By Marlena Hartz : Freedom Newspapers
A man with more than 20 years of administrative experience won the five-month-long presidential race at Clovis Community College, his educational record inspiring confidence among those who chose him.
Kansas native John Neibling of Arizona accepted the position Wednesday following his selection by Clovis Community College Board of Trustees. Since 2001, he has been president of instruction at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona.
Neibling was among four candidates interviewed for the position, left vacant when Beverlee McClure became New Mexico’s first secretary of higher education.
He held a similar post for 10 years at the San Juan College in Farmington, and possesses a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Arizona State University, as well as degrees in English from the University of Kansas.
In a telephone interview with the Clovis News Journal, Neibling said he is looking forward to returning to New Mexico, a state the avid outdoorsman said he admires for its physical beauty and cultural diversity.
Neibling said he will accept the position although the terms of his contract, including his salary, had yet to be finalized Wednesday. He said he expects to begin his service in June. The salary range advertised for the position was $120,000 to $145,000, according to college officials.
Neibling has honed a vision of what a community college should be: “The hallmark of very good community college is focus on students,” he said.
A community college should also provide community service and economic development, “especially in an area like Clovis,” Neibling said.
“I have reviewed the curriculum at the college. A good job has been done gearing the curriculum towards the needs of the community,” said Neibling, who plans to further strengthen the college curriculum.
“I want to make sure the college is meeting the needs of the community,” he said.
Neibling also facilitated a vocational-technical program with local high schools around the San Juan College. Education officials in Clovis are interested in pursuing a similar venture.
Board Chairman Russell Muffley said Neibling possesses are range of assets.
“Aside from his educational background, Dr. Neibling’s history of successful administrative experience, a strong commitment to community college theory and practice, and his standards for achievement were critical factors in the decision rendered by the Trustees,” stated Muffley in the CCC press release.
“Each of the final candidates offered unique qualities and expertise to the position which made it difficult to render a decision; however, I am fully confident that under Dr. Neibling’s leadership, there will be a bright future for Clovis Community College, its faculty, staff and students,” he also stated in the release.
Neibling was selected in a 3-2 Trustee vote, with three trustees, Robert Lydick, Terry Martin and Muffley, voting for the motion, and Gayla Brumfield and Arnold Martinez voting against it.
The selection of Neibling corked a five-month-long, nationwide search for a college president, in which 29 candidates were considered.
Among them was Becky Rowley, a Clovis native with a doctorate in English from the University of New Mexico who served as the interim CCC president upon McClure’s absence.
The Clovis college offers instruction at the associate’s degree level. Enrollment at the college generally hovers around 4,000, with a service area that radiates roughly 40,000 square miles around the college, college officials said. Nine New Mexico counties and four Texas counties are included in that area, officials said.
“If we expect to grow and improve, we need (Neibling’s administrative) experience,” Muffley said.