Orinthia Montague

Orinthia Montague has been recommended to become the next president of Volunteer State Community College by Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings.

The next president of Volunteer State Community College could be chosen as early as next week.

The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is scheduled to consider the appointment of Orinthia Montague as the college’s next president during a special-called meeting on July 27.

Montague, who has served as the president of Tompkins Cortland Community College in N.Y. since 2017, is being recommended for the position by TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings following a more than three-month search.

“My passion is about helping and giving hope to individuals,” Montague said during a public forum held at Vol State’s Gallatin campus on June 23. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work in a system… that gets the importance of community colleges and is poised to continue to serve their populations in a very unique way. What our students need from us is so varied and diverse and that’s my background – varied and diverse.”

During her time at Tompkins Cortland Community College, Montague helped reverse a decade-long enrollment decline, establish new community partnerships, led the construction of a new childcare center and secured more than $3 million in philanthropic donations, according to a news release.

Prior to that, she served as the dean of students at Normandale Community College in Minn. before becoming vice president of student affairs and chief diversity officer at the school. She has also worked at the University of Missouri – St. Louis along with several other education-related jobs in the St. Louis area.

Montague was among three finalists for the position who were selected by a search committee last month. The other candidates included San Antonio College Vice President for Academic Success Jothany Blackwood and Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus CEO Irene Rios.

Following separate campus visits and forums in late June, Tydings conducted interviews with each of the finalists and reviewed feedback from the public and campus communities before making her hiring recommendation.

“We are fortunate to have had an excellent pool of candidates and three outstanding finalists, each of whom could well serve the Vol State community as its next president,” Tydings said in a prepared statement about the selection process. “I believe that Dr. Montague was particularly well received during the campus forums and that her broad range of college leadership experience and work with students and her vision will help her lead Vol State to even higher levels in serving its students and its communities.”

If approved, Montague would become the fourth president in Vol State’s 50-year history. She would succeed Jerry Faulkner who announced earlier this year that he would retire as president of the school after more than nine years. His last day will be Aug. 31.

The comprehensive two-year public community college primarily serves 11 northern Middle Tennessee counties. In addition to its main campus in Gallatin, Vol State has additional campuses in Cookeville, Livingston and Springfield. The college has more than 450 full-time employees, including more than 180 full-time faculty members, and operates on a budget of more than $90 million.

The Tennessee Board of Regents meeting on Tuesday, July 27 will be held virtually using Microsoft Teams at 2:30 p.m. The meeting will be open to the public and live streamed and archived at www.tbr.edu. Anyone wishing to access to the virtual meeting itself should contact the Sonja Mason at sonja.mason@tbr.edu or call 615-366-3927 by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 26 for more information.