Fort Worth

TCC trustees pick Arizona educator for chancellor

Eugene Giovannini of Arizona is named finalist for chancellor of Tarrant County College.
Eugene Giovannini of Arizona is named finalist for chancellor of Tarrant County College. Courtesy

A longtime community college educator and administrator from Arizona was named lone finalist Thursday night for the position of chancellor of the Tarrant County College District, the fourth-largest community college system in Texas.

Eugene Giovannini, the founding president of Maricopa Corporate College in Scottsdale, Ariz., was chosen by TCC trustees at a special meeting. The appointment cannot become official until after a 21-day waiting period mandated by law.

After reviewing more than 30 applications, trustees narrowed the field to Giovannini and Barbara Kavalier, president of Navarro College based in Corsicana.

“This has been, to say the least, an interesting time for all of us,” board President Louise Appleman said. “Difficult, and very time-consuming.

“Our final two choices are not perfect. We had difficulty finding the perfect candidate. There is no such person.”

Appleman said the board wanted “someone with fresh eyes” to fill the position.

“We had been saying we wanted to take TCC to the next level and then we realized we’re at a really good level,” she said.

“Together, we’re going on a trust walk. We’re going to give it our best shot to make a new regime work for our students and our community.”

Appleman and Trustee Bill Greenhill talked about the financial challenges and changes facing TCC.

“From a fiduciary point of view, I’ve been looking for someone who has innovative ideas about additional revenues ... and to make us more financially secure,” Greenhill said.

Giovannini, who was not at the meeting, has worked for the Maricopa County Community College District in Arizona since 2002, including 11 years as president of Gateway Community College in Phoenix. The Maricopa Corporate College, which works with businesses to train employees in many industries, is a part of the Maricopa Community College District.

He has more than 30 years’ experience as a teacher and administrator in community colleges, according to a news release.

Giovannini is chairman of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and teaches finance and policy development at the graduate level, the release says.

The position has been vacant since the death in October of longtime Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley. Vice Chancellor Angela Robinson, who is also TCC’s general counsel, has been acting chancellor.

Hadley, TCC’s first female and African-American chancellor, is credited with helping increase student enrollment at the school with four campuses across the county. During her tenure TCC opened an aviation learning center at Alliance Airport and an energy technology school at its South Campus.

Trustee O.K. Carter said that during the interview process, he learned that TCC was already doing a lot of things right, and the new chancellor would be joining “a college that’s at the next level.”

In the school year 2014-15, TCC enrolled more than 74,000 for-credit students and 31,000 non-credit and industry education students on six campuses.

County taxpayers support the district through a property tax. In 2015, the tax rate was 14.950 cents per $100 valuation. The district’s 2015-2016 operating budget is $375 million.

Mark David Smith: 817-390-7808, @MarkSmith_FWST