Harper to hire Florida college leader as new president

  • Avis Proctor

    Avis Proctor

Updated 2/11/2019 4:17 PM

Harper College's board on Monday announced its choice for the next president of the Palatine-based community college.

Avis Proctor, currently president of Broward College's North Campus in Coconut Creek, Florida, is set to become the sixth president in Harper's history, pending a vote by the board on a proposed three-year contract Wednesday night.


Proctor emerged from a field of three finalists who visited campus last month to meet with the college board, foundation board, administrators, students, faculty senate and union leadership. She also participated in forums that were open to the public and campus community.

Proctor, a one-time high school math teacher, has spent 25 years in the educational field. She's worked her way up over nearly two decades at the Florida community college -- first as a mathematics faculty member, then dean and vice president, interim president, and since 2014, president.

An Aspen Presidential Fellow, Proctor focuses on three prongs of education -- teaching, service and research -- and has worked on early childhood education, dual enrollment and college readiness/completion initiatives, Harper officials said.

Greg Dowell, chair of the Harper board, said board members plan to discuss their appointment of Proctor during a meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday. A formal vote is also planned on her $305,000-a-year contract, which would run between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2022. She would be eligible for raises following annual performance reviews with the board.

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A native of St. Croix, Proctor earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics education from Florida A&M University, a master's degree in teaching mathematics from Florida Atlantic University, and a doctoral degree in higher education from Florida International University.

Proctor would succeed current Harper President Ken Ender, who is set to step down June 30 after a decade at the helm. A nationwide search for his successor yielded 43 applicants -- 35 of which were deemed to be "qualified" by Harper's search consultant, R.H. Perry & Associates. A 19-person search committee, made up of Harper administrators, faculty and foundation board trustees, met with 10 semifinalists in December before narrowing the list to three.

The seven-person college board then met with the finalists in closed session. The other two were Johnny Moore, president of Pierpont Community & Technical College in Fairmont, West Virginia, and Annette Parker, president of South Central College in North Mankato and Faribault, Minnesota.

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