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SCC president named finalist for other college job

Stanly Community College’s president is among four finalists interviewing for the head of a larger school in Winston-Salem.

John Enamait has made the final cut to interview next week to become the next president at Forsyth Technical Community College, the fifth largest community college in the state. The college announced his candidacy Thursday, the same day Enamait informed his faculty and staff.

He had advised the SCC Board of Trustees in a closed session at its August meeting.

John Enamait

“First of all, I love being president at Stanly Community College,” Enamait said. “The board of trustees, students, faculty, staff, and community have been very good to my family and me. We are happy in Stanly County and have not been actively pursuing other opportunities.”

A search firm sought Enamait and encouraged him to apply for an upcoming vacancy at Forsyth Tech due to the impending retirement of Gary Green, the school’s current president. Green is set to retire at the end of the year after 17 years at the helm.

Enamait said he labored over the decision, initially refusing the overture before he finally agreed to apply.

“At Stanly Community College, we stress to students, faculty, and staff that they should strive to grow,” Enamait said. “Professionally, this opportunity is one that could allow me to continue to grow as a professional and perhaps be a capstone to my career as Forsyth is one of the largest community colleges in North Carolina.”

The pool for Forsyth’s successor began at 60 applicants before it was pared to 11, then four.

Of the candidates, Enamait is believed to be the youngest at 43 years old. He’s the only one to presently hold the title of community college president, although an applicant from a larger college in Florida is president of the Miami Dade College’s Homestead campus. Enamait is also the only male candidate.

Enamait took the reins at SCC on Aug. 15, 2016.

Like the SCC faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees has been equally supportive of Enamait’s pursuit of the job.

“It didn’t take the SCC board of trustees long to realize we had selected a rising star as president of SCC a couple of years ago,” said Robert Stonestreet, chairman of the SCC board. “While we certainly do not want to lose Dr. Enamait and feel he is a great fit for our community, we do support him in his upward career progression. Regardless of the outcome, we are fortunate to have been Dr. Enamait’s first presidency and appreciate the very positive impact he has had on SCC.”

Forsyth Tech, a dual-county college with Forsyth and Stokes, has an enrollment of 11,000 students and more than 24,000 students in its continuing education.

Most recently, Enamait’s administration has implemented nine full-time success coaches to serve as students advisors, instead of faculty members.

Also under Enamait’s direction, SCC’s main building underwent a renovation after it was found to contain asbestos.

Like with Brenda Kays, previous SCC president, Enamait’s efforts to develop a culinary program ran aground. While Kays efforts failed due to political interference, Enamait’s attempt was met with prohibitive costs.

SCC also ranks at or near the bottom in funding compared to other community colleges across the state.

However, Enamait insists that neither of those shortfalls impacted his decision to apply.

“My interest in the position is in no way a reflection of Stanly Community College or our fantastic community,” he said. “I understand some may think what happened with the culinary project may influence my inclination to pursue other opportunities, but that is not the case. I’m proud of how Stanly Community College handled the project in conducting our due diligence and making the best decisions possible.

“Community colleges across the state struggle with funding,” Enamait added. “Stanly Community College is no different, but our county commissioners are very supportive of the college.”

The four finalists will visit the Forsyth campus Monday through Thursday, meeting with faculty, staff and students. The search committee will interview the candidates before making a recommendation to the college’s trustees.

A final decision rests with the State Board of Community Colleges.

A decision is expected by late October or early November.   

Contact Ritchie Starnes at 704-754-5076 or ritchie.starnes@stanlynewspress.com.