The Northern Marianas College’s long search for a president finally ended in 2011 when its Board of Regents named Dr. Sharon Hart as the college’s new chief executive officer.
Her choice was a major requirement that eventually reaffirmed the institution’s accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, lifting it out of show-cause status.
As early as January this year, a second presidential search was created to look for NMC’s next CEO after the first one failed to narrow down a choice. Out of the 31 applicants for the post, seven candidates were endorsed by the Association of Community College Trustees. Committee members then rated their favorites, narrowing down to the list to the Top 5.
A few days later, two of the top contenders backed out from the race leaving the board with only three individuals to choose from: Hart and Drs. Christa Adams and Jeff Armstrong.
Top choice Adams was first offered a contract, but she backed out from the race. The board made its second attempt to offer the position to Hart, who then failed to respond to the board’s proposal.
With only Armstrong left on the list, the regents opted to offer him the post. At first, the “almost-president” expressed excitement about his possible relocation to Saipan, only to announce that he is no longer interested in taking the position afterwards.
With hope dimming that a new president would be installed before the July decision of the accreditation commission, the board suddenly announced Hart’s selection as NMC’s new CEO.
Hart had apparently reconsidered her earlier decision and accepted the $80,000 job offer to lead the embattled institution.
She was installed on July 5. During the same week, NMC received the good news from WASC that it is no longer on show-cause status but is merely on probation.
Hart replaced Dr. Carmen Fernandez who was fired in April 2010. She is the eighth president in NMC’s history.