The Board of New Mexico Junior College announced today that Dr. Kelvin Sharp will be the sixth President in the college’s 51 year history. Dr. Sharp was chosen from over 35 candidates in a comprehensive national search. He will assume leadership of NMJC on July 1, 2016.
Dr. Sharp has been president of South Plains College in Levelland, Texas since 2004. His leadership experience at a rural junior college, much like NMJC, and his understanding of the challenges and opportunities in higher education, made him the exceptional candidate from a pool of outstanding applicants.
“We are extremely proud to announce Dr. Sharp as New Mexico Junior College’s next President,” said Pat Chappelle, Board Chair. “The search committee and the board spent a great deal of time determining the qualifications and type of leadership they felt the college president needs. Dr. Sharp fills those requirements, and possesses the skills, vision and integrity that has made New Mexico Junior College one of the finest higher learning institutions in the Southwest.”
Dr. Sharp holds his doctorate of education degree in higher education administration from Texas Tech University and his master of arts degree in mathematics from Texas Tech. He received his bachelor of science degree in physics and mathematics from Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska.
Dr. Sharp joined South Plains College in July 1999 as dean of arts and sciences. He was promoted to vice president for academic affairs in January 2000. The South Plains College Board of Regents named him president of the college in November 2004.
During Dr. Sharp’s tenure at South Plains, he led the college through two successful re-accreditation’s with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He was instrumental in facilitating the growth of the South Plains College Foundation and the college’s reserve funds. He created partnerships with area communities to address workforce and educational outreach opportunities. He worked to streamline student service components to better address the diverse needs of the student population.
Because of his teaching background, his priorities have centered on supporting the faculty and creating a positive educational experience. His vision, guided by these priorities, has led to several innovative construction and renovation projects that enhance the college’s educational atmosphere.
Dr. Sharp came to South Plains College from West Texas A&M University where he served four years as instructor in mathematics, coach of the rodeo team and assistant in the University Development Office.
Previously, he had served as dean of instruction at Clarendon College for three years, and a math and rodeo physical education instructor for seven years. He has taught in public schools in Tryon, Nebraska, and Claude, Texas. He and his wife Lissa have two children, Lindsey, 18, and John, 15.
Dr. Sharp will succeed Dr. Steve McCleery, who is retiring after 32 years at New Mexico Junior College, the last 18 years as President. “Dr. McCleery led NMJC into a new era with a strategic plan to help the college grow, maintain its quality of education, and be fiscally secure,” said Chappelle. “Dr. Sharp will continue to create new opportunities and lead the institution in the years ahead.”
Dr. Sharp said in a news conference immediately after his hiring, “For me to have the opportunity to lead New Mexico Junior College is an excellent chapter for my career.”
South Plains College released a statement after the announcement. Sharp said, “I have had a terrific experience at South Plains College. Through my 16 years here, my relationships with the board, the faculty and the staff have been great. Being part of the “SPC Family” has been special for me and my family, that is time I will always cherish. It is my hope that history will show that I am leaving SPC in better shape than it was when I was handed the reins. I believe in my heart that it is and I am pleased with where we are today.” He ended by saying, “now it is time for me to start another chapter in God’s plan for Kelvin Sharp.