A Salem woman has been tabbed to lead Ozarka College's search for a new college president.
Carol Langston will serve as chairman over a committee that will select a new president by Jan. 1.
"We're very excited to have Carol at the helm of our search for a new president," said Ozarka Board of Trustees Chairman Barbara Perryman. "She's helped other colleges find presidents and she's offered her services to us for free."
Perryman said the board will appoint members to the search committee this week.
The committee will be comprised of a trustee, one faculty member, a selected student, a member of student services, a person from financial services and one student advancement representative.
In addition, a five-member advisory committee comprised of residents from Izard, Fulton, Sharp and Stone counties will provide input in hiring a new president, Perryman said.
"We want to make sure everyone in the college and the community has a voice when we hire a new president," Perryman said.
She said Langston plans to have several candidates ready for consideration by October.
"If everything goes according to plan we will be able to vote on the candidates in November and then have the new president in office by the beginning of the year," Perryman said.
She said Langston is providing her services for free.
Typically it costs a college $12,000 to $15,000 to search for a new college president, Perryman said.
Until a new president is found, Gayle Cooper, who was appointed as an interim replacement for former president Rush, will continue to serve as president, Perryman said.
Rush was fired July 7.
Perryman said the board terminated Rush's contract because he failed to comply with state laws, was dishonest and insubordinate and didn't follow college guidelines.
Rush, who served as the Ozarka College president for 18 years, disputes the reasons he was fired and has threatened to sue the school. He said he was fired because of a personal dispute between him and Bonnie Wyatt, a member of the board of trustees.
The Legislature passed an act in the spring that may help fund a new technology and business building on the Ozarka College Campus.
According to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Ozarka College will receive $1.1 million in state bond money to improve its business and technology programs.
The money comes from legislative Act 1282 which appropriated $150 million to state colleges to improve technology and businesses programs.
Ozarka College President Gayle Cooper said the board of trustees voted to use the money, if the college receives it, to construct the new building.
Even though funding for the project has already been passed by the Legislature, voters still have to approve the spending in the form of a bond issue in November, Cooper said.
He said a yes vote in November for the bond issue will not raise residents' taxes.
"Having a new building would be a wonderful addition to our college," said Perryman. "The space it would open up would help us expand our Culinary Arts department."
The board voted to provide salaries for the interim administrative personnel.
Cooper's salary will be $116,00 for the upcoming school year. Besides serving as interim president, Cooper will also retain his post as vice president of academic affairs.
Gary Phillips, who was appointed last month to serve as the interim vice president of academic affairs, will receive $65,000 for the upcoming school year.