State Board Committee Certifies Four Finalists for Mountain Empire Community College Presidency

RICHMOND – The State Board for Community Colleges has certified four finalists for the position of president at Mountain Empire Community College. The finalists were among more than 80 applicants from across the nation.
The four finalists are Dr. David L. Brand of Fayetteville, NC; Dr. Brian W. Van Hornof Murray, KY; Dr. Kristen A. Westover of Martinsville, VA; and Dr. Steven K. Yohoof Roswell, GA.
“The Mountain Empire Community College presidency is appealing to an impressive collection of community college leaders from around the country,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “The focus our colleges place on student success, our innovative approaches to providing short-term workforce training, and our stability make us attractive to high-performing education leaders seeking their next career step.”
     Dr. David L. Brand has worked in higher education for the last 18 years, following a 23-year career in the United States Army from which he retired at the rank of Major. Brand currently serves as the senior vice president and chief academic officer of Fayetteville Technical Community College in North Carolina, a role he has held since 2012. Prior to that, he worked as the director of the Department of Education, a senior civilian role at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, NC. He also worked as the senior military training and education analyst at the Center for Army Lessons Learned, based at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Brand previously served as the chief academic officer and dean of the college at Bauder College in Atlanta. For six years, he worked at DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management in Atlanta, where he began as a director of academic operations, rose to become dean of the education center and then the regional director of operations. Brand earned a doctorate from the University of South Carolina; a master’s degree from the University of Houston, and a bachelor’s degree from Troy State University.
     Dr. Brian W. Van Horn has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education. He currently serves as the associate provost and dean of regional academic outreach at Murray State University, in Murray, KY, a position he has held since 2008. His MSU career began in 1998 when he served as an assistant professor and director of the MSU Paducah Regional Campus, and then as the university’s assistant dean of regional academic outreach in 2001. Van Horn has served as both vice president, in 2013, and president, in 2014, of the Association for Continuing Higher Education. He holds a doctorate from the University of Memphis, and both a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Murray State University.
     Dr. Kristen A. Westover has more than 25 years of experience in higher education. She currently serves as the vice president for academic and student services at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, a position she has held since 2011. Previously, she served as higher education program coordinator at the University of Texas in Austin, from 2009-2011. From 2008-2009, she served as director of technical programs for the Kansas Board of Regents. In 2016, the Aspen Institute selected Westover for inclusion in the inaugural class of its national Aspen Presidential Fellows program. She holds a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and both a master’s degree in instructional technology and a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.
     Dr. Steven K. Yoho has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, intermixed with positions he has held in other industries. He currently serves as president of both the Atlanta campus and Northern Virginia campus of Argosy University, a position he has held since 2013. Yoho began his academic career in 1992 as an adjunct professor at Marietta College and Washington State Community College. He became the business chair and athletic director of Ohio Valley University in Vienna, WV in 1994. Yoho went on to become associate dean of the Lipscomb University College of Business in 1999, and later worked in the University System office of South University in Savannah, GA, for seven years as dean of the College of Business in 2007, and later as vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2008. He holds a doctorate from Ohio University; a master’s degree from West Virginia University; a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University; and an associate degree from Ohio Valley College.
The four finalists seek to succeed Dr. Scott Hamilton, the college’s sixth president, who is retiring at the end of June after serving in that role since 2010.
The finalists will each visit the campus of MECC in May, to meet with faculty, staff, students and community members.
Mountain Empire Community College, founded in 1972 and located in Big Stone Gap, VA, is a comprehensive two-year college serving approximately 3,800 credit students and more than 1,000 noncredit students annually from the counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, and Dickenson, and the city of Norton.
About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit []