Dr. Becky Paneitz has been the Northwest Arkansas Community College president since 2003 but she'll pass the torch to Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson when she retires in June.
NWACC leaders think their newly selected president's experience with community colleges will help her improve the Bentonville institution.
"She started her education at the community college system herself,” said Joe Spivey, NWACC Vice-Chairman. “She understands what our students are needing at a community college and how to get our students to the next level."
Dr. Jorgenson will take over as president after the spring semester but the announcement was made early in hopes of a smooth transition.
"With a new president there's always challenges but there's always new opportunities as well,” said Alex Vasquez, NWACC Board of Trustees member. “We are excited to see how the next president will build upon the great legacy that's here left by Dr. Burns and then now Dr. Paneitz."
Dr. Jorgenson has been president of Moberly Area Community College in Missouri for the last 16 years.
Spivy thinks her experience will help turn NWACC’s declining enrollment numbers.
"Dr. Jorgenson will be able to take this college to the next level because I think it takes somebody that is both a leader, someone that has vision but someone that can balance also working with a Board of Trustees as well as working with the community," Spivy said.
He also hopes to see her lead the way for expansion into Washington County near Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.
Spivey said in their search, they were looking for someone who can follow Dr. Paneitz's legacy while taking the institution to the next level and said Dr. Jorgenson has what it takes to do that.
“I just think she's going to be the type of person that we can expect on our campus day in and day out working daylight to done on what needs to be done to carry this college forward," Spivey said.
The search for the new school leader began back in August.
Dr. Jorgenson is set to take over as the NWACC president on July 1, 2013.
Vasquez, expects to see her at several NWACC events throughout the spring semester.