Lee Cabinet member named president of Northeast State Community College

Gov. Bill Lee, bottom left, looks on as his Cabinet takes the oath of office in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig Tennessee Journal)

Jeff McCord, the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce in Gov. Bill Lee’s administration, has been named president of Northeast State Community College.

Here’s the release from the state Board of Regents:

NASHVILLE (Aug. 8, 2022) – The Tennessee Board of Regents today unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Jeff McCord as the next president of Northeast State Community College, effective Sept. 30.

Dr. McCord, currently commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, will be returning to the college he served as a vice president for seven years prior to his appointment as commissioner. As Northeast State’s vice president for economic and workforce development from 2012 to 2019, he led the successful operation and expansion of the college’s Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing and provided administrative leadership for the Kingsport Academic Village, among other responsibilities.

“I’m excited to come alongside the hundreds of individuals who work at the College, who love the College, and who want the very best for the students and communities in which they live,” McCord said after the board’s vote. “Northeast Tennessee is a special place with enormous opportunity. And Northeast State is central to helping our region realize its potential.”

He will succeed Dr. Bethany Bullock, who stepped down as Northeast’s president in March, and Dr. Connie Marshall, the college’s vice president for academic affairs who is serving as interim president. Board members thanked Dr. Marshall for her work as interim president.

In other action during today’s special-called meeting, the Board of Regents approved criteria for the next presidents of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology at Athens and Murfreesboro. TCAT Athens President Stewart Smith is retiring Dec. 31 and TCAT Murfreesboro President Carol Puryear is retiring Sept. 30, both after 30 years of service in the College System of Tennessee.

Approval of the criteria is the first step in the search process for the next presidents. Search advisory committees, composed of Board members and representatives of the colleges’ faculty, staff, students and alumni and the local civic and business communities, will be appointed soon.

McCord earned a Doctor of Education degree in Learning & Leadership at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

He was appointed commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development by Gov. Bill Lee in January 2019, after he served for seven years as Northeast State’s vice president for economic and workforce development. Prior to joining the Northeast State leadership team in January 2012, he worked in several leadership and management positions at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport from 1996 to 2012. His full resumé is posted on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/hr/executivesearches/president-northeast-state-community-college.

McCord was one of four finalists for the Northeast presidency recommended in late June by a 17-member search advisory committee that reviewed 58 applicants and candidates. Chaired by Regent Miles Burdine of Kingsport, the search committee also included Board Members Emily J. Reynolds and Danni Varlan, representatives of the college’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, and civic and business leaders from the Northeast Tennessee area. The finalists participated in campus visits and open forums with campus groups and the public July 11-14.

After the forums, Dr. Tydings reviewed input from the campus community and the public and conducted further interviews with each of the finalists before recommending McCord to the board.

The Tennessee Board of Regents governs the state’s public community colleges and colleges of applied technology. Today’s meeting was live-streamed and is archived on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/board/august-8-2022-special-called-board-meeting.


Posts and Opinions about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.