NIC receives 59 applicants for president’s job

Despite the turmoil at North Idaho College, the two-year school isn’t lacking for presidential applicants.

In all, 59 candidates applied for the president’s job by the Monday afternoon deadline, spokeswoman Laura Rumpler said Tuesday morning.

It’s unclear how many of the applicants are in-house, or from off campus. Under public records law, colleges are not required to release applicants’ names, until they select finalists.

This could happen within a few weeks.

An NIC presidential search committee hopes to interview eight to 10 semifinalists in May.

Once the committee narrows the field, finalists are expected to come to campus in June, to interview with trustees and meet with campus and community groups.

Hiring a president is one of the big challenges facing NIC. The turmoil at the top spot is also one of several flashpoints at the embattled two-year school, which is facing lingering questions about its accreditation.

On Sept. 22, a divided board of trustees fired President Rick MacLennan without cause and without explanation. The move came just weeks after trustees voted to rescind a campus mask mandate, instituted by MacLennan. Ultimately, MacLennan received a settlement of nearly $500,000.

On Oct. 25, in another divided vote, trustees voted to promote wrestling coach Michael Sebaaly as interim president, with critics questioning Sebaaly’s limited administrative experience and the qualifications NIC used for the $180,000-a-year hire.

It’s unclear whether Sebaaly is applying to stay on the post. In an Idaho Education News interview Wednesday — just five days before the application deadline — he would not say whether he would seek the job long-term. Sebaaly did not immediately respond to a followup email from Idaho EdNews Tuesday.

The president’s post isn’t the only high-profile vacancy at NIC.

The college has lost several key administrators, including three vice presidents.

And as of May 3, the five-member board of trustees will be down to only two elected members — Chairman Todd Banducci and Greg McKenzie. Banducci and McKenzie were two of the three trustees who voted to fire MacLennan and promote Sebaaly.

The State Board of Education will appoint three new members to the board on May 6, and the new members will serve until the November election. Applications are due to the State Board on April 25.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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