The Wilkes Community College Board of Trustees met on Thursday, August 9, at the WCC-Alleghany Center in Sparta. Before the business session began at 5:45 p.m., Susan Nilo, Alleghany Center director, gave an update of the past two years.

Judge Richard Doughton administered the oath of office to the following reappointed trustees: Terry Bumgarner, Bert Hall, Josh Roten, Sylvia Robinson, and newly appointed trustees Connie Cox and Susan D. Murphy.

The business session began with approval of the minutes from the April 2018 Board of Trustees meeting.

Buildings and Grounds Committee

The design for the Alleghany Center Welding and Diesel Lab project has been completed and bid information was presented. The lowest bid received was $654,890, which was well above the funding the college has allotted for the project. Because the bids exceeded the college’s budget for this project, the bids were all rejected. Dr. Cox and the administrative team are exploring options on how to reduce the cost of the project so that it can still be completed.

Planning and design for the Ashe Campus Classroom and Lab Project is continuing. College personnel are meeting regularly with the architect, LS3P Associates, Ltd. and the construction manager at risk, Vannoy Construction, to refine the project scope and design to ensure the project meets priority needs within the available funding. The current project schedule shows construction beginning in the spring of 2019 and completion in the summer of 2020.

Finance Committee

The board authorized the finance committee to approve the 2018-2019 state budget allocation and other budget related items that require action prior to the board’s October meeting.

The board approved appropriations for the 2018-2019 fiscal year:

  • County of Wilkes: regular appropriation of $3,315,345, capital outlay appropriation of $150,000, salary supplement (3%) of $366,000, and bond matching (1 of 5) of $202,000.
  • County of Ashe: regular appropriation of $381,666, capital outlay appropriation of $15,000, non-recurring supplement-mobile classroom setup and ECHS renovation of $30,500, and salary supplement (3%) of $17,282.
  • County of Alleghany: regular appropriation of $155,790 and salary supplement (3%) of $10,965.

The 2018/19 state budget was ratified on June 12. Highlights for community colleges include the following:

  • No tuition increases
  • Recurring funding for the equivalent of a 2% salary increase for state-funded college employees
  • Provision for an additional 5 days of annual leave for full-time employees
  • Expansion of funding for short-term workforce training
  • Supplemental funding for specific colleges, including $50,000 for the WCC Culinary building

Colleges are scheduled to receive their individual budget allocations on August 17.

Program and Planning Committee

The Ashe Early College High School (AECHS) will open its doors at the Ashe Campus to the first class of students on August 20, 2018, with WCC classes for AECHS beginning August 21. The inaugural class includes 58 students, with 42 freshmen and 16 sophomores enrolled. The AECHS will host a parent night on August 13 which includes an orientation to the school and the distribution of student schedules.

Elaine Cox will serve as the principal of AECHS. Three core teachers have been hired for the first year, along with a high school data entry specialist/receptionist, and counselor. Cary Gardner has been employed by the college as the early college liaison. It is anticipated that approximately 200 students will be served annually by the AECHS by the end of the fifth year.

Personnel Committee

The trustees were presented biographical narratives on new employees who began work since the board last met. Phillip Wogatzke has been employed as career coach for Wilkes County schools effective June 4, 2018. He holds a masters in higher education-community college and university leadership from Appalachian State University. Prior to accepting the position, Phillip served as student success coach for High Point University.

Teresa Duncan has accepted the position of career coach for Wilkes County schools effective June 6, 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Appalachian State University. Prior to accepting the position, Teresa served as student success coordinator/intervention specialist for Wilkes County Board of Education/Wilkes Central High School.

Cary Gardner has been employed as the college liaison for Ashe Early College High School effective June 11, 2018. She holds a Master of Arts in English from UNC Charlotte. Cary was previously employed as the common core support resource teacher for Charlotte Mecklenburg schools, curriculum, and instruction department.

Nicole Burrell has accepted the position of chef for the Walker Center effective June 21, 2018. Nicole holds a certification in Professional Cooking from Selkirk College. Prior to accepting the position, Nicole served as executive chef for High Meadows Country Club.

Jennifer Glass has been employed as the career coach for Ashe County schools effective July 1, 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Science in child development with a concentration in family and consumer sciences from Appalachian State University. Jennifer was previously employed as the extension agent for 4-H and interim Ashe County Extension Director for the NC Cooperative Extension at the Ashe County Center.

Kelly Huffman has accepted the position of financial aid coordinator effective July 2, 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social sciences from Gardner Webb University. Kelly was previously the financial aid assistant in the financial aid office at WCC.

Lindsay Craven has been employed as the events artist relations manager, effective July 16, 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and advertising from Appalachian State University. Prior to accepting the position, Lindsay served as the executive director for the Yadkin Arts Council.

Celena Nilo has accepted the position of lead instructor, Culinary Arts effective August 1, 2018. She holds an Associate in Applied Science from WCC. Before accepting the position, Celena served as adjunct instructor for culinary at WCC, and executive chef for Twisted Oak Bar and Grill.

Margaret Harris has been employed as a Biology instructor effective August 13, 2018. She holds a Master of Education in Biology from Auburn University at Montgomery. Margaret was an adjunct instructor of Biology at WCC and also served as a professional tutor for WCC.

Annie Woodford has been employed as English instructor effective August 16, 2018. She holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from Hollins University. Annie served as associate instructor of English for Virginia Western Community College prior to accepting the position.

Matthew Greene has accepted the position of lead instructor of Animal Science effective August 16, 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture education from NC State University. Prior to accepting the position, Matthew served as agriculture teacher for Wilkes County Schools, and served as a career and college promise adjunct instructor for WCC.

Zachary Barricklow has been employed as VP of Strategy effective August 1, 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in management/philosophy from Hope College. Prior to accepting the position, Zach was co-founder, managing partner, and lead consultant of Versado Training.

A number of employees have assumed new roles at the college:

Angela Roten, former director of Academic Support center, has assumed the position of dean of Instructional Support. Stacee Whitley, former administrative assistant for the Health Sciences Division, has assumed the role of administrative assistant for the office of Institutional Advancement. Bruce Hollar, former assistant director of the Academic Support Center at Herring Hall, has assumed the role of director of the Academic Support Center.

Retirements announced since the last board meeting include Angela Scheuermann, dean of Learning Support and Completion by Design/Academic Support Center director.

Chairperson’s Report

For the 2018-2019 year, the board named Terry Bumgarner to serve as chairperson; Larry Stone, vice chairperson; and Gerald Lankford, secretary.

The board chair shared details of the next trustee orientation/education session, as prescribed in G.S. 115D-19(b), to be held September 5-7, in Asheville and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Annual Leadership Congress to be held October 24-27 in New York.

College President’s Report

Dr. Jeff Cox stated that the Herring Family Foundation has committed the funds necessary to support implementing the Strategic Plan by endowing a new position, Vice President of Strategy, over the next two years. This position was posted, and Zach Barricklow has been hired to serve in the position.

Dr. Cox stated WCC has been working for several months on developing a five-year Strategic Plan. With development complete, Dr. Cox gave an update on the first-year implementation plan and the strategies for moving forward.

Dr. Cox stated that the legislature approved an updated version of College Governance (SB420) Meeting Schedule. He added that the change affecting WCC is the Board of Trustees will be required to meet six times per year instead of quarterly.

The board reviewed the following proposed schedule:

  • Thursday, October 11, 2018 Walker Center
  • Friday, December 14, 2018 (lunch meeting/Christmas event for trustees) Walker Center.
  • Thursday, January 17, 2019 Walker Center
  • Wednesday, March 6, 2019 (lunch meeting) Walker Center
  • Thursday, April 11, 2019 Walker Center
  • Thursday, August 8, 2019 Ashe Campus

The WCC Board of Trustees will meet again on Thursday, October 11, 2018.

Public Comments

The board added a section on the agenda for Public Comments to allow students from a woodworking class to voice their support for the college to continue offering this course. Several students from this class attended the meeting and shared their passion for this course and what it has meant to them over the years. Dr. Cox committed to communicate to all interested parties a final decision about the future of the course within the next week.


(Left to right) Judge Richard L. Doughton administers the oath of office to new and reappointed trustees, Bert Hall, Terry Bumgarner, Chair, WCC Board of Trustees, Sylvia Robinson, Joshua Roten, Susan Murphy, and Connie Cox.


Dr. Cox presents Rita Woodruff with an honorary plaque recognizing her work in the development of the WCC Tuition-Free Guarantee through a partnership with Alleghany County Schools and Wilkes Community College.


Terry Bumgarner, Chair of WCC Board of Trustees presents plaque to Rita Woodruff in recognition of her years of service. She served from 2013 – 2018.