A series of leadership changes will unfold in the Maine Community College System this summer after the departure of Ron Cantor from the presidency of Southern Maine Community College.

Cantor is stepping down after seven years at the helm of the college to focus on “strategic initiatives at the system level,” Helen Pelletier, director of public affairs for Maine’s community colleges, said in a prepared statement. He will leave the post at the end of July.

At the recommendation of the college system trustees, system President Derek Langhauser has decided to delay the official search for Cantor’s replacement.

Instead, Joseph Cassidy, current president of Washington County Community College, will serve a three-year term as president of SMCC. Taking Cassidy’s place is Susan Mingo, the dean of enrollment management and student services for Washington County Community College. Both begin their new jobs Aug. 1.

At the end of the three-year term, system leaders will decide whether to conduct a search for a new president.

Pelletier said the leadership changes this summer come as the system begins a three-year student-success initiative.

Since a traditional search for a new president could likely take a full year, they decided “to keep the momentum of this important work moving forward without disruption or delay” by appointing an interim president, she said.

Along with the student-success initiative, the system is also examining investments in workforce training. Pelletier said those two initiatives will be the focus of a larger three-year plan to ensure that the community colleges adapt to changing educational and employment needs of the state.

Jean Ginn Marvin, chair of the community college system’s board of trustees, thanked Cantor for his service. She credited him with the launch of SMCC’s midcoast campus in Brunswick, building community partnerships and helping SMCC through the re-accreditation process. The college has its main campus in South Portland.

“The board is grateful to Ron for his leadership of our largest college and his deep commitment to the students and businesses we serve,” she said in the statement.

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