INDIANAPOLIS ― One prominent candidate is out of the running to head up Indiana’s statewide community college system, with former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard withdrawing his name.
Ballard and former Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann were among more than 30 applicants to become the new president of Ivy Tech Community College. Ballard said in a statement Tuesday that he had interviewed for the job, but decided to remove himself from consideration.
The Republican, who didn’t seek re-election in 2015 after eight years as mayor, is pursuing several other opportunities, Ballard spokesman Robert Vane told The Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Ivy Tech officials have said the college’s board expects to decide by the end of April on a replacement for current President Tom Snyder, who is retiring this summer after overseeing more than 30 campuses since 2007.
Ellspermann has been regarded as a leading candidate for the position since Republican Gov. Mike Pence announced in December that she planned to apply for the position. Pence, who appoints the 14 members of the Ivy Tech board, reiterated his support for Ellspermann when she resigned in March and was replaced by former state Republican Party chairman Eric Holcomb.
Ivy Tech officials have declined to identify applicants for the position.
James King, a vice chancellor for Tennessee’s Board of Regents over the state’s 27 technical colleges, has told the Indianapolis Star that he’s seeking the job. He said he would hope to replicate programs that have helped Tennessee’s technical colleges reach an 82 percent graduation rate.
Ivy Tech, meanwhile, has faced questions because just one in four students who start off full-time finish an associate’s degree within six years.
King said he became interested in the Ivy Tech top spot after a staff member for President Barack Obama asked him whether Tennessee’s model could be implemented elsewhere.
“That’s when I thought, if it could be done anywhere, it could be done at Ivy Tech. Because you have a system of campuses that are unified, and it’s the largest singly-accredited community college in the nation,” King said.