The Oakton Community College Board of Trustees has selected Joianne Smith, currently the school’s vice-president of student affairs, as Oakton’s next president.

Smith will succeed Margaret Lee who retires in June after 20 years leading the college. She will be the fourth president since Oakton was established in 1970. The board is expected to take formal action to name Smith as the new president at its March 17 meeting.

“After an extensive national search, the Board of Trustees easily reached consensus to appoint Dr. Smith as Oakton’s next president,” said William Stafford, Chairman of Oakton’s Board of Trustees. “Dr. Smith has served the college with excellence and innovation for the past 12 years. Her dedication to student success, tenacity with achieving the college’s goals and genuine affection for Oakton and the community made her the Board’s choice to lead the college into the future.”

The 14-member search committee for Oakton’s new president included students, faculty, administrators and alumni as well as representatives from the school’s board and educational foundation. After reviewing nearly 40 resumes from professionals around the country who applied to be Oakton’s next leader, the search committee interviewed nine candidates. Smith, along with the other finalist for the position, participated in daylong interview sessions that were open to all Oakton employees.

Oakton Community College Faculty Association President Katherine Schuster, a member of the presidential search committee, said Smith “enjoyed strong support among Oakton’s full-time faculty. My colleagues and I look forward to working with her to further Oakton’s efforts for national leadership with matters of equity and diversity, and to continue the college’s progress in addressing disparities in the area of student success.”

Smith earned a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to joining Oakton’s administration in July 2002, she served as assistant director of university residential life at Northwestern University.

Earlier in her career, Smith was the Dean of Brainerd Commons, a living-learning residential community at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt.

Her graduate and doctorate studies concentrated in counseling and psychology, and she is a licensed clinical psychologist.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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