2022 | Schools

New Montgomery College president to begin Feb. 28

Williams’ hiring was announced in December

share this
Montgomery College

Montgomery College’s next president will begin his tenure on Feb. 28, officials announced this week.

In December, the college announced that Jermaine Williams has been selected as the next leader of the school. Williams has been the president of Nassau Community College on Long Island, N.Y., for the past two years.

He previously worked at Northeastern Illinois University, the Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University in Philadelphia, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In a statement on Monday, Montgomery College Board of Trustees President Mike Knapp said a “transition team” will be developed to help Williams acclimate to the school and community.

A formal welcome event has not been scheduled and will be announced later, Knapp wrote.

Williams, 42, succeeds former Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard, who was hired in April to be the president of Nevada State College in Henderson, Nev., near Las Vegas. She left the Montgomery College job in August after 11 years in the position.

Charlene Dukes, formerly the president of Prince George’s Community College, has led Montgomery College as interim president since Pollard’s departure this summer. She will serve as a consultant as Williams settles into the position “and to provide continuity during this session of the Maryland General Assembly given her deep knowledge of the College and region and her continuing leadership,” Knapp’s letter says.

In October, a search advisory committee made up of people at Montgomery College and community members narrowed a list of 80 applicants down to 30, then seven.

The board then narrowed the list to three finalists, all of whom were interviewed.

Williams will be paid $320,000 annually on a five-year contract, according to Montgomery College spokesman Marcus Rosano.

College leaders have affirmed their confidence in Williams, despite criticism from an employees union at the institution he is leaving.

On Dec. 13, the Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers (NCCFT), an employees union there, released a “letter of discontent” on its website.

The letter criticized Williams for not seeking input from the union, which it says led to:

Failure to correct health and safety violations, such as mold, poor air quality, heating and cooling problems and unsafe passageways
The “questionable spending” of millions of dollars in emergency coronavirus relief aid.

A requirement that all classroom faculty teach all remote classes on campus

Failure to “adequately address” dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment

A “flawed textbook policy that left students without textbooks for weeks” during the Fall 2020 semester.

In a letter to the Montgomery College community following the letter’s release, Knapp wrote that Williams notified the Montgomery board about the letter, “resulting in an examination of these circumstances as part of the MC search process.”

“It is not unusual for colleges to have spirited debates about important matters,” Knapp wrote. “Montgomery College has a long history of engaging in challenging priority discussions, a practice that we believe best serves our students and employees. We are confident that this kind of constructive and forthright dialogue will continue with Dr. Williams’ arrival, and we are eager to welcome him as the College’s next president.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com