Highline will survive leadership change

By Izzy Anderson - Staff Reporter

Highline leaders say the college will survive and thrive through what appears to be lots of change among leadership.

Highline is currently in a stage of transition, with changes in the roles of college president, vice president of academic affairs, vice president of institutional advancements, and dean of transfer programs.

The positions as dean of transfer programs and vice president of institutional advancements at Highline will both soon be empty. 

Dr. Lisa Skari, vice president of institutional advancements, is leaving Highline to take up the position of college president at Mt. Hood Community College this July.

Highline Dean of Transfer Programs Rolita Ezeonu is also leaving to accept the role as vice president of instruction at Green River College, starting July 2.

But along with these vacancies, other positions are also being filled.

Dr. John Mosby will become Highline's new president beginning early July. 

Dr. Mosby said that he is prepared to help bring Highline to this new chapter.

"Highline is exciting right now. when I was on campus, I could feel a lot of excitement, I could feel a lot of energy on the campus," Dr. Mosby said. "People are excited about the next chapter for the college."

Interim President Dr. Jeff Wagnitz also agreed to take up the position of vice president of academic affairs once Dr. Mosby is in place, a role he held before becoming the interim president.

 In an email sent out to Highline faculty, Dr. Wagnitz said "I hope that, in that role, I can be helpful in stabilizing our leadership team, transferring institutional memory, and generally assisting with Dr. Mosby's transition where I can."

But with all this change, there is hope that Highline well remain the thriving college it is. 

"What we have going for us here at Highline – and what hasn't changed -  is motivated students, and dedicated staff and faculty," said Dr. James Peyton, president of the Highline College Education Association, the union representing faculty.

Although Highline isn't used to so much adjustment, the college will come out stronger than ever, Board of Trustees President Debrena Jackson-Gandy said.

"The last 18 months have held an amount of change that is particularly unusual for us," Gandy said. "However, I have the utmost confidence in our unique Highline resilience, the passion and resilience in our students, faculty and staff, and the community we've created together, to help us through these transitions and changes with flying colors."

And ultimately, Highline isn't just it's leaders, but the institution as a whole. 

 "Though we're in a time of transition right now, we're not going to lose the fundamental values and strengths that have made this college a great place to work and learn," said Dr. Wagnitz. "Highline's culture is deep, everybody holds a piece of it."

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