As James Ball takes the helm of Carroll Community College, he plans to ensure each student is prepared for the future when they finish their last class on campus.
"We're trying not to let anybody fly below our radar," he said. "We need to be able to transform every student into an effective learner."
Ball will assume the presidency July 1 and has crafted a number of goals, which include increasing student and community outreach and bolstering technology to help students better plan for the future.
As a veteran of the college, Ball knows the inner-workings of the school and is well-poised to take over as president, Faye Pappalardo, the college's current president, said. Fifteen years ago, she hired him as the college's vice president of academic and student affairs and dean of faculty, a position where he excelled.
He has more than 30 years of experience in a community college setting, including many as a senior-level executive. Before joining Carroll, he worked as Howard Community College's vice president of student services among other high-ranking positions and at Galveston College in Texas.
"He has great integrity," Pappalardo said. "He's very honest. He's very caring. He has all of those qualifications that are necessary to be a good president."
Ball has been instrumental in moving the college forward in its assessments, which show if students are meeting their goals, she said. He will be the third president in the school's history, and it's a choice that's made with great consideration, according to Pappalardo.
The Carroll Community College Board of Trustees convened a committee to interview Ball, who was the one internal candidate for the position. It declined to do an external search.
The committee recommended Ball, and the Board of Trustees - which has the final word - approved.
"I think very highly of him, extremely highly of him," Pappalardo said, "and I think the board has made a wonderful decision."
During his time as vice president of academic and student affairs and dean of faculty, he was involved in helping provide leadership and management to a variety of areas. These included curriculum and faculty development, adding new programs and services, and expanding the college's outreach, according to Ball.
Looking toward the future, Ball said he and the college's staff are planning to create the infrastructure and organizational structure to better focus on each student that walks through the college's doors.
"We want to be very focused on each individual in the college," he said.
On the non-credit side, Ball said it's important to continue to reach the business community to provide professional development and training opportunities.
And he's ready to lead a college that he called "really a special place, a special working culture."
"I'm just thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead what I think is an exceptional institution," he said. "It's just a pleasure to be able to take the helm with a group of employees that are so dedicated."