The search for Nassau Community College's next president has narrowed to three finalists, each of whom is slated to participate in public forums this month before the school's Board of Trustees selects the new leader of the 20,000-student institution, officials announced this week.
The finalists are Maria Conzatti, Christine Mangino and Jermaine Williams — all administrators at community colleges. Conzatti works at NCC, while Mangino is at City University of New York's Hostos Community College in the South Bronx and Williams is at North Shore Community College, based in Danvers, Massachusetts.
The new leader will replace President W. Hubert Keen, whose contract expires in August. Two of the finalists — Conzatti and Mangino — are NCC alumni.
“We recruited a highly competitive pool of candidates from throughout the state, region and nation,” said a statement dated Wednesday from Dr. Jorge Gardyn, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and other members of the search committee.
Conzatti currently is vice president for academic student services at the college in Garden City and previously served simultaneously as acting executive vice president and acting chief academic officer. She holds an associate degree of science in information processing from NCC, as well as a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master of business administration degree in corporate finance and investment, both from Adelphi University.
Mangino is provost and vice president for academic affairs at Hostos Community College. She began her education earning an associate degree in hotel restaurant management from NCC, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and English and a master’s degree in elementary education, both from Hofstra University, and a doctoral degree in instructional leadership from St. John’s University.
Williams is vice president of student affairs at North Shore Community College, which also has campuses in Lynn and Middleton, Massachusetts. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology and sociology from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania; a master's in sociology from St. John’s University; and a master's of education in educational administration, with a higher education specialization, and a doctorate of education in educational administration, with a higher education specialization, from Temple University in Philadelphia.
NCC, the largest single-campus community college in the state’s public system, was founded in 1959 on a 225-acre site in the heart of the county. Its $200 million budget is funded by Nassau County, New York State and, increasingly, student tuition. The associate degree-granting institution is among the more prolific feeders of students to both public and private four-year colleges in the region.
Keen was named president of NCC in May 2016, after the State University of New York stepped in to more closely monitor the school’s presidential search. Only months earlier, Keen had stepped down from his post as the longtime president of Farmingdale State College.
His task was to get NCC back on track. The school arguably had hit its lowest point in March 2016, when the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting agency for public and private colleges and universities, said it had failed seven of 14 quality standards. NCC was officially placed on probation in June 2016.
Middle States removed the school from probation in November 2017, noting "impressive progress" and unity among the trustees, administration, faculty and staff in helping the college clear its hurdles.
NCC spokeswoman Kate Murray said Thursday that Keen will stay until a new president is named by the Board of Trustees.
Each finalist will participate in an open forum where feedback forms will be given to all who attend and the completed forms collected for the Board of Trustees to review. The forum with Williams is scheduled Feb. 25, while the session with Conzatti is set Feb. 27, and the forum with Mangino is slated for Feb. 28.