The state's higher education board appointed three community college presidents Friday, but the highest-profile candidate was not selected.
Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, the highest-ranking state senator for the past decade, had been among three finalists for the presidency of Quinebag Valley Community College. The Board of Regents for Higher Education chose Carlee Drummer as the new leader from among more than 90 candidates in the field.
Drummer currently serves as the executive director of college advancement and executive director of the educational foundation at Oakton Community College in Illinois - a college where she has served since 2001.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has worked closely with Williams for the past 3 1/2 years on major issues like the state budget and gun control, said he had not pushed for Williams's appointment.
"No, I did not offer any recommendations,'' Malloy told reporters Friday after the monthly State Bond Commission meeting in Hartford. "If I had been asked, I would have recommended Don for lots of things.''
Malloy added, "I think Don is an outstanding and talented person, and I'm sure he's going to find something that's going to interest him in his career.''
Williams, a 56-year-old Democrat who lives in Brooklyn in Windham County, was seeking the post at the nearby college in the Danielson section of Killingly near the Rhode Island border. The position pays more than $175,000 per year.
"I was honored to be considered and want to congratulate Carlee Drummer on her appointment and wish her great success,'' Williams said Friday. "I also want to thank the students, faculty, staff, and the foundation of Quinebaug Valley Community College for their participation in this process and their work for the continued achievement of the college."
Drummer has a wide variety of career experiences that she will bring to Quinebaug, which has 1,900 students. She previously worked for a division of Nabisco Brands before becoming the public relations director at Baruch College in New York City and for the New York public library system.
"This is an exciting time for Quinebaug," Regents President Gregory Gray said in a statement. "Dr. Drummer brings an exceptional portfolio of scholarship and experience to her new position, and impressed everyone involved in the search process with her seasoned leadership, imaginative ideas and high energy."
Drummer, the regents said in a statement, "made it very clear in her interviews she believes strongly in the power of community colleges, and is committed to focusing on transforming the lives of Quinebaug students by equipping them to keep pace with the arc of change."
A graduate of Wittenberg University, Drummer earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the State University of New York at Stony Brook on the north shore of Long Island.
James P. Lombella was selected as president at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield after serving a five-year tenure in multiple senior leadership roles at the community college.
"His selection enables him to continue the fine work he has been doing as Interim President since June of 2013, and provides continuity of vision and effort for the college," said Gray.
A graduate of Holyoke Community College, Lombella earned his Master of Management degree from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA, and is pursuing a Doctor of Education at the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University.
Mary Ellen Jukoski was selected as president at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich. Jukoski will succeed Grace Sawyer Jones, who is retiring.
A graduate of the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y., Jukoski also earned an M.S. at State University of New York. She received her doctorate in education from The University of Memphis in Memphis, Tenn.
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