Elbe tabbed new president of John Wood Community College

Dr. John Letts, the outgoing JWCC president, speaks with Mike Elbe earlier this month. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)
Posted: Feb. 19, 2014 6:40 pm Updated: Mar. 5, 2014 8:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Michael Elbe has been named the sixth president of John Wood Community College.

His appointment was approved Wednesday night by the school's Board of Trustees. Earlier in the day, JWCC faculty was told of his selection.

Elbe, 49, has served as the college's vice president for student services since 2012 and has 19 years of service with JWCC. In his role as vice president for student services, Elbe oversaw the areas of admissions, records, career and advising, educational support grant programs, financial aid, veterans' affairs, student life and athletics.

Board President Randy Sims, who also was chairman of the presidential search committee, said Elbe would assume his new post April 1, succeeding John Letts, who will retire March 31. Letts has served as president since January 2012 and has been affiliated with JWCC for more than 25 years.

"Mike proved himself every step of the way against some incredible candidates," Sims said. "We are proud to say that we have a respected new leader committed to this community who will collaboratively grow the college through relationship building with students, employees and private business."

Elbe, a native of Camp Point, was one of four finalists who emerged from a nationwide search that drew 45 candidates from 26 states. Higher Plain Executive Placement of Jacksonville helped conduct the presidential search, which first narrowed the list of candidates to 10 and then the final four.

Each of the four finalists took part in a two-day interview process. Other finalists were Carlee Drummer, executive director of college advancement at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines; Douglas Brauer, vice president of economic development and innovative workforce solutions at Richland Community College in Decatur; and Ann Valentine, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College in Wabash Valley, Ind.

During Elbe's 26 years of professional experience, he also has served at four-year colleges in Iowa and North Carolina.

He was director of student life (1999-2002) and assistant dean of students (1998-99) at the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa. Elbe was an academic advisor (1988-90) for the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and served as a resident director (1987-88) for St. Andrew's Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C.

Elbe, who also served as a graduate assistant at the University of South Alabama, was a faculty member at each of the four-year colleges where he was employed.

In addition to his administrative roles at JWCC, Elbe coached the school's men's basketball team for 13 seasons, compiling a 246-165 record. He received regional, district and conference coach of the year honors and led two teams to top-seven finishes in the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournaments.

During his tenure at JWCC, Elbe has led and served on several college committees. He served as a team leader for JWCC's Higher Learning Commission on self-study, was vice chairman of the JWCC Leadership Council, served on risk management and integrated marketing teams, and numerous hiring committees.

Elbe was named JWCC's Professional Staff Member of the Year in 1996 and received the President's Appreciation Award in 2009.

Active professionally and in the community, Elbe is co-chairman of the professional division of the United Way of Adams County annual campaign, served as a team leader for the American Red Cross Heroes Campaign and presents "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" programs at local schools.

Elbe is currently an Educational Leadership doctoral candidate at William Woods University. He received a master's degree from the University of South Alabama and a bachelor's degree from Quincy University.



2014: Michael Elbe

2012-14: John Letts

2008-11: Thomas Klincar

1997-2008: William Simpson

1988-96: Robert Keys

1975-87: Paul Heath

Interim presidents/chief administrative officers: John Letts, 2011-12, 1996-97; Veldon Law, 1996, Victor Hopper 1987-88.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The number of years that Elbe has worked for JWCC was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.