By Mike Linn
The superintendent of Clovis schools would like to forward his career beyond K-12 education, a desire confirmed by his recent interest in the president’s job at North Central Missouri College.
Officials at the Trenton, Mo.-based college are interested in Neil Nuttall, too.
He is one of four finalists of 41 applicants vying to fill the office of former North Central Missouri president Walter Nolte, who in June accepted a position at Casper Community College in Casper, Wyo.
The finalists — narrowed from eight to four this week by a committee of college board, faculty and community members — will visit the campus within the next few weeks and interview with the community college’s board of trustees.
“I’m excited. It’s always been a personal goal of mine that at some point I wanted to move into higher education. The (Clovis school board) knows about my personal goals,” Nuttall said.
Steve Maxey, director of public relations for the 1,500-student college, said he was impressed with Nuttall, and the other finalists, which include Stephen L. Hilterbran of Baton Rouge, La., James A. Johnson of Lubbock and Paul Tedesco of Emmetsburg, Ind.
“(Nuttall) indicated a marvelous background and has great ideas on ways to be successful should he get the job,” Maxey said.
North Central Missouri Board of Trustees President Diane Raynes said she hopes the board chooses the new president by early October.
“We would like to have somebody on board as quickly as we can,” she said. “I would hope to have somebody here and working by the first of the year.”
But, she said the board understands prior obligations and would work with whoever is hired on establishing a start date that works for the new president and the college.
She said the salary for the job has not been set, but noted that Nolte — the college’s president for seven years — made just over $100,000 annually.
Ken Merritt, a Clovis school board member for 16 years, said Saturday he was unaware that Nuttall was a finalist but knew he had applied for the position.
Merritt said when Nuttall was hired seven years ago he didn’t mention his goal of moving into higher education. But Merritt added: “To me that would be a natural transition.”
“I’ve always felt that if somebody wants to move up in his position there would be no reason for me to do anything but to encourage. I would definitely be disappointed if he chose to leave, but I wouldn’t have a problem with him taking advantage of this opportunity,” Merritt said.
Nuttall has family in Clovis and a son who plays football at New Mexico State University, and said leaving them would be difficult, but said he doesn’t mind traveling for frequent visits.
“It’s a small world,” Nuttall said. “I can be in Kansas City at 8 a.m. and back in Clovis by 3 in the afternoon.”
Hilterbran is the vice chancellor of student affairs at Baton Rouge Community College, a campus of 6,000 students; Johnson is the senior vice president for advancement at Lubbock Christian University, which has an enrollment of 1,960 students. Tedesco is the superintendent of the Emmetsburg Community School, which has a student population of 700.