Weatherford College has a familiar face at the helm, at least for the time being.
Brent Baker has been named interim president of Weatherford College after the Board of Trustees’ acceptance of a transitional agreement to another position for now former president Dr. Kevin Eaton. Baker has been at the college for 20 years, beginning as Director of College Relations in 1997. He moved into his position as Vice President of Institutional Advancement in January 2000 and has remained there until now.
"It’s very humbling," Baker said in an interview Thursday. "For [the Weatherford College Board of Trustees] to have that kind of faith in me means the world to me. I am truly appreciative."
In a press release, Mac Smith, WC Board Chairman, said the board has "great confidence" in Baker and appreciates his taking the job.
"Brent is well known in Parker County and surrounding communities due to his work with the Weatherford College Foundation and he is respected by the college administration, faculty and staff," Smith said.
Baker’s appointment was made official at a special meeting on Wednesday when the board approved a settlement agreement to allow Eaton to transition to another non-administrative position on campus. Eaton has been president since 2009 but began his work at the college in 2003 when he served as Tech Prep Director. Baker received a unanimous vote to be interim president.
The next step, Baker said, is for him to have meetings with stakeholders and community leaders and to listen to what they have to say.
"I am going to follow the two ears, one mouth approach and do a lot more listening than talking," he said. "This college has a lot of ownership from the community, more so than other community colleges, and that is a positive thing.
"They are a huge part of our success and they should weigh in on what they see for the future of the college."
There is no time table for when the WC Board will name a permanent placement but Baker said he has no plans to apply for the position when it comes available.
"My goal is to get this college through the transition and go back to my current position," he said. "I have some things I need to accomplish in the next few weeks and beyond but I plan to go back [to institutional advancement]."
Baker said because he does plan to return to that position when his interim tenure is up, he will most likely divvy up his duties. He said he doesn’t see a problem and credited the "team in place" at the college.
"The great team we have in place here will make things easier and I really appreciate them and all they do," he said. "It will be a smooth transition not because of me but because of them."
Baker had nothing but praise for Eaton and said he is happy to have worked for him for the past eight years.
"Not only is he a visionary and enthusiastic professional, he’s just been a really good boss," Baker said. "I give him all the credit in the world and I am glad he’s getting the chance to do something different."
Baker is a graduate of the University of North Texas and holds a master’s degree in journalism/public relations. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have three children. In addition to his work at the college, Baker is co-host of the morning show on Chuck FM 89.5 in Weatherford, something he said he will continue to do.
"If I need to take time off for an early meeting or something that comes up, I’ll do that," he said.