CWI Presidential Search

Presidential Announcement

The College of Western Idaho (CWI) Board of Trustees approved a motion during the Board’s Dec. 9 meeting to extend an offer to Gordon Jones to serve as the next president of the College. Jones has accepted and will assume duties beginning Monday, Jan. 10. 

Gordon Jones to Serve as College of Western Idaho's Next President

CWI Presidential Finalist Forum with Gordon Jones

Campus Visioning

As we enter into a new era of leadership at CWI, the College is continuing its Campus Development Visioning and Planning process for future opportunities and growth. Learn more about the Campus Development Visioning and Planning initiative and see recent survey results.

Search Timeline

Spring - Focus group listening tour

Summer - Launch search

September - Evaluate candidates and select semi-finalists

Mid-October - Interview semi-finalists

Late-October / Mid-November - Select and interview finalists

Early December - Offer extended, new president announced, and start date established

Search Committee

Alex Beal, Department Chair of Career Technical Education Program
Alex LaBeau, Business Community
Cathleen Currie, Dean
Cherie Buckner-Webb, CWI Board of Trustee
Dr. Paula Kellerer, Public Education
Kelly Olson, Business Community
Kelsey Dillon, 2014 CWI Graduate
Luis Caloca, Student Services
Mike Reynoldson, Business Community
Molly Lenty, Committee Co-Chair and CWI Board of Trustee Chair
Scott Gipson, Business Community
Stephanie Ritchie-Breach, Criminal Justice Faculty and Faculty Senate President
Wendi Secrist, Workforce Development
Will Young, CWI Student

Presidential Profile

The purpose of the presidential profile is to provide prospective candidates information about the College, the position of president, and the opportunities and challenges that the president and the College will be dealing with in the coming years. The profile will also provide information about life in the Treasure Valley.

CWI Presidential Profile

Media Inquiries

Ashley Smith
Communications Representative
College of Western Idaho 
ashleysmith5@cwi.edu
208.562.3106

Focus Group Listening Tour

The College held a number of virtual focus groups to gather input regarding CWI's search for a new president. Focus Groups consisted of staff, faculty, students, alumni, businesses, and community. Each focus group session was led by Summit Search Solutions. During the discussion, Dick Merriman from Summit noted thoughts and perspectives on the following matters:

  • What are the big opportunities for the College and the president in the next five years? 
  • What challenges are facing the College and the next president? 
  • What experiences, skills, and traits of character will be essential for the next president? 

Participation and engagement in these groups was impressive, as well as the input gathered. Thank you to those that took the time to join one of these sessions.

Institutional Profile

The College of Western Idaho (CWI) is located in the vibrant Southwest Idaho region. The region is experiencing rapid population growth as employment opportunities – ranging from agriculture to high tech business and industry – combine with an outstanding quality of life to attract new residents. CWI is not only Idaho’s largest community college, it is also one of the fastest-growing colleges in the nation. Enrollment has grown from 18,000 students to almost 30,000 students in the past five years. Over 21,000 students were enrolled in credit-bearing courses in fiscal year 2020. Another 8,000 non-credit students completed basic skills and workforce development studies.

Created by a supermajority of voters in Ada and Canyon counties on May 22, 2007, CWI is the only public community college dedicated to serving western Idaho and to improving the community’s economic well-being. CWI offers a full range of academic and career-technical courses leading to Associate of Arts, Science, or Applied Science degrees; technical degrees; and targeted workforce skill certificates. CWI also offers adult education, ESL and GED preparation, dual credit for high school students, and fast-track career training for working professionals. Students can choose from day, evening, and weekend classes offered at a variety of campus locations throughout western Idaho or online.

Presidential Search Updates

597 Jan. 4, 2022 - Gordon Jones to Serve as College of Western Idaho's Next President

College of Western Idaho (CWI) Board of Trustees unanimously voted to hire Gordon Jones as the third president, following a nationwide search process. Jones succeeds President Bert Glandon, who retired in May, and will begin assuming his duties on Monday, Jan. 10. 

Jones states, “I’m thrilled to serve students and brighten the future of our communities as the next president of CWI. As growth in the Treasure Valley continues to accelerate, I’m honored to join faculty and staff to deliver transformative learning opportunities and skills that empower students to thrive in our community and beyond.” 

Jones is the founding dean of Boise State University’s College of Innovation + Design and has been at the university since 2015. Prior to Boise State, Jones was the Evans Family Foundation Managing Director for the Harvard Innovation Lab at Harvard University, helping thousands of students translate their education and ideas into new ventures and jobs within the technology, health sciences, consumer and non-profit fields.  In addition, he worked as an executive for 15 years focusing on innovation, marketing, and sales growth with mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies, including The Gillette Company.

Jones has over 5 years of teaching experience in design thinking, business, and leadership at several colleges. He has a Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford University School of Business. 

“The Board is enthusiastic to welcome President Jones to the College, his expertise in leveraging education and innovation to connect students with the workforce is exceptional," said Board Chair Molly Lenty. 

Jones and his wife reside in the Treasure Valley, along with their four children, ages nine to fifteen. Jones stays active in the community through various board positions, coaching youth sports, and is an avid fly fisherman and outdoorsman.

Learn more about the presidential search process and campus visioning.

597 Dec. 9, 2021 - CWI Presidential Announcement

In alignment with a transparent and inclusive presidential search process and in accordance with public meeting laws, the College of Western Idaho (CWI) Board of Trustees approved a motion during the Board’s monthly meeting today, Dec. 9, to extend an offer to Gordon Jones to serve as the next president of the College.

The Board of Trustees contracted Summit Search Solutions to assist with the search process. Focus groups were held earlier this spring to help provide input on the presidential profile, and individuals representative of the college’s Broad stakeholder groups were identified to participate on the search committee. Over seventy applications were received, and after the committee interviewed an impressive list of semifinalists, four finalists were identified to invite on to campus to participate in a series of individual stakeholder forums. 

Board Chair, Molly Lenty said, “The Board is excited to make this announcement following an extensive and comprehensive process to find a new president who will lead CWI boldly into the future, ensuring the College continues to empower students and the community.”

Once an agreement of terms of employment and a start date is established, more details of CWI's next president will be released. Visit CWI’s Presidential Search page to learn more about the search process. 

597 Nov. 11, 2021 - Public Presidential Finalists Forums

Members of the community are invited to participate in College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) upcoming, public Presidential Finalist Forums Nov. 15 – 18.

Selection of the final four candidates was the culmination of an extensive national search. CWI’s Board of Trustees, along with Summit Search Solutions, worked to create a comprehensive and inclusive search process.

The public forums will be available in person and virtually via the links included below. In-person attendance is limited and requires an RSVP.

Monday, Nov. 15 | 2 – 3 p.m.
Denise Aberle-Cannata, Interim President and Provost at College of Western Idaho

Tuesday, Nov. 16 | 2 – 3 p.m.
Todd Schwarz, Provost at College of Southern Idaho

Wednesday, Nov. 17 | 2 – 3 p.m.
Gordon Jones, Dean of College of Innovation and Design at Boise State University

Thursday, Nov. 18 | 2 – 3 p.m.
Abby Lee, Associate Vice President of College and Public Relations at Treasure Valley Community College

Visit the CWI Presidential Search page for additional information including candidate resumes.

597 Oct. 27, 2021 - CWI Announces Presidential Search Finalists

College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Board of Trustee and Search Committee Chair, Molly Lenty, has announced the four finalists selected through the College’s presidential search process.

The announcement was the culmination of a very extensive national search. The CWI Board of Trustees is working with Summit Search Solutions to assist with the comprehensive and inclusive search process. Focus groups were held in the spring to help provide input on the presidential profile, and individuals were identified to participate on the search committee.

“On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, we are excited to announce our slate of final candidates that will be invited to meet with the CWI community both on campus and via virtual platforms as appropriate,” said Chair Lenty.

Finalists consist of:  

  • Denise Aberle-Cannata, Interim President/Provost, College of Western Idaho
  • Gordon Jones, Dean of the College of Innovation and Design at Boise State University
  • Abby Lee, Associate Vice President of College and Public Relations at Treasure Valley Community College
  • Todd Schwarz, Provost at College of Southern Idaho.

“We had a tremendous response from a broad field of well-qualified candidates from across the country,” continued Chair Lenty. “The search committee, representing various stakeholder groups both internal and external to the College, put in very thoughtful work and hearty dialogue in identifying these finalists who each bring their own diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and vision for the future of CWI. We hope you will be able to participate in the upcoming candidate forums, as stakeholder feedback will be greatly appreciated.” 

Candidate interviews will take place the week of Nov. 15. Additional information, resumes, and links to candidate forums may be found on the CWI Presidential Search page.

597 Sept. 22, 2021 - CWI Update - Presidential Search Process

Greetings CWI Community,  

I am writing to you with an update on our presidential search process. The application date has been reached and the search committee is very pleased by the strong response from a variety of well-qualified candidates who represent diverse backgrounds, geography, and areas of expertise. The committee will be evaluating candidates over the next few weeks prior to inviting selected semifinalists for virtual interviews with the committee in Mid-October.   

With over 70 applicants in the candidate portal, it is apparent this is a highly sought-after position, illustrating the appreciation for all the College of Western Idaho(CWI) has accomplished, and awareness for the limitless opportunities ahead. I look forward to working alongside the highly-engaged search committee to review ratings, discuss candidates, and select semifinalists as we move through the search process. 

Please watch for future communications inviting internal and external stakeholders to participate in open forums in November to meet final candidates - ahead of the committee finalizing their recommendation to the Board of Trustees.   

The presidential search page continues to be a great source to find information and updates related to the search for CWI's next president. 

Thank you for all you do for our students and community and for your continued support as we move into the next chapter of #MightyCWI!  

Respectfully, 

Molly Lenty 
Chair, Board of Trustees 
College of Western Idaho 
Mobile: 208.570.5396 
mollylenty@cwi.edu 

597 Aug. 17, 2021 - CWI Presidential Search Update

Dear Presidential Search Committee,

The search for the College’s next president experienced a successful launch and is moving forward nicely. I wanted to make you aware Interim President, Denise Aberle-Cannata, has announced her intention to apply for the presidential position. As with all candidates, Aberle-Cannata will submit a letter and CV for review by the search committee. The deadline for candidate submissions is Sept. 12.

In continuing to lead the search committee as the chair, I want to extend a special thank you to each of you for joining in along this journey.  I look forward to working through this process together and am confident the College will attract a strong pool of candidates, allowing us to select the best choice for CWI going forward.

Please visit the Presidential Search page for updates, timeline, and additional information on the presidential search process. 

Respectfully,

Molly Lenty
Chair, Board of Trustees
College of Western Idaho

597 July 22, 2021 - CWI Launches Presidential Search

MEDIA ADVISORY – July 22, 2021

Contact:
Ashley Smith
208.731.6091
ashleysmith5@cwi.edu

CWI Launches Presidential Search

College of Western Idaho (CWI) has launched the search for its next president. CWI seeks an innovative and experienced educational leader for the position of president. The president will provide energetic and visionary leadership for a fast-growing and complex institution that serves a dynamic and prosperous region. CWI takes great pride in its core purpose of empowering the community, one student at a time.

The CWI Board of Trustees is working with Summit Search Solutions to assist with the search process. Focus groups were held earlier this spring to help provide input on the president profile, and individuals have been identified to participate on the search committee. 

“We’ll take the needed time and do the work and necessary due diligence to ensure that we are addressing the needs of our students, the many communities we serve, and, of course, our faculty and staff as we prepare to select our next president,” said Board Chair, Molly Lenty.

President Bert Glandon, who retired as of May 15, 2021, served as the College’s second president and held this position from 2009 to 2021.

Confidential review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by Sept. 12, 2021will be given first consideration. Visit the presidential search page online for information surrounding the presidential search process, the entire presidential profile, and guidance for applying.

About the College of Western Idaho:

The College of Western Idaho is a public, open-access, and comprehensive community college committed to providing affordable access to quality teaching and learning opportunities to the residents of its service area in western Idaho. CWI has several campus locations throughout Southwest Idaho providing higher education and 21st Century technical skills acquisition. The college is dedicated to improving the community’s economic well-being by responding with highly-educated and productive graduates. The foundation for the area’s only community college was created by a supermajority of voters in Ada and Canyon counties on May 22, 2007. CWI is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). For more information about the college, visit www.cwi.edu or call 208.562.3000.

597 May 21, 2021 - CWI Selects Presidential Search Committee

MEDIA ADVISORY – May 21, 2021

Contact:

Ashley Smith
208.731.6091
ashleysmith5@cwi.edu

CWI Selects Presidential Search Committee

College of Western Idaho (CWI) Board of Trustees has formed a search committee for a new president. The committee is made up of 15 local stakeholders from CWI and the business community. They will assist in formulating a presidential profile for the ideal candidate and support the launch of a presidential search. Feedback from focus groups will also contribute to the development of the presidential profile and search process.

In addition, the search committee will evaluate prospective candidates, select and interview semifinalists and finalists, leading to a recommendation for the CWI Board of Trustees.

CWI Board of Trustees Chair Molly Lenty communicated, "I'm excited for the search committee to meet and provide their input as we continue to move forward in our pursuit to select a new president."

Lenty will co-chair the committee, and current Interim President and Provost, Denise Aberle-Cannata, and Summit Search Solutions will assist with the search process.

Search Committee Members:

Alex Beal, Career and Technical Faculty (Department Chair CTE)
Alex LaBeau, Business Community
Cathleen Currie, Dean
Cherie Buckner-Webb, CWI Board of Trustee
Denise Aberle-Cannata, Committee Co-Chair, Interim President, and Provost
Dr. Paula Kellerer, Public Education
Kelly Olson, Business Community
Kelsey Dillon, CWI Alumni
Luis Caloca, Student Services
Mike Reynoldson, Business Community
Molly Lenty, Committee Co-Chair and CWI Board of Trustee Chair
Scott Gipson, Business Community
Stephanie Ritchie-Breach, Criminal Justice Faculty and Faculty Senate President
Wendi Secrist, Workforce Development
Will Young, CWI Student

The committee plans to launch the search process in July 2021. Visit CWI's Presidential Search webpage to learn more.

597 May 13, 2021 - College of Western Idaho Interim President Named

Dear College of Western Idaho Community, 

It is my pleasure to announce that today the CWI Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Denise Aberle-Cannata as CWI’s interim president effective May 16, 2021. 

One of the most important responsibilities of the CWI Board of Trustees is to select the right leader for this great Institution and the entire CWI community. The CWI Board is confident that Interim-President Aberle-Cannata is the right leader to guide and continue to advance the priorities and momentum of the Institution while maintaining the values of the CWI community.  The appointment of Aberle-Cannata will allow the Board to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the College as we continue to search for the next President of CWI.  

Interim-President Aberle-Cannata’s vast experience in numerous roles and settings has provided her with a valuable understanding of higher education ranging from operations to instruction. She is an extremely capable leader with deep institutional credibility that will serve CWI and our students well.  

Interim-President Aberle-Cannata is committed to advancing a culture of care for students, faculty and staff; providing access to higher education for all students; promoting excellence in faculty, teaching and serving the wonderful Treasure Valley Community, and the state of Idaho.  Over her extensive career, she has built relationships based on integrity and trust, and values those relationships with faculty, students, staff, local officials and many others. 

“I am honored and humbled to serve,” said Aberle-Cannata. “CWI is a special place and I know that all of us are committed to continuing to support our students, our faculty and staff and our communities as we work towards welcoming a new president in the future. It will be very much a team effort as my fellow cabinet colleagues will continue to play a pivotal role as we engage in all the areas and aspects involving CWI, “ added Aberle-Cannata.   

Our search process is underway for our next president. I am committed, along with my fellow trustees, to keeping the campus and community fully engaged and informed throughout. 

Best Regards, 

Molly Lenty 
Chair, Board of Trustees 
College of Western Idaho 

597 May 4, 2021 - CWI Prepares to Launch National Presidential Search

MEDIA ADVISORY – May 4, 2021

Contact:

Ashley Smith                                                     
208.731.6091                                     
ashleysmith5@cwi.edu

CWI Prepares to Launch National Presidential Search

College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Board of Trustees has announced a partnership with Summit Search Solutions to begin a nation-wide search for CWI’s next president. Currently, Summit is convening a number of internal, business and community listening sessions and focus groups in advance of the Search Committee’s first meeting.

The greater community is invited to attend a public forum on Friday, May 21, at 9 a.m. and may request attendance through CWI Presidential Search.

Feedback from these forums will inform the content of a position description and the position profile. Summit staff will support work to evaluate candidates, select and interview semifinalists and finalists for future presidential candidate community forums and, ultimately, extend an offer to a tremendous candidate.

Board Chair, Molly Lenty, stated, “We’ll take the needed time, do our work, follow the necessary due diligence to ensure that we are addressing the needs of our students, the many communities we serve and, of course our faculty and staff as we prepare to select our next president,” Lenty said.

For more information please visit, CWI Presidential Search.

 -###-

About the College of Western Idaho:

The College of Western Idaho is a public, open-access, and comprehensive community college committed to providing affordable access to quality teaching and learning opportunities to the residents of its service area in western Idaho. CWI has several campus locations throughout Southwest Idaho providing higher education and 21st Century technical skills acquisition. The college is dedicated to improving the community’s economic well-being by responding with highly-educated and productive graduates. The foundation for the area’s only community college was created by a supermajority of voters in Ada and Canyon counties on May 22, 2007. CWI is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). For more information about the college, visit www.cwi.edu or call 208.562.3000.