On November 28, 2016, Polk State President Eileen Holden announced her plan to retire from the College in July 2017. As Polk State’s fourth president, Holden has served the community for nearly eleven years and has steered the institution through a period of unprecedented growth, expanding the physical footprint of the College to seven locations, adding six baccalaureate degree programs, increasing enrollment by over 50%, and nearly doubling the Foundation’s assets. Holden’s legacy is of achievement; she leaves behind a truly exceptional institution.

The Polk State College District Board of Trustees (DBOT) will now embark on the process to find a new president as outlined in College’s DBOT Rule 1.10.  As the Board works through this process, updates will be posted to this webpage. Specific questions can be mailed to: presidentialsearch@polk.edu.

  1. DBOT Special Meeting - February 13, 2017

    Polk State College District Board of Trustees Appoints Presidential Screening Committee

    Winter Haven, February 13, 2017- Today, the Polk State College District Board of Trustees (DBOT) appointed the initial members of the Presidential Screening Committee who will assist in the search for the next President of Polk State College.

    Per DBOT Rule 1.10, the presidential selection process dictates that the Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for appointing and employing a new president based on criteria of their choosing. However, a screening committee, selected by the DBOT and made up of members of the College and community, is tasked to help identify, recruit, assess, and recommend candidates for final interview by the DBOT.

    The Presidential Screening Committee will be chaired by Mark Turner, Vice-Chair of the DBOT. The DBOT has approved a selection of individuals who represent all parts of the college and of the local business and education communities. The appointees include: Polk County School Superintendent Jackie Byrd, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, Polk State Faculty Senate President Bill Caldecutt, Lake Wales Arts Council President Katie Lippert, and current baccalaureate degree student Gonzalo Gutierrez.

    “When selecting the committee members who would serve on the presidential screening committee, it was very important to us that the group mirror the constituencies of the college and community,” said Greg Littleton, Chairman of the DBOT. “We envisioned a strong, diverse committee that would bring excellent skills to the task at hand, instill trust and credibility among the institution’s constituent groups, work together cohesively, and ensure a professional and comfortable experience for the candidates.”

    A critical component of the presidential screening process is public engagement. As such, the public is encouraged to participate in the selection process by providing feedback regarding the characteristics they hope to see in a new college president. The DBOT Presidential Screening Committee will host two community forums; these forums are open to the public and will take place at Polk State Winter Haven on Wednesday, February 15 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in room WST 126 and at Polk State Lakeland on Thursday, February 16 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in room LAC 1133.

    For more information about the presidential screening process, please visit polk.edu/presidential-search.

    Located in Winter Haven, FL and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving over 20,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools. Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.

  2. DBOT Special Meeting - January 17, 2017

    The Polk State College District Board of Trustees (DBOT) held its second special meeting to discuss the presidential search on Tuesday, January 17.

    The DBOT reviewed five responses received from national and regional executive search firms that have applied to assist with the presidential search process. The firms’ responses were based on the College’s Scope of Services Document that was released on December 16. The trustees discussed the various proposals and unanimously voted to select Dr. Jeff Hockaday of Sanford, North Carolina to assist in the search. Dr. Hockaday was also the consultant used by the College during the 2004 presidential search that resulted in the appointment of Dr. Holden.

    The role of the consultant is to recruit qualified candidates and to guide the trustees through the search process as outlined in the College’s District Board of Trustees Rule 1.10.

    Staff members have been instructed to expedite a contract with Dr. Hockaday. Once Dr. Hockaday is under contract, the next steps will include the development of the list of minimum qualifications and preferred characteristics for the presidential candidates, as well as the determination of the size and makeup of the search committee.

    The Polk State District Board of Trustees remains committed and determined to ensuring a smooth, efficient, and transparent presidential search process. Please continue to utilize this site for updates regarding the process. Additional inquiries should be directed to presidentialsearch@polk.edu.


  3. DBOT Special Meeting - December 15, 2016

    The Polk State College District Board of Trustees (DBOT) convened a special meeting on December 15, 2016 to discuss the selection process for the new president as outlined in DBOT Rule 1.10 and per Florida Statutes.

    The DBOT unanimously agreed to solicit a consultant to assist in the search process – a search firm would be able to guide the DBOT through the process and assist with vetting candidates. The DBOT approved a solicitation letter that will be sent to a number of search firms that have experience with Florida higher education. This letter will also be posted to the College’s purchasing webpage.

    The DBOT also approved a tentative timeline, which is subject to change as the search progresses.

    The DBOT will meet again in January 2017 to review proposals from consulting firms; the date of this meeting will be posted on the polk.edu Events calendar and this page.

    The Polk State District Board of Trustees remains committed and determined to ensuring a smooth, efficient, and transparent presidential search process. Please continue to utilize this site for search updates. Additional inquiries should be directed to presidentialsearch@polk.edu