GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College will welcome its sixth president – Dr. Ken Trzaska – to campus this fall.
The L&C Board of Trustees unanimously approved the contract for the new president at a special meeting Wednesday, June 3, via Zoom.
“The presidential search process has been a semester-long team effort to find the right fit,” said L&C Board Chair David Heyen. “We believe Dr. Trzaska is the team-oriented leader Lewis and Clark needs to move forward.”
L&C worked with The Pauly Group and a Presidential Search Committee composed of faculty, staff and community members to review applicants. Students, faculty, staff and community members had multiple opportunities this spring to share their priorities for a new president and got the chance to meet and provide feedback on the three finalists, including Trzaska, via a series of Zoom meetings in May.
Trzaska will start his new role Sept. 21.
“Lewis and Clark has a strong history of serving students and community at the highest levels. This is important to me,” Trzaska said. “I notice that the realities before us today require a new level of readiness and creativity for educational change and in how we embrace the ideas of educational accessibility and functionality for everyone. Community colleges are essential to this focus and charge.”
Trzaska comes to Lewis and Clark from Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas, where he has served as president since 2015.
His legacy there includes the development of a progressive and inclusive strategic plan called Moving Seward Forward, which utilizes interdepartmental “mover teams” to promote team-driven strategic advancement for the college; a $6 million capital campaign that funded two new facilities on campus and other strategic campus projects; and the introduction of innovative student access models such as Blendflex courses, which aim at reducing barriers that interfere with attaining an education.
Trzaska also currently serves as president of the Community College Council of Presidents and co-chair of the System Council of Presidents.
For more than 23 years, he has served in executive leadership and faculty roles at small, medium and large colleges and universities in urban, suburban and rural communities.
Trzaska began his career in the corporate world in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and began teaching English and working at a writing center at a community college in suburban Chicago. He occasionally speaks at colleges and organizations nationally and has published op-eds on community colleges in the Washington Post and The Hechinger Report.
In 2019, Trzaska was recognized as a Man of Distinction and in April 2020 as Liberal Area Coalition for Families’ Community Champion in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield. An Eagle Scout, he received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 2018 for inclusive leadership and support of the local council. Other awards include Michigan’s annual Governor’s Connect award in 2014 for his work as co-founder of an Entrepreneurial Center for Innovation and Development.
Trzaska earned a Doctor of Education in Education Policy and Organization Leadership from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His master’s degree is in English from the College of St. Rose, and he earned an Institute for Educational Management (IEM) Certification from Harvard University’s College of Education and Harvard Program for College Presidents. He also has a Bachelor of Science in English from the State University of New York College at Brockport.
His initial contract will begin on his start date and run through June 30, 2024. It includes an annual salary of $205,000, in addition to a compensation package which includes paid leave, an 8.5 percent contribution to the State University Retirement System (SURS), employee and family health and dental insurance benefits, long-term disability and term life insurance.
Trzaska is the successor to Dr. Dale Chapman, who served as the college’s fifth president from 1992-2020.
“As your next president, I am excited to be part of the next chapter in the story of Lewis and Clark, to promote and lead the balance of service to students, community, and our internal campus team in purposeful, inspiring and bold ways,” Trzaska said.