NCCC renews President Steve Tyrell’s contract

Steve Tyrell (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

SARANAC LAKE — North Country Community College’s board of trustees unanimously voted to renew embattled college president Steve Tyrell’s contract for one year, with his salary of $149K to remain unchanged.

Tyrell has been the target of a vote of “no confidence” passed by the Essex County Board of Supervisors this April, while a similar resolution raised at the Franklin County Legislature failed to pass for lack of a quorum and may be raised again.

The college relies on the two counties for funding, and reflects a general trend in higher education of declining enrollment. In addition, the Second Chance Pell program, which paid the college hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide prisoner education, is set to expire in the 2018-19 academic year.

Essex county supervisors have criticized the college for failing to provide adequate job-skills and vocational training, especially at the Ticonderoga campus.

This spring, the college announced plans to start a School of Applied Technology to provide technical job skills to students.

After trustees voted to renew Tyrell’s contract, Steve Reed, chair of the NCCC Board of Trustees, stated:

“The board wishes to express its gratitude to Dr. Tyrell for his continued vision and hard work; his presidency has been marked by such achievements as collaboration with Paul Smith’s College, an enhanced emphasis on shared governance, increased financial stability, and recent discussions about the establishment of a School of Applied Technology. The college has recently been holding public meetings with the community stakeholders regarding the latter project and is currently soliciting business proposals to vet its viability before moving forward. We are grateful that Dr. Tyrell will continue to lead the way on this undertaking.”

A visibly relieved Tyrell said the college has recently sent out a Request for Proposals to find a consultant to guide the development of the SAT. “We’ve done a lot of work but we wanted a fresh set of eyes on it, to make sure we get this right,” said Tyrell.