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Presidential Search Candidates

November 2, 2015

Sent on behalf of Thomas A. Heywood, Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Dear Southern Community:

The Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors/Presidential Search Committee is pleased to announce that presidential candidate finalists have been selected after an extensive nationwide search. The candidates are: Mr. James Buyea, Dr. Robert Gunter, and Mr. Alton Scales. These candidates will be on campus for second interviews next week.

Mr. James Buyea will visit Southern on Tuesday, November 10; and Dr. Robert Gunter and Mr. Alton Scales will visit Southern on Wednesday, November 11.  During each interview, the candidate will tour Southern’s Logan and Williamson campuses and meet with Committee, the Chancellor for Community and Technical College Education, and members of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education.

The candidate selected will replace Dr. Merle Dempsey who has served as interim president since President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin’s retirement in June.

Mr. James Buyea

Mr. James Buyea is the Chief Information Officer at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, New York.  Mr. Buyea has more than 14 years’experience in higher education, 12 years in executive management, and 28 years in technical experience.  He is responsible for leading administrative technology, instructional technology and institutional research and planning functions at Jefferson Community College.  He previously served as the Vice President of Technology Services at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York, and spent ten years at Utica School of Commerce in Utica, NY as the director of institutional technology (IT) and director of distance education. During his tenure at Utica School of Commerce, Mr. Buyea led resource planning, budget development, and operational initiatives.  He holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management.

Curriculum Vitae
On-campus Interview Schedule 

Dr. Robert E. Gunter

Dr. Robert E. Gunter is currently the Vice President for Workforce Education at Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis, Arkansas.  Dr. Gunter most recently served as the Deputy Director for Career and Technical Education at the Arkansas Department of Career Education, in Little Rock, Arkansas, and prior to that was Vice President for Workforce Technology at Mid-South Community College (MSCC), West Memphis, Arkansas.  Dr. Gunter has a record of successful partnership creation, grant writing and management, and fund raising through grant writing and the development of donor support for career and technical programs.  He earned his Doctorate in Secondary Education Administration with Specialization in Technology Education from Arizona State University, Tempe Arizona.  He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Education in Vocational and Adult Education from Auburn University.

Curriculum Vitae
On-campus Interview Schedule









Alton D. Scales

Mr. Alton D. Scales currently serves as a consultant for Capitol Peaks Advising in Tampa, Florida.  He previously served as President of the Community College of Aurora in Aurora, Colorado; Campus CEO of Colorado Mountain College; Assistant Vice President of Student Services at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; Vice President of Academic Affairs at Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kansas; Director of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kansas; and Director of Intercultural Services and Special Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of North Texas.  Mr. Scales holds a Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology from the University of North Texas.

Curriculum Vitae
On-campus Interview Schedule











The current presidential search was coordinated with outside consultants Ayers & Associates of Arlington, Virginia, who screened the 61 applicants and interviewed 15 candidates.  They recommended 12 candidates to Southern’s Presidential Search Committee who selected and interviewed 7 semi-finalists in October before narrowing the field to the four top candidates. It is anticipated that the candidate selected to lead Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College will begin in January 2016.

Please direct questions or feedback regarding the presidential search to

Thank you for your interest in the search for the 9th president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.



Thomas A. Heywood, Chair
Presidential Search Committee
and Board of Governors