Hitting the Ground Running; Highland Community College Welcomes Deborah Fox as 44th President

July 1 marked day-one for Highland Community College’s new president, Deborah Fox.

The Board of Trustees named Fox as the 44th president of the institution after a nationwide search was completed in the spring of 2019. President David Reist retired at the end of June 2019 after 38 year with Highland Community College, 17 years as president.

Deborah Fox, a native of Kansas, most recently served as Director of Business Operations & Management for USD #446, Independence, Kansas School District. Previously, she served Highland Community College as the Vice President of Finance & Operations for 14 years and as an Assistant Dean of Regional Instruction for 3 years. She holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Higher Education from Fort Hays State University and an MBA in General Administration from Pittsburg State University.

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Board of Trustee Chair Thomas Smith said of the board’s choice, “we felt Deborah interacted well with campus and its constituents. She is a great fit in the community and knows HCC having spent 14 years as Highland’s Vice President of Finance and Operations.”

Fox told HCC employees, “I am thrilled to return to HCC. I’ve been in education administration for over 25 years with 17 of those years at Highland. It’s an exciting time to be a Scottie and I am grateful to be a part of it.”

“I’ve been meeting new people on campus and connecting with familiar faces. My first goal is to listen to the needs of our campuses and see how we can address those in combination with strategic goals for growth.”

Goals for growth include expanding the successful online and technical programs as well as continued growth on the Highland campus and regional centers.

“Highland’s technical programs are successful, and these are areas where job growth nationally is high. Highland is positioned to help students and employers in the region be prepared.”

“Retiring President Reist and his cabinet have a great strategic plan in place, and we’ve seen tremendous growth in our technical programs, namely at our Atchison Technical Center. Deb was here when we started forming that partnership and will be able to lead us and continue that trend,” added Tom Smith, HCC BOT Chair.

“She is hitting the ground running and comes with plenty of experience.”

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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