Career Educator Selected in Nationwide Search
The Board of Trustees of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) has appointed Dr. Cheryl Lesser to be the next president of Great Bay Community College (GBCC). GBCC serves New Hampshire’ seacoast region from a campus in Portsmouth and an academic center in Rochester.
Dr. Mark Rubinstein, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH), nominated Lesser after a six-month search process, and the appointment was confirmed unanimously by the Community College System’s board of trustees.
“Dr. Lesser has dedicated her career to the work of community colleges, to the students who find opportunities through them, and to the communities, the employers, and other stakeholders who rely on them for cultural vitality and economic impact,” said Rubinstein. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated commitment to teaching and learning and efficacy in engaging business and industry to ensure that academic program outcomes align with the opportunities that students are seeking. I was particularly impressed with her experience with a range of academic and technical programs—from wind energy and turbine technology to welding—that meshes well with both GBCC’s current offerings, and with areas of emerging need that are currently unmet in the Seacoast. I am confident that Dr. Lesser will be an exceptional leader for the college and a great collaborator for the community and the system as we look for better ways to serve the citizens of New Hampshire.”
Dr. Lesser has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at two community colleges. She comes to Great Bay from Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, PA where she currently oversees an academic enterprise that includes significant focus on healthcare professions, skilled technical programs and transfer-focused programs, an array of workforce and education sectors that are also central to GBCC and the regional and state economy in New Hampshire.
GBCC’s next president has extensive external relations experience, serving as the primary contact for local, state, and federal agencies on issues related to academic programs, and through her work with business and industry advisory committees intended to ensure alignment between program outcomes and employer needs in that region. She has also led the accreditation process for Luzerne, a process that engages every facet of institutional operations and performance though a rigorous self-study and external review.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to be Great Bay Community College’s next president,” said Lesser. “I was instantly drawn to GBCC because of its mission to support the local community, as well as New Hampshire, through excellence, innovation, and collaboration. After having the pleasure of meeting people in person, it was evident that GBCC is exceptional, a place with heart and dedicated to serving students and the greater region. Together, we will continue to focus on serving student and community needs and evolve strategically for future success.”
Lesser’s experience also includes partnering with community organizations and high schools to build educational pathways for area students to accelerate their postsecondary attainment, and securing grants to create new programs in areas of emerging demand.
Hollie Noveletsky, a CCSNH trustee and owner of Novel Iron Works in Greenland, NH, co-chaired the search committee. “After an extensive search that brought a large pool of extremely well qualified candidates, we are thrilled with Dr. Lesser’s acceptance of the appointment as the next president of GBCC. I look forward to working with her as the college builds on its history of providing transformational education and service to its region and state.”
Katharine Shields, chair of the Community College System board of trustees, said “I speak for my colleagues on the board of trustees in extending a very warm welcome to Dr. Lesser. She demonstrated a deep commitment to student success and community engagement, a real authenticity as a leader, and many important accomplishments at her previous institutions. I look forward to all that she will bring to the college and its many constituencies.”
Dr. Lesser will begin officially March 28, 2022. Until that time, interim President Cathryn Addy will remain in the leadership role at the college.
The Trustees of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) have selected Dr. Patrick Tompkins, currently with the Virginia Community College System, to be the next president of NHTI-Concord’s Community College. He will assume his new role on February 1, 2023.