North Carolina’s community college system has named a new president.
Dr. James “Jimmie” C. Williamson will be the system’s eighth leader, succeeding Scott Ralls. Ralls left last year to head the Northern Virginia Community College.
Currently, Williamson serves as the president and CEO of the South Carolina Technical College System. In total, he’s served 27 years in higher education, rising through the ranks as a registrar, dean and president at two community colleges.
As system president in South Carolina, he helped develop a workforce development strategy to narrow the skills gap, and collaborated with companies like Volvo and BMW on industry-specific worker training. He was also named State Employee of The Year in 2015 by the South Carolina Association of Regional Councils.
Additionally, Williamson has experience in the private sector, working with Agape Senior, a healthcare-related industry in South Carolina.
“One of the things that really stood out for both the Search Committee and the Board was his business experience,” says Scott Shook, chair of the State Board of Community Colleges. "He has been on the educational and training side and on the employer side."
Shook says Williamson understands the importance of increasing the system’s role in workforce and economic development.
“And he understands the challenges, from a funding level, that we face. They are similar challenges they face in South Carolina,” Shook explains. “Increasing our standing in the state is a big part of what he wants to accomplish.
Williamson will begin his new role on July 1st at an annual salary of $285,000.
North Carolina’s community college system is made up of 58 community colleges and more than 700,000 students.