Mesalands new president takes office effective Aug.1

Thomas Newsom

Thomas Newsom

Thomas Garcia

QCS Senior Writer

Thomas Newsom will start his two-year term as Mesalands Community College’s new president effective Aug. 1, overseeing the college’s daily operations.

“I am thrilled we finally have a new president,” said Jim Streetman, board of trustees secretary and chair of the presidential search committee.

The board of trustees voted to approve Newsom’s two-year, $156,000 a year contract on Thursday during a special meeting.

Streetman said this has been quite a process for the board of trustees and committee. He said there has been tremendous support from the community and staff of Mesalands during this process that the board of trustees truly appreciates.

Newsom will be assuming control of the college from Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs, and Aaron Kennedy, vice president of student affairs.

Gillard and Kennedy had been tasked with running the college since Oct. 31 when the board of trustees unanimous voted to fire president Mildred Lovato.

The board hasn’t given a cause for Lovato’s termination.

Newsom, who lives in McKinney, Texas, north of Dallas, was serving as president of Art Institute of Dallas since 2010, he had served in various roles with the organization since 2010.

Newsom tendered his resignation as president of the Art Institute on July 10, said J Bronson Moore, board chairman.

Moore said the college can now focus on moving forward.

Since January, the committee and board of trustees had been reviewing applications and eventually narrowing the field to three finalists. Besides Newsom,the finalists were Kris Jamsa of Prescott, Ariz., and Mark VanDenHende of Eugene, Ore.

Each was interviewed by the board of trustees and toured the college campus on separate days n late June. Each candidate also participated in public forums, allowing residents a chance to meet them and question them about their plans for Mesalands.

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