The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE leader prepared for chance to preside on ‘moving train’

South president Peter Jordan and SE president Bill Coppola say learning their campuses has been their top priority.
David Reid/The Collegian
South president Peter Jordan and SE president Bill Coppola say learning their campuses has been their top priority. David Reid/The Collegian

By Bethany Peterson/editor-in-chief

SE Campus president Bill Coppola has been on the job since the beginning of January, but he began preparing for it years ago.“If you follow my résumé, every job was to get experience,” he said.

When Coppola decided to work toward the position of campus president, his mentor helped him organize a career path.

“He outlined the experiences I needed to be a good president,” Coppola said.

South president Peter Jordan and SE president Bill Coppola say learning their campuses has been their top priority.
David Reid/The Collegian

Already an instructor of video technology/broadcast at North Lake College in Dallas, he began taking positions in different departments, levels and colleges.

“The hardest part was leaving Dallas,” Coppola said. “I started there, but my mentors said I had to get out of there, to leave the nest so to speak.”

He set his sights on campus president as a way to help students.

“What I learned was that the higher up you go, the more you can do that, the more students you can affect,” he said.

Along the way, he has kept his wife and twin boys in the center of his career.

“I have always been committed to being there for my family,” Coppola said.

He turned down several offers and even president positions that would have taken him away from his family.

“Those things [family events] only come by once,” Coppola said. “One of my boys was on the swim team, and I

made every meet.”

But then his sons headed to college, and the SE Campus position became available. Coppola called it perfect timing and said he has achieved his goal.

“TCC as a district is really on a fast track to be a premier institution,” he said. “It’s always fun to be on the moving train.”

His experience as a dean has been most helpful in his new position, he said, “because I had a focus on students as well as faculty.” Being executive director of academic partnerships and initiatives at Lone Star College in Kingwood, Texas, helped make him comfortable interacting with the community.

“What’s taking up my days now is learning the college and the people and the community,” Coppola said. “Chancellor Hadley has been really good with letting us get to know our campus.”

He uses a simple method to get a feel for the campus.

“Because we are under one roof, I walk the campus a lot, especially during when classes get out,” he said. “That’s my leadership style. I walk the halls and pop into offices.”

So far, the helpfulness and friendliness of the campus and district have surprised him.

“People here really want me to succeed. There are no ‘got-yous,’” Coppola said.

But his walks get him into an occasional bind.

“The funniest thing is me being lost and trying to figure out where I’m going,” Coppola said. “I can never find the Century Room. I know where it is, but I always take the wrong hallway.”

He looks forward to continuing the campus’ role in the community and in student involvement.

“I’m working with student organizations,” Coppola said, “trying to fuse more civic responsibility with student organizations.”

Students should not be afraid to change course, he advised.

“It is good to have multiple lives. Never settle on what you first want to do,” Coppola said.



Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian