Four finalists selected for next president of Jackson State Community College

A Tennessee Board of Regents Search Advisory Committee has selected four finalists for the next president of Jackson State Community College. All four will participate in campus visits during the week of March 16, the next step in the selection process.

The finalists are:

  • Dr. Rolando Garcia, president and vice provost of academic resources of Broward College’s Judson A. Samuels South Campus in Pembroke Pines, Florida. He earned both a Doctor of Education in Higher Education and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from Florida International University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from the University of Miami.
  • Dr. Jeff Jochems, president/vice chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College’s Richwood Valley Campus in Nixa, Missouri. He earned a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership at the University of Arkansas, a Master of Science in Education in Higher Education-Student Personnel at the University of Kansas, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management at Washburn University, and an Associate of Science in Business at Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas.
  • Dr. Paige M. Niehaus, provost for strategic initiatives and executive director for the Design Center at the Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, Michigan. She earned a Doctor of Education in Community College Leadership from Ferris State University, both a Master of Science in Training and Development and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Organizational Management from the University of St. Francis, and both an Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Arts from Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois.
  • Dr. George Pimentel, vice president of academic affairs at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee. He earned a Doctor of Arts in History, an Educational Specialist (Ed.S), a Master of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in History, all at Middle Tennessee State University.

The finalists’ complete resumes and photos, information about their upcoming campus visits and other information about the search process are available for review on the Jackson State Community College presidential search page of the Tennessee Board of Regents website at

Each candidate will participate in meetings and forums with faculty, staff, students and the public on the Jackson State campus. All four public forums are scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m. on the day of their visits, in the Ayers Auditorium of JSCC’s McWherter Center. Dr. Pimentel is scheduled for March 16, Dr. Niehaus March 17, Dr. Jochems March 18, and Dr. Garcia March 19.

After the campus visits, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings will gather feedback from the forums and meetings with the finalists to select one candidate for nomination to the Board of Regents, which will appoint the next president during a meeting that will be scheduled later.

Jackson State’s fifth president, Dr. Allana Hamilton, was appointed vice chancellor for academic affairs of the College System of Tennessee by the Tennessee Board of Regents last September. Dr. Jeff Sisk, president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Jackson, is also serving as interim president of JSCC until the next president takes office, which is expected to occur by July 1.

The Board of Regents approved the Jackson State presidential search criteria Oct. 31, and the Search Advisory Committee held its first meeting and public forum Nov. 15 at the Jackson campus.

The 17-member committee includes four members of the Board of Regents, and representatives of the Jackson State faculty, students, staff and alumni, and the local community. The committee is chaired by Regent Barbara Prescott.

JSCC to celebrate Women’s History Month

Jackson State Community College will kick off Women’s History Month on March 4. The perennial monthlong celebration features a number of activities such as presentations, film screenings, literary readings, and special speakers.

Wednesday, March 4, will be “Wear Your Rosie Day” at JSCC. Students and staff are encouraged to come to campus dressed like the iconic Rosie the Riveter. A group photo of participants will be taken in the main first-floor hallway of the Nelms Classroom Building at 10:50 a.m.

On Thursday, March 5, the keynote speakers for the month will be Paula Casey and Jacque Hillman, founders of the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail. There will also be a special inaugural presentation of the Sue Shelton White Scholarship by the Madison Area Democratic Women (MADW). The event will be held in room 203 of the Jim Moss Center for Nursing from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Sue Shelton White, Jackson native and suffragist, was instrumental in the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1929, giving U.S. women the constitutional right to vote. The MADW is honoring her memory with a $2,500 scholarship award to a “non-traditional” woman student.

Events for the month can be found on JSCC’s “Upcoming Events” calendar located at Anyone interested in attending these events is welcome to attend.

JSCC head coach celebrates 300th win

Jackson State Community College celebrated Basketball Head Coach Deron Hines’ 300th win with a special ceremony at a Green Jays home game on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Hines, the men’s head coach who began his coaching career at Jackson State 20 years ago in 1999, was given a plaque to commemorate the 300th win. Hines reached the milestone Jan. 18 after the team beat Walters State in Morristown, Tenn.

Hines began his coaching career during the 1992-93 season at Paradise High School in Paradise, Texas. The next year, he was a graduate assistant coach at the University of North Alabama in Florence. After receiving his master’s degree, Hines was an assistant basketball coach at Union College in Barbourville, Ky., for five years before becoming head coach at Jackson State. His first win as head coach was against Snead State Community College.

His best season at Jackson State was 2001-02 when the team won the TJCCAA Western Division Championship, which was TJCCAA State Runner-Up and NJCAA Region 7 Runner-Up. The team was ranked 12th in the Final NJCAA Division 1 poll with a record of 26 wins, three losses. Hines won the Western Division Coach of the Year award.

Two years later, Hines led the team to earn the TJCCAA Western Division Co-Championship with a record of 22-6.

SBDC to host free digital marketing seminar for entrepreneurs

The local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will host a seminar led by Dave Delaney to teach small business owners how to “Reach Customers Online with Google.” The free event will be held in the Ayers Auditorium of Jackson State Community College’s McWherter Center on Friday, February 28 from noon to 1 p.m.

“We are very excited to bring Dave Delaney to Jackson for this free training event,” said Monique Merriweather, SBDC Director. “This is a great opportunity for business owners to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Smart Campaigns in Google Ads and how to use these tools to help customers find their businesses online.”

During the presentation, attendees will learn about:

  • Improving website visibility in Google’s organic search results on all devices;
  • Creating a free Google My Business listing; and
  • Advertising their business on Google.

Dave Delaney is a keynote speaker and corporate trainer on communication, networking, and digital marketing. He holds several certifications from Google Corporation for AdWords and Analytics. He is the founder of Futureforth Marketing Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.

To RSVP for this free event, complete a registration form at or contact Monique Merriweather at for more details.

JSCC hosts 11th meeting of Madison County PIO Jump Team

The communications department of Jackson State Community College hosted the 11th quarterly meeting of the Jackson-Madison County PIO (Public Information Officer) Jump Team on Thursday, February 6. Special guests were Jacob and Destiny Chamberlin and their children Rae-J and Ezekiel.

The Chamberlins spoke to the group about their experiences and perspective during the intensive multi-day search for their son Noah in January 2016. That event led to extensive media coverage on both national and international levels. Several members of the PIO team spent many hours on this effort.

The PIO Jump Team was founded by Tom Mapes, Madison County Sherriff’s PIO, in the fall of 2016. The idea came about after 2-year old Noah Chamberlin went missing in January of that year and local first responders were inundated with an onslaught of media from around the country and around the world. Mapes came across the idea for a jump team in law enforcement periodical.

The mission of the Jackson-Madison County PIO Jump Team is “to create a network of communication professionals who are knowledgeable of each other and will work together to provide truthful and timely information and mitigate misinformation in a crisis management situation.”

There are currently 27 registered members in the group. JSCC has been an active member of the group since May 2017 and has hosted the quarterly meeting twice. The next meeting will be hosted by JEA in May 2020.

JSCC professor receives honor from Lane NAACP chapter

At an MLK breakfast on January 20, Dr. Bob Raines of Jackson State Community College was recognized and honored by the Lane College Chapter of the NAACP for his work with the Madison County Community Remembrance Project. Dr. Cindy Boyles, UTM Criminal Justice Professor, was also recognized.

When he was first moved to action by a 2017 TV interview of Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) founder Bryan Stevenson, psychology professor Bob Raines did not envision that he would one day be honored for efforts in raising awareness about social injustices and the lynching of African Americans in the 19th Century.

EJI began an effort to memorialize lynching victims by collecting soil samples in jars from the location of the lynchings. This effort started in Montgomery, Alabama and then spread to many other locations. There were three documented lynchings of African Americans in Madison County: Eliza Woods in 1886; John Brown in 1891; and Frank Ballard in 1894.

Raines originally approached JSCC administration about the possibility of hosting an EJI event on the JSCC campus. With the assistance of the Madison County Branch of the NAACP, the Lane College Chapter of the NAACP, and the Equal Justice Initiative, Raines arranged for JSCC to co-host a memorial service in Jackson on February 23, 2018.

“While the purpose of the ceremony was to expose and face a horrific act of violence and injustice, its ultimate impact, I think, was positive and hopeful,” Raines said. “I witnessed first-hand the potential healing power of people coming together to openly confront this kind of injustice. During that brief moment in time, racial, political and ideological differences between the people in that space seemed to melt away.”

Since the soil dedication ceremony at JSCC, Raines and his wife, Kate, have worked with the Madison County Community Remembrance Project group led by Dr. Boyles. This group successfully lobbied the Madison County Commissioners to allow for the placement of a historical marker honoring the Madison County lynching victims to be placed on the courthouse lawn, Saturday, April 18. Raines and his wife are on the subcommittee which is planning the unveiling ceremony of the marker.

According to Raines, his involvement with EJI has been a life-changing experience. “I think a first but crucial step toward atonement, reconciliation, and maybe even some bit of redemption is truth-telling, an accounting or reckoning with our past. Owning our weaknesses, our mistakes, and even shameful parts of our history can be healing; it makes us stronger, healthier, and more whole.”

Irish Folk Musicians, Paul Brock Band, to perform free concert at JSCC

Internationally recognized Irish folk musician Paul Brock and his band are scheduled to appear at Jackson State Community College on Tuesday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the college’s Ayers Auditorium. The performance is free and open to the public.

Paul Brock has previously performed at Jackson State and returns to Jackson along with musicians who include: Shane Ferrell on banjo, fiddle, bodhran and mandolin; Denis Carey on piano; and Eimear Arkins on fiddle, vocals, and dancing.

As a part of the Brock McGuire Band, Paul Brock has performed with bluegrass great Ricky Skaggs on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Accolades include “Instrumental Band of the Decade” from Irish American News and 5-star recipient of “Top of the World” award from the prestigious world music magazine Songlines.

The band will conduct short master classes at the college earlier the day of the performance. “Our students have a great opportunity to learn about music from such accomplished musicians,” said Mary Wadley, associate professor of Spanish. “The international education program at Jackson State brings world-class talent to campus from diverse backgrounds and a variety of creative disciplines.

For more information regarding this performance or other opportunities in international education at JSCC, contact Mary Wadley at 731-424-3520 ext. 50252 or email her at

Jackson State Community College provides accessible learning opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals, strengthen the workforce and empower the diverse communities of West Tennessee. The institution offers traditional and applied associate degrees, certificates, continuing education and enrichment, and college-readiness programs.