

According to the memo, the coach was hired to address Follins’ involvement with Northeast Lakeview’s accreditation and interaction with his colleagues.

In the Oct. 1, 2015, memo, Leslie said Follins was absent during a visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ visit to Northeast Lakeview.

Leslie said Follins’ absence “created a serious breach in the mutual support we all pledged to each other …”

Leslie said “any SACSCOC issues related to NLC will, justifiably or not, be perceived as a result of your (Follin’s) absence,” according to the memo.

In the Oct. 1 memo, Leslie said Pulliam submitted a summary of his engagement with Follins and meetings with key leaders at Northeast Lakeview.

The report said Follins believed issues communicating with colleagues as the result of “a few ‘people with axes to grind’ and that the problems are not at the severe level,” according to the memo.

“Frankly, this is your responsibility, not theirs,” Leslie wrote.

Leslie accused Follins of approaching circumstances and communication through a defensive “screen” and said Follins acknowledged he made mistakes in his leadership.

In a memo Leslie sent to Follins Oct. 28, Leslie accused Follins of engaging in “a pattern of abusive behavior” Leslie had encountered before.

Leslie accused Follins of misconduct when communicating with Debra Martinez, administrative assistant to the chancellor, and Tangila Dove, vice president of college services at Northeast Lakeview.

Leslie discussed an exit plan with Follins, saying “I reaffirmed my desire that you be successful and expressed my concern that a buyout may actually end your career … finding a job while in your job may be critical to preserving your career. Nevertheless, I agreed to work with Linda (Boyer-Owens) to identify options.”

In both the Oct. 1, 2015, memo and the Oct. 28, 2015, memo, Leslie expressed concern for Follins’ future, saying he sees a future for Follins as a leader.

Leslie sent a memo to Follins Oct. 28 terminating Follins from his position and reassigning him to the newly created district position of special projects administrator.

On Dec. 1, 2015, Follins signed a negotiated separation agreement with the district, which said he was terminated “for cause.”

According to Follins’ Linkedin page, he is a marketplace insight and consulting strategist and predictive analytics expert.

Follins’ Linkedin page says he is a faculty member of University of Phoenix, “teaching a variety of courses ranging in behavioral sciences and teambuilding for doctoral and undergraduate students,” and a contributing faculty member at Walden University.

The Ranger reached out to both universities and Follins, but none was able to comment.

When asked to comment on Follins’ negotiated separation agreement, Zuniga spoke for Leslie saying The Ranger was given all the information requested, Follins no longer works for the district and, thus, there is no statement to be made.

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