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Minnesota West president in running for new position

WORTHINGTON -- Richard Shrubb has been watching Johnson County Community College for quite some time.

So when the college announced it was looking for a new president, the current head of Minnesota West Community and Technical College applied for the opening. Shrubb, who began his duties in Worthington in 2008, is one of three finalists for the position.

"Johnson County Community College is a place I've had my eye on for a while now," Shrubb said. "Including customizing training, it has 44,000 students, so it's very large and very prestigious. It's in the Kansas portion of Kansas City, so it's on the western outskirts of Kansas City."

Shrubb joins Edward Raspiller, president of Blinn College's Brazos County campuses in Texas, and Joseph Sopcich, executive vice president/chief financial officer of JCCC, as finalists for the college, which is located in Overland Park, Kan.

"The thing that attracts me to Johnson County Community College is its extended abilities to do very good things," Shrubb said. "With all those students and all the prestige that Johnson County Community College carries, I feel like I could do very good things at a time where my presidential skills are very high.

"I've always made it a point to seek continuing education on my own, and I feel like I could apply that at a place that has tremendous reach and tremendous ability to do good things."

JCCC president Terry Calaway announced his retirement in October 2012 and will leave the college Aug. 1. The position was posted in January, and the three finalists were named April 2.

"They have been efficient and aggressive at Johnson County," Shrubb said. "I would imagine they will make a decision quickly. I think I would know within a month."

Raspiller interviewed on campus on April 8-9, while Sopcich was on campus April 15-16.

Shrubb has his visit Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I'm just very attracted to the clout and the prestige of Johnson County Community College and the size and scope of the things they can do," Shrubb said. "With all that combined, I knew I had to apply."

Since learning about JCCC, Shrubb talked with his wife, Julie, about this possibility.

"I have been joking with Julie that if ever a chance came up to apply there, I would," he said. "When it really happened, it was a surprise for me. When I found out they were searching for a new president, even though all that time I had been joking, when it really happened, I still had a couple weeks of pause.

"I had no intention of leaving Minnesota West -- it just wasn't on my radar," Shrubb added. "When this popped up, Julie and I talked and we said, 'I don't know how I could not apply for it.' Ultimately you get to a point where you say, 'This is the thing I've been talking about doing -- how could I not do it now?"'

Shrubb's visit will include a tour, meetings with students, the search committee, staff and the board of trustees.

"It's the only place I've ever applied (while at Minnesota West)," Shrubb said. "I've been watching it for a long time, and I have no intention of applying any place else. This will be the one application I submit."

Despite being a finalist for another position, Shrubb emphasized there is nothing at MW forcing him out.

"Minnesota West is in great shape; I'm not leaving anything," he said. "I just see Johnson County Community College as having a large scope that I could use to help people in a way that's more commissural with my abilities right now. I'm not leaving the college because it's bad.

"The finances are great and the people at the college are great," Shrubb continued. "The MnSCU system has been very supportive of Minnesota West, so there's nothing there I'm leaving."

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.