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Robinson ECSU's first female trustee vice chair in years

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Jan King Robinson, shown in this October 2013 file photo, has been elected vice chairwoman of the Elizabeth City State University Board of Trustees. According to some trustees, she is the first woman to ever serve in that role on the board.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Elizabeth City State University Board of Trustees has new leadership, including the first female vice chair in years.

On a unanimous recommendation from the trustee board’s Nominating Committee, trustees Tuesday elected attorney Harold Barnes the board’s new chairman, former Sentara Albemarle Medical Center administrator Jan King Robinson vice chairwoman and Coast Guard Cmdr. Bruce Brown secretary.

“I have served a long time on this board and I have never seen a female as vice chair,” said Trustee Fred Yates, who chaired the Nominating Committee.

“So this is historic,” said outgoing Chairman Kim Brown.

Robinson and Trustee Lynne Bunch also will be co-chairing a new work group on teacher education at ECSU. Robinson said she is excited about the initiative.

On Wednesday Robinson said she is honored to be elected the board’s vice chairwoman and looks forward to the education work group, which she hopes will strengthen the university’s performance in its original mission of educating teachers. Robinson believes ECSU can be a model in teacher education, not only for North Carolina but for rural communities across the country.

Interim Chancellor Karrie Dixon congratulated the new officers and thanked Kim Brown for “stellar leadership and service.”

Barnes said Brown brought dignity and respect to the office at a difficult and critical time. Brown quipped that he felt like a student because he had been through three chancellors during a relatively brief tenure as chairman.

Barnes, who previously served as vice chairman of the board, already has been serving as chair of the ECSU Chancellor Search Committee and took over leadership of the ECSU Phase 2 Working Group after Walter Davenport of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors had to step aside from actively chairing the panel because of health reasons.

Brown told trustees he did not seek re-election as chairman because he currently serves on the President Search Committee at Norfolk State University, his alma mater. He said since the chairman of the ECSU trustees traditionally chairs the chancellor search panel, he was concerned about a potential conflict of interest.

Brown continues to serve as a member of the Chancellor Search Committee. He said he had been assured by ECSU’s general counsel, Alyn Goodson, that it was not a conflict of interest for him to serve on the committee.

Barnes briefly updated trustees Tuesday on the chancellor search. He said the forums the panels have held have been very interesting and generated a good deal of public input.

Findings from the forums include a desire by area school superintendents for a chancellor who will lead ECSU in helping school districts meet the needs of K-12 students, he said. There also appears to be tremendous support for the interim chancellor, he said.

Barnes said a number of people have asked him whether Dixon would be a candidate for the chancellor position. He said he does not know and adds that the search process is confidential so he wouldn’t expect it to be public knowledge if she were to be a candidate.

ECSU trustees’ goal is to have a new chancellor on or about January 2019, according to Barnes.

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