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NPCC president stepping downPublished October 27, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
HOT SPRINGS — On Wednesday afternoon, Sally Carder, president of National Park Community College, walked into the Eisele Auditorium of the Frederick M. Dierks Center for Nursing and Health Sciences on campus, following a meeting with the college’s board of trustees.
“What I want to do is read you a letter that I presented to the board today,” Carder told a gathering of faculty and staff. “Then we’ll talk.”
The college president then announced that she would retire under the NPCC early-retirement policy on June 30 next year. The next day will mark her 40 years in education.
Carder, 61, said she still has things she wants to do and dreams to realize. She said she plans on staying involved with the community college, especially to help NPCC get a new technical campus.
A county tax-increase proposal that would have provided the funds for new technical facilities was heavily defeated in an April vote.
Carder said the decision to step down from her position was a difficult one.
“I have been toying with the idea since last year,” Carder said, adding that there are still things she wanted to accomplish at the school.
NPCC has also continued talks with officials at Henderson State University about selecting a shared location in Hot Springs that would make four-year degree programs available to Hot Springs residents without having to travel to HSU’s campus in Arkadelphia. President Glenn Jones of Henderson State recently said the announcement of a site in Hot Springs could be made soon.
At the end of her announcement, Carder said she credits her success to those people God placed in her life that encouraged and mentored her.
She told the gathering Wednesday that “no leader can do it on their own.”
“I could never imagine that I would have the opportunity to be president of a college,” she said. “I had no idea how fulfilling a career in higher education would be to me. I am thankful to everyone who had faith in me and encouraged me along the way. I have been greatly blessed.”
The audience gave Carder a standing ovation when she finished reading her announcement.
Carder is one of only three presidents the community college has had in 40 years. She was director of Quapaw Technical Institute from 2000 until 2003, and she was a major player in the merger of that school and Garland County Community College into National Park Community College, where she became president in 2005.
Carder has long been an advocate of nontraditional job-based education.
“That’s my background; I have a doctorate in adult education and administration,” she said.
That specialty is not the career path Carder was thinking about when she graduated from Prattsville High School.
“When I started in education, I wanted to be a coach and counselor,” the Grant County native said.
She attended Henderson State University and earned a degree in physical education. Then she became a coach for Poyen High School, much to the dismay of her family.
“Poyen is the main rival of Prattsville,” Carder said. “My father was upset that I was there.”
In Poyen, she coached the girls basketball, volleyball and track teams and was an assistant coach for the boys track team. During that time, she also earned a master’s degree in counseling. She then became a counselor at Ouachita Technical College in Malvern, now know as the College of the Ouachitas. Carder was there for six years.
Carder was hired away from OTC by Barry Ballard with the Arkansas Department of Education. Ballard later became president of Ouachita Tech.
When she came to Little Rock to work for the department, Carder supervised curriculum for professional and vocational schools in Arkansas. She also supervised the Industry Training program that was one of the signature educational projects of then-Gov. Bill Clinton.
After 13 years with the department, Carder decided she wanted to return to school as an administrator, and she was hired as assistant director of Quapaw Technical College, bringing her to Hot Springs.
“We were never interested in becoming a four-year university,” she said in an earlier interview. “We needed to be involved in what is going on. We are at the table in economic development, and the students put in thousands of hours raising money and taking part in service projects with community organizations. In every facet of the community, NPCC is involved.”
Carder was emotional as she read her announcement. A number of people associated with the college gave their president hugs after the announcement.
It was also announced that nine other retirements have been accepted by the board along with Carder’s. Joyce Craft, a member of the board, said the school will miss the decades of experience of the people who will be retiring at the end of the school year.
The retirements announced Wednesday included two faculty members; Jill Johnson, director of community projects; Ann Wilson, continuing education coordinator; Marylin Lambert, assistant registrar; and Ruth Wood, director of administrative support.
Before the meeting closed, Carder said she wanted to make sure who is in charge at the school.
“I will be making decisions until the day I walk out,” she said.
Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or email@example.com.
Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.