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Presidential search committee picks semifinalists

Staff Writer | April 28, 2022 1:07 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The presidential search committee chose 11 semifinalists to be interviewed for the position of permanent president at North Idaho College.

NIC Trustee Ken Howard said during a Wednesday night board meeting that the semifinalists will most likely be interviewed over Zoom in mid-May.

The final candidates will be interviewed in-person on the college campus likely in June. The trustees will then make the final selection.

Howard said the names of the candidates will remain confidential until the finalists are picked. There were 59 applicants for the position.

The board of trustees also approved the general operating budget for fiscal year 2023 at Wednesday’s meeting.

Sarah Garcia, interim vice president/controller, said all the new money available through the state of Idaho and the general fund allocation were put toward changes in employee compensation.

The proposal provided for a step increase plus a base adjustment of 3% for full-time, benefits-eligible employees supported by the general fund, as well as an increase in the adjunct and part-time rates of pay and further implementation of the salary study recommendations for specific employee groups, according to the budget.

“It helps bring our employees more in alignment with the market rates and with the changes in inflation that we’ve been facing,” Garcia said.

While a step plus a 5% increase to the base was recommended, Garcia said, that was not achievable under the circumstances this year.

The budget includes a 3% estimated decline in enrollment, which was also predicated in last year’s budget.

Garcia said the funds for increases were a gift this year from the state that she doesn't anticipate the college receiving again, and so it was not sustainable to provide the increases unless the enrollment goes back up.

Laura Rumpler, spokesperson for NIC, said the college came just under that 3% decline this year.

NIC is projecting the same decline based on several factors, including coming out of the pandemic, national reduction in students going on to college and the robust economy where jobs are plentiful.

The board also approved a five-year lease for 5,465 square feet in the Pine Street Annex in Sandpoint to consolidate all of the NIC Sandpoint outreach center, to one location.

Interim President Michael Sebaaly announced the college will receive an almost $524,000 workforce training grant for apprenticeship programs.

Faculty members Jonathan Gardunia from health professions and Rachel Caulk from nursing were awarded tenure beginning in fall of 2022.

Howard and Trustee Christie Wood both received a standing ovation from members of the public. The two trustees announced their resignation from the board earlier this month, effective May 3, making Wednesday their last board meeting.

NIC instructor Michelle Lippert thanked the two trustees during the time for public comment. Lippert said Wood brought a passion for education, willingness to listen to the community and commitment to excellence to NIC.

“The college has benefited from your passion,” Lippert said.

Wood has been a member of the board for nearly 18 years.

“This is an incredibly special place,” Wood said. “I’m so proud of NIC and all the people that work here that really do make a difference every day in people's lives.”

Lippert said Howard, a member of the presidential search committee, brought two qualities needed for a successful search: wisdom and integrity.

“I have seen them exhibited time and time again over the years,” Lippert said.

Howard said as he sat at what was likely his last board meeting, he wanted to tell everyone NIC is a great institution.

“We need to understand what a great component it is in our community that it brings so many aspects of life improvement,” Howard said. “I want to thank all of you for doing that, and for being a part of that, and letting me be part of it.”


North Idaho College Trustee Christie Wood received flowers at the board meeting on Wednesday night, her last meeting as an NIC trustee before her resignation effective May 3rd. HANNAH NEFF/Press