Anthony Iacono will succeed Dr. Edward Yaw Sept. 1
BY DEREK ALLEN
While the entire country may be gearing up for its 2016 presidential choice, The County College of Morris made theirs on Wednesday, March 16 when the Board of Trustees selected Anthony J. Iacono to be the third president in CCM’s history.
Iacono succeeds Dr. Edward Yaw, who has been in charge of the campus for three decades.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the next president of County College of Morris and I greatly appreciate the confidence that the search committee and the Board of Trustees have entrusted in me,” said Iacono. “CCM is an exceptional institution that has achieved significant success since its creation in 1968. For more than 30 years, it has benefited enormously from the vision and leadership of Dr. Edward Yaw, its Board of Trustees, its administrative team, talented faculty and staff, as well as members of the community who have dedicated themselves to creating a college that has changed countless lives. As an individual who is passionate about helping people improve their future through education, strengthening communities through partnerships, economic growth and cultural enrichment, and pioneering innovative approaches to learning, I look forward to leading CCM and working with a talented team of people who share that passion.”
Iacono is currently the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida, a post he has held since January 2012. He has a Ph.D. in American History, which he started his career teaching at the University of Central Florida in 1998. He was a part of helping IRSC earn recognition as one of the top ten community colleges in Florida based on student success and has served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education.
“CCM has all the key components I want in a college,” Iacono said. “When I visited, I saw that faculty and students are really committed to pushing for that higher level of excellence.”
Iacono said CCM was the only school he applied to.
“I have every confidence that he will do very well,” said Yaw. “He has the appropriate academic credentials, he has the appropriate experience. I think he’ll do just fine.”
Joseph Ricca, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in an email that Iacono is an accomplished administrator with more than 20 years of experience in higher education. The Board voted unanimously to select him.
“We had a lot of very talented applicants, but ultimately his experience and the product of his work was what led us to choose him,” said Ricca. “His expertise in creating innovative approaches to teaching and learning, developing community partnerships and securing grants and other funding provides a distinct advantage as CCM seeks to build upon its record of success for offering high-quality academic programs … to serve the community and region.”
Iacono is slated to join CCM as a presidential nominee by Aug. 15. He will be officially named president on Sept. 1 pending Yaw’s retirement at the end of August.
“We will have an overlap of tenures to work with each other and make the transition as smooth as possible,” Yaw said. “I can provide him with my own impressions and insights.”
Iacono said he is thrilled about the overlap since it will be extremely helpful to him.
“I think that transition period is very smart,” Iacono said. “For the sake of orientation and gaining familiarity of the school, it’ll be great. Some schools do not do that, but I think it’s very wise. It’ll help me continue goals that are already set in place.”
Yaw said some of the challenges the college, and Iacono, may face in the future will be related to student success.
“We will always be challenged and will continue to be challenged by enrollment, by student success in terms of graduation rates and our retention rates,” said Yaw. “Trying to encourage our students to stay here to earn an associate degree before they transfer, since most of them transfer. We think it’s important to get their associate’s before they transfer, and many do. Our numbers are improving a little bit, and I’m hoping that will continue.”
Iacono said as an educator, his greatest focus is student success.
“I think he’s very personable,” said Ricca. “He’s responsive to what students need. He will become enmeshed in the student community. I think he’ll be a great fit.”
Iacono being chosen as the next president is the culmination of a seven month long search to a successor for Yaw. A committee was appointed to aid in the search, as well as the search firm Isaacson, Miller. The committee had 11 people on it, and was comprised of five trustee members (Stanley T. Omland, Jeffrey Advokat, Joseph Ricca, Joseph Weisberg, Barbara Hadzima), three union representatives (Stephan Kaifa, Shelley Kurland, Richard Burchfield), Director of Human Resources & Labor Relations Thomas Burk, CCM Foundation Chair William McElroy and CCM student Michael Masino.
When the search committee narrowed down the candidates to four, those four candidates met with students and faculty to discuss what they can offer to the college and get a feel for CCM.
“The search committee did an outstanding job of understanding the level of leadership the college is seeking and in selecting candidates for consideration,” said Ricca. “They established high standards, asked insightful questions, and diligently reviewed and discussed the merits of the applicants to select the best candidates. My fellow trustees and I are extremely grateful for the time and dedication the committee devoted to this process and for the input of the college community.”
Iacono said he does not want to begin his tenure as president by making a lot of changes.
“A lot of what I’ll be doing in the beginning is just listening and getting a feel for the campus, getting to know people,” said Iacono.