By David Bass
Thomas Stith has tendered his resignation as president of the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges, marking the latest departure in a community college system that has seen high turnover in recent years. The resignation is effective July 22.
According to a statement from the state board, a temporary replacement for Stith will be named in the coming days while the search for a permanent replacement is under way.
Stith, a Republican, has served in numerous elected and appointed positions over the past three decades, including as chief of staff for former Gov. Pat McCrory and as state director of the U.S. Small Business Administration under former President Donald Trump.
Stith was hired to lead the community college system in December 2020 after Peter Hans was tapped to lead the University of North Carolina System.
“It has been an honor to lead the N.C. Community College System alongside well-respected college presidents, professionals, dedicated educators, and inspirational students,” said Stith in a statement. “While navigating the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 crisis with careful stewardship, authentic collaboration, and unshakeable faith, I am thrilled that our community college system enhanced its offerings, making students more competitive for the workforce, entrepreneurship, and transfer to 4-year institutions. That was my job to do and my commitment to our state.
“I pray the NC Community College Board will embrace a vision for our system that will meet the needs of our fast growing and richly diverse state,” Stith added.
The state board oversees North Carolina’s 58 community colleges.