Candidates in Jackson State presidential search narrowed to 3. Virtual forums scheduled week of May 11

Three finalists have been selected in the search for the next president of Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tenn. Each will participate in virtual open forums the week of May 11.

The schedule for the virtual forums, the finalists’ resumes, and links to a livestream of the forums are posted on the Presidential/Executive Searches section of the Tennessee Board of Regents website at

The finalists and the dates of their virtual forums are:

  • Jeff Jochems, president/vice-chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College’s Richwood Valley Campus in Nixa, Missouri. Wednesday, May 13.
  • Paige M. Niehaus, provost for strategic initiatives and executive director for the Design Center at the Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, Michigan. Tuesday, May 12.
  • George Pimentel, vice president of academic affairs at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee. Monday, May 11.

Each finalist’s virtual community forum is scheduled for 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Students, Foundation Board members, campus groups, and members of the community are welcome to watch the YouTube live stream at the link above.

After the virtual forums, 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.

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 finalists were announced Feb. 28 and campus visits were originally scheduled for mid-March but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In their place, the finalists will meet with the campus community via next week’s virtual forums.

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.

The next president will succeed Dr. Allana Hamilton, Jackson State’s fifth president, who accepted the position of Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs with the TBR College System of Tennessee. Dr. Jeff Sisk, TCAT Jackson President, has served as the interim president of Jackson State since October 2019

Jackson State Community College is a public, comprehensive, multi-campus college offering associate degrees and certificates in a learning-centered environment. Its primary service area encompasses 14 West Tennessee counties. The main campus is in Jackson, Tenn., with additional teaching sites in Humboldt, Lexington, Savannah, and Paris. It also offers courses in several high schools and other sites across the region. Jackson State has been ranked as one of the most tech-savvy community colleges in the country.