Three finalists selected for next Vol State president. Campus visits, public forums June 22-24.

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A Tennessee Board of Regents Search Advisory Committee has selected three finalists for the next president of Volunteer State Community College. They will participate in campus visits – including forums with the public and campus groups – June 22, 23 and 24, the next step in the selection process.

The finalists are:

  • Dr. Jothany L. Blackwood, vice president for academic success at San Antonio College in San Antonio, Texas. She earned her Ed.D in educational leadership from California State University, and her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in English from Tennessee State University.
  • Dr. Orinthia T. Montague, president of Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, New York. She earned her Ph.D in higher education administration at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, her Master of Arts degree in counseling at Lindenwood College and her Bachelor of Arts in interpersonal communication at Truman State University.
  • Dr. Irene Rios, chief executive officer of Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus in Suffolk County, New York.  She earned her Ed.D in educational leadership from the University of Hartford in Connecticut, her Master of Science in curriculum design and instructional strategies and her Bachelor of Science in business administration and management, both from Rochester Institute of Technology.

The finalists’ complete resumes and photos, information about their upcoming campus visits and other information about the search process are available for review on the Volunteer State Community College presidential search page of the Tennessee Board of Regents website at  

Each candidate will participate in meetings and forums with faculty, staff, students and the public on the Vol State campus. Dr. Blackwood is scheduled for Tuesday, June 22; Dr. Montague on Wednesday, June 23, and Dr. Rios on Thursday, June 24. All three public forums are scheduled for 3 to 4 p.m. on the day of their visits, in Wemyss Auditorium of Caudill Hall on the main campus in Gallatin. The public forums will also be live streamed on the Vol State website here:

After the campus visits, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings will gather feedback from the forums and meetings with the finalists to select one candidate for nomination to the Board of Regents, which will appoint the next president during a meeting that will be scheduled later.

Vol State’s current president, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, announced his retirement earlier this year, effective Aug. 31. He has served more than nine years at the third president in the college’s 50-year history.

Dr. Jerry Faulkner announced his retirement in February, effective Aug. 31 after more than nine years as the third president in Volunteer State’s 50-year history. The Board of Regents approved criteria for the next president at its March 25 meeting. The position was posted, and an 18-member Search Advisory Committee was appointed March 31, including three members of the Board of Regents as well as representatives of the college’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, and civic and business leaders from the community.

The committee held its first meeting and a public forum April 28. The committee spent subsequent weeks reviewing applicants and nominees before selecting the three finalists.

The President is the chief executive officer of the college. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Vol State is a comprehensive, two-year public community college primarily serving 11 northern Middle Tennessee counties. In addition to its main campus in Gallatin, it has campuses in Cookeville, Livingston and Springfield.  Additional information can be found at the college’s website: