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

Crowning of chancellor made final

By Shelly Williams/editor-in-chief

TCC officially named Interim Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley as the school’s first woman and African-American chancellor during the March 10 board meeting.

After public comments and a closed session, Hadley was announced in a unanimous decision as the permanent choice for the position.

TCC’s director of grant development Jacqueline Maki, left, shakes hands with newly appointed Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley after the board meeting March 10. Casey Holder/The Collegian
TCC’s director of grant development Jacqueline Maki, left, shakes hands with newly appointed Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley after the board meeting March 10. Casey Holder/The Collegian

“It’s with great pleasure that on behalf of the board of trustees, I move that Erma Johnson Hadley be appointed as chancellor for Tarrant County College District and that the board president be authorized on behalf of the district to execute an employment agreement for a three-year term at an annual salary of $365,000 a year,” board vice president Bobby McGee said.

The audience gave Hadley a standing ovation, and her daughter presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

“I think I am the perfect person for this position today. I bring with me all of those things that are good about this country,” Hadley said in her thank you speech. “I want all the members of the community to know that I will not let you down. I’ll also be frank: I have a big job ahead of me. We have a lot of things to do at Tarrant County College.”

However, Fort Worth resident Glenn Garoon said he was concerned about the search process. Hadley was named the sole finalist by the board at its last meeting Feb. 18.

“I admit that I’m a little concerned about the process that took place or, to me, the lack of a more dedicated

search,” he said. “This is nothing personal with Mrs. Hadley. I did a brief visit to the Texas Association of Community College Web site, and I saw a lot of Ph.D.s. I think this is the only major community college district that would not have a Ph.D. at its head, although I could be wrong.”

Others had nothing but praise for the board’s decision.

“Thank you to the board for getting someone who could just step right in, seamlessly, and make us all proud,” Fort Worth resident Gyna Bivens said.

Following the choice of Hadley, RadioShack had the option to extend its lease at TR Campus, and the action was approved by the board. The extension allows RadioShack’s use of the Clear Fork and West Fork buildings to continue through June 30, 2016.

“While our student enrollment continues to grow, our team is confident we will not need the West Fork or Clear Fork buildings before the end of the additional five-year term set forth in the lease extension,” Hadley said in a press release. “I am pleased we can accomplish this lease extension without any change in our daily operations or our educational mission.”

RadioShack’s executive vice president and chief financial officer James Gooch said the lease agreement was a significant step in working toward a final decision on a location for RadioShack’s headquarters.

“We still need to work out some details concerning tax incentives with both the city of Fort Worth and Tarrant County,” he said in a press release.

“We are in discussions with officials from both bodies, and we hope to bring the process to a conclusion as quickly as possible.”

TR president Tahita Fulkerson said she knew about the possibility of RadioShack staying longer and thinks it’s a wonderful idea.

“I think that the collaborations that we have now set about to accomplish will be something worth accomplishing,” she said.

Hadley sets goals for TCC’s future

 By Shelly Williams/editor-in-chief 


After almost 42 years of involvement at TCC, Erma Johnson Hadley was officially crowned the permanent chancellor during this month’s board meeting.

About eight months ago, she accepted the position as interim chancellor — filling the shoes of Leonardo de la Garza — until a more permanent solution

Board president Louise Appleman congratulates Erma Johnson Hadley on her official appointment as chancellor. Photos by Casey Holder/The Collegian
Board president Louise Appleman congratulates Erma Johnson Hadley on her official appointment as chancellor.
Photos by Casey Holder/The Collegian

could be found. She said she didn’t start the position with the mindset that she’d be the next head of TCC. But she said during those months, the changes she made to the administration and to TCC, such as naming Mark McClendon as vice chancellor of finance and Joy Gates Black as vice chancellor of student success, were needed.

“I was fully aware that the next chancellor was going to be named by the board of trustees, and they had the right to name whoever they wanted,” she told The Collegian. “I was interested from the beginning, of course. But I didn’t have any expectations that I would get it, but any of the changes that I made, I made them because they needed to be made. And the board gave me the authority to do that.

“I saw what needed to be done, and I stepped up to do those things. And it was easy for me to make changes because I knew the institution so well. I knew what was there. I knew what was needed. So I suppose I didn’t wait around to see what the board was going to do ultimately.”

The board had no clear timeline to make a decision on a new chancellor, Hadley said. She didn’t know what board members were going to do.

In fact, 42 years ago, she said she was “in heaven” just being one of the charter faculty members on NE Campus that helped shape the campus’ future.

“I was so ecstatic about being on the NE Campus, a brand new campus,” Hadley said. “Of course, we were unable to move into our permanent facilities our first day because the campus was not completed. I think there had been a building strike that spring, and the campus was behind schedule.

“So we actually started, those of us who were hired full time on the NE Campus, actually began work on the South Campus. Our department had four people in it and worked beside a broom closet in the Office Occupations Building at the time. And the first three of us who were not teaching got the three chairs. The fourth chair had to be in the hallway,

like in the doorway. And that’s the way we began our work.”

Now that she’s the quarterback for TCC’s team of administrators and faculty, she said her first actions will be to continue with the aims she had as interim chancellor, then work from there.

“My first priority will be to review the goals that have been set for me by the board and the goals I have set for myself with the executive leadership team,” she said, “and determine the strategies that we’re going to use for reaching these goals.”

She said this coming year, TCC’s goals will focus on the number of students attracted to the college, the number of students retained, the number of students successfully assisted with remediation, the number of students who successfully complete college-level courses after remediation and the number of students who complete their courses with an A, B or C grade.

“I’m very excited about it,” Hadley said. “Each campus has a very strong president, and with our leadership team, we have, of course, now someone to pay specific attention to student success along with the academic side of the house. And by putting those together, and with the additional support from the people we have at the district, I am confident that we’re going to reach those goals.”

Another change for TCC came during the board meeting earlier this month. RadioShack extended its lease with TCC until 2016.

Hadley said she thinks that if there are any problems with enrollment or parking related to the lease extension on the TR Campus, they will be handled well.

“That’s a project that I worked very, very hard to bring to a solution,” she said. “It wasn’t something I could talk about in the months past because RadioShack is, of course, a private company. I didn’t want anybody to know what was going on there for a while, so only the board and I really knew what was going on.”

She said she saw the opportunity for RadioShack to stay in Fort Worth and began working on it immediately because TCC won’t need the extra space for a while.

“I think it’s really, really good that RadioShack is on the campus with our students,” she said. “And I like to think that it’s good for RadioShack. In addition to that, it’s good for the city of Fort Worth and for Tarrant County because we can keep the Fortune 500 company in Fort Worth. And it’s good for the local citizens mainly because not only do we have people maintaining their jobs, but we are also getting some money back from RadioShack that we can put into the operation of the Tarrant County College District.

“I think there are so many wins out of this that I am just absolutely ecstatic.”

Hadley said one of the thing’s she’s learned in the months as interim chancellor is that TCC is going to have a significant change in the way the college is funded in the future.

“I expect it is to come fairly soon. The state is going to begin paying differently than the way it does today,” she said. “The proposal now before the higher education coordinating board and the governor’s office is paying us for performance. And the whole goal right now is to pay for the number of students who complete the semester with an A, B or C. And that’s significantly different from the number of students who are enrolled on [the 12th] class day.”

Something else she said she’s learned is that there are pockets of excellence, but they often don’t get shared with other campuses. She said it’s something that deserves a close look.

She said it feels good for her to gaze back on all of her years at TCC, knowing that she had the opportunity to affect the lives of a few people on her starting campus.

“I look back from where I was to where I am now,” she said. “And I think we served 100,991 students last year, and to know that I am the leadership of the Tarrant County College District — one of the largest in the country — it’s very rewarding for me. I’m really, really excited about taking the college to the next level.

“I believe very, very strongly that whoever sits in that seat has the responsibility to move it forward, and that’s what I intend to do.”

Her daughter, Ardenia Johnson Gould, congratulated Hadley during the board meeting and said that she’s “over the moon” about her mother’s success.

“My mom has been doing this all of my life,” she said. “She really is passionate about higher education, and I’m just so immensely proud of her and the work she’s done already and the work that’s to come.”




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