Opinion

A glaring omission

We are disappointed to hear the North Shore Community College (NSCC) presidential search committee did not include Interim President Dr. Nate Bryant’s name on the list of five finalists for the president’s job forwarded to the college Board of Trustees.

On April 6 when the board is scheduled to pick a new president from among the five, Dr. Bryant will have served as interim president for almost nine months. 

Following the trustees’ vote last April confirming Dr. Bryant as interim president, board Chair Dr. J.D. LaRock said: “What’s important is that we choose a leader who can be trusted … Our board believes Dr. Bryant is that leader.”

That strong endorsement alone should have been sufficient to ensure Dr. Bryant’s inclusion on the finalists’ list. 

But we firmly believe that Dr. Bryant’s experience leading NSCC, including its Lynn campus, through a virtual online academic year during the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with his record of leadership at Salem State University, qualifies him not only to be a presidential finalist meriting serious consideration by the board, but also the clear choice to be NSCC’s next president. 

A Connecticut native who chose basketball as his path to college, Dr. Bryant amassed more than 30 years in senior-level leadership-skill development, specializing in enrollment management, student support, fundraising, crisis communications, and project management.

He is credited with co-creating the Salem State recruitment campaign that greatly expanded the university’s student enrollment diversity. This is how Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll described Dr. Bryant: “He’s got the pulse of a college community.”

Those words apply precisely to Dr. Bryant’s understanding of NSCC’s role in Lynn. Former President Dr. Patricia A. Gentile forged strong relationships with Lynn Public Schools; regional workforce-development organizations, and the Lynn business community. 

Dr. Bryant’s Salem State experience and his appreciation for the challenges of higher education in an urban environment position him to take Gentile’s work to the next level. 

Dr. Bryant is a leader for change and for progress in Lynn rivaling Lynn Public School Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler. These leaders together can do great things for the city.

The five presidential finalists include three out-of-state candidates and four community college professionals. Each is surely capable of making convincing arguments about why they should be NSCC’s next president.

But none of the candidates submitted by the search committee match Dr. Bryant’s familiarity with NSCC’s faculty and students and the local community — none of them match his insights into how a community college can be an engine generating positive programs to improve the lives of North Shore residents.

It’s not too late for Dr. Bryant to deservingly be considered by the Board of Trustees as a finalist for NSCC president. We believe he deserves that consideration and endorse him as the clear choice for the job of president. 

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