Eastern Iowa Community Colleges has agreed to pay former Chancellor Sonya Williams $250,000 in one lump sum, according to her separation agreement.
The Aug. 1, 2023 agreement says that Williams resigned her position effective July 31, 2023, and she would be paid 12 months salary, in the gross amount of $250,000, but would not receive any pension, retirement or insurance benefits. EICC is also paying her attorney’s fees in the amount of $2,500.
Williams was announced as EICC’s eighth chancellor on June 16, 2022 and started in the position Aug. 8, 2022.
The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Naomi DeWinter, Muscatine Community College President and Vice Chancellor for Student Development, as temporary acting chancellor effective Aug. 1, 2023.
The decision followed a special board meeting where the board accepted the resignation of Williams, who made the decision to leave her position for personal reasons, according to EICC. The board discussed the chancellor succession plan at its Aug. 21 meeting.
Applications due Sept. 8
The board is seeking submissions to become interim chancellor for Scott, Muscatine and Clinton community colleges, until Sept. 8, 2023. After Sept. 8, a board subcommittee will review the candidates and make a recommendation to the full board.
“We anticipate the Board will discuss and potentially appoint an interim Chancellor on Sept. 18. That person would serve in that role through June 2025,” Erin Snyder, EICC’s chief communications and marketing officer, said in a Tuesday e-mail.
Williams’s three-year contract included a negotiated provision for severance, which is a common contractual condition for people in leadership roles, Snyder said.
DeWinter (the temporary acting chancellor) currently serves as EICC Vice Chancellor for Student Development and Muscatine Community College’s President.
She “has been a driving force in enhancing student support services across the district,” according to her EICC bio. Under DeWinter’s leadership, the Student Development Council was revitalized, and workgroups were initiated to redesign advising and first-year experience programs.
“Her response during the Covid-19 pandemic exemplified her commitment to health and safety while ensuring continuous service to students,” the bio says.
Her tenure as president of Muscatine Community College has been marked by transformative projects and strategic initiatives, the EICC website says. She successfully led a $1.9-million library renovation project and played a key role in the planning of a new $10-million Career and Technical Education facility, scheduled to open in 2023.
Her collaboration with Muscatine Community Schools to increase opportunities for Career Academies and concurrent enrollment have made an impact on student engagement and success. In addition, she has secured an impressive track record in grant work, successfully obtaining several state grants and multiple grants from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust amounting to over $1 million.
Before joining EICC in 2015, DeWinter worked as the Vice President of Student Affairs at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, Mich.
DeWinter completed her master’s degree in College Student Personnel at Eastern Michigan University and her doctorate degree in Community College Leadership at Ferris State University. She currently serves as board member for numerous community and state organizations, including Iowa Energy Center Board, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, Muscatine Center for Social Action, LULAC Council 371, Rotary International, and Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Candidates interested in serving in the role as EICC interim chancellor should submit their materials to the Board Secretary, Nichole Friedrichsen, at email@example.com.
Following the appointment of an interim, the board will review processes, gather input from stakeholders, and seek out best practices to conduct a thorough and comprehensive search for the next permanent chancellor, according to the district website.
“EICC’s priority is to ensure a smooth and efficient transition while maintaining the college’s commitment to academic excellence and student welfare,” the site says.