by Max Brantley
I reported Sunday morning that Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker, co-chair of Joint Budget, had applied to be president of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. I also mentioned that I'd requested the list of all applicants from the school.
I haven't heard from Henderson on my request for the list of applicants, understandable since I sent the request over the weekend. But a Henderson alum did provide me with a March 9 e-mail from Henderson's general counsel Elaine Kneebone to the Henderson community with an update on the presidential search process. Read her note in full on the jump. It says a search committee has been screening candidates for potential Board of Trustee interviews and, utlimately, an open interview process on campus.
Here are the 62 active applicants for the job at the time Kneebone sent the e-mail. This would have been before Baker was invited to submit an application. Perhaps he was invited by trustee Anita Cabe, a supporter of Baker's Senate bid.
UPDATE: Here's the updated applicant list. You'll see it now includes Gilbert Baker's name and another candidate being interviewed by the search committee today — Donnie Whitten, the Arkadelphia school superintendent. Multiple sources assure me that these two interviews should not be construed as identifying the two as finalists.
UPDATE II: Further news. I"ve learned the search committee has sent the names of two candidates — Whitten and Gary Biller, vice president for student services at Arkansas Tech, on to the Board of Trustees for full interviews. That would indicate, I'm told, that Baker is no longer in the running. The recommendations do not mean, however, that candidates for Board review will be limited to these two. The process is ongoing, my source said.
FROM ELAINE KNEEBONE, HENDERSON GENERAL COUNSEL
Johnny Hudson, Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, asked me to provide you with an update on the presidential search.
Currently, there are 62 active applicants for the position. I am attaching a list of all active applicants, who are listed in the order in which their applications were received. Please keep in mind that there is no “deadline” for applications, and additional applications could be received and considered in the future.
The Presidential Search Advisory Committee has met several times to review the materials submitted by the current active applicants. Last week, the Presidential Search Advisory Committee met with three of the candidates: Dr. Ray Wallace, Dr. Trey Berry & Dr. Gary Biller. Please note that these individuals are not finalists and no candidates have been eliminated from consideration at this point. The Presidential Search Advisory Committee met with these three individuals to provide more meaningful feedback on these candidates to the Board of Trustees. The Presidential Search Advisory Committee may meet with additional individuals in the future.
Once the Board of Trustees identifies individuals who they would like to formally interview, those candidates will be brought to campus. As a part of that process, each candidate will make presentations to faculty, staff, and students. All campus constituency groups will also be given an opportunity to provide feedback to the Board regarding each candidate.
The timeline for the presidential search from this point on is still to be determined. The Board of Trustees is committed to a full examination of all active applicants and potential candidates to select the best person to lead Henderson as its next president. We will certainly keep you updated as the search process continues.
MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Johnny Hudson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (Committee Chair)
Dr. Peggy Bailey, Ellis College Representative
Paulette Blacknall, Director of SW Arkansas Education Renewal Zone Director
Dr. Troy Bray, 2011 Faculty Senate President
Don Case, Henderson State University Foundation Board Member
Buddy Formby, HSU Alumnus
Dr. Rhonda Harrington, Teachers College, Henderson Representative
Dr. Margaret Hoskins, School of Business Representative
Becky Jester, Director of Dawson Educational Cooperative
Kyle Jones, Director of Research and Grants for City of Arkadelphia & HSU Alumnus
Opal Kelley, 2010-2011 Student Government Association President
Deborah Sesser, 2011 Staff Senate President
Allen Tillery, HSU Alumnus