The Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees named the school’s vice president of administrative services its interim president, following the surprise resignation of former president Debra Daniels earlier this month.
Judy Mitchell assumed the role March 21 – three days after Daniels submitted a resignation notice to the board. The JJC Board of Trustees formally accepted Daniels’ resignation March 29 at a special board meeting and is scheduled to approve Mitchell’s appointment at its April 19 meeting.
“The continuity of Joliet Junior College’s services and programs is absolutely our priority,” Mitchell said in a college news release. “I’m honored and humbled to take on this role, and it is my goal to ensure that the college remains committed to its mission, serving students and our community to the best of our ability.”
Board Chairman Bob Wunderlich said the Board of Trustees received a notice of Daniels’ immediate resignation March 18.
“Because this is a personnel issue we cannot comment specifically on other details related to this event, except that she cited personal reasons for her departure,” Wunderlich said.
The same day, Daniels issued a public statement thanking faculty and staff for their commitment to the college, and the college community and board of trustees for their support of various endeavours during her four years as president.
“I have brought the college as far as I can and I want to step aside so I can do other things,” she said in the statement. “The board has been tumultuous this past year with the resignation of three board members, and I hope that this will allow them to come together for the college.”
Wunderlich went on to say that Mitchell will serve as interim president while the college plans the process for finding its next president.
“What is at the forefront of our minds right now is the continued success of Joliet Junior College and its daily operations,” he said. “Dr. Mitchell is a 19-year college employee and has strong knowledge of our operations, finances and strategic plan to continue moving the college forward in the right direction.”
The board will share updates on the presidential search, as plans are finalized.
“Joliet Junior College has been a vital educational resource in our community for 115 years and I have every confidence it will continue to do so well into the future,” the board president said.
In his statement, Wunderlich highlighted some of the school’s accomplishments during Daniels’ tenure, including the development of an international student program, the 2016-19 Strategic Plan, a Master Plan Update that led to the construction of the Romeoville Campus expansion and the JJC Events Center, and the grand opening of a new Tutoring and Learning Center and Veterans Resource Center. He also lauded Daniels’ effort to create the JJC Commitment Scholarship fund, which provides financial assistance to economically disadvantaged students.
“We thank her for her service to the college,” Wunderlich said.
Mitchell began working at the college in 1996 as an administrative assistant in the CIOS department. She served in several other administrative roles before being appointed vice president of administrative services in 2012.
Mitchell received her doctorate in community college leadership from National-Louis University in June 2012. She also holds a MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business and technology from Governors State University.