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Dr. John Gossett

The Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) Board of Trustees has announced three finalists in its search for the college’s seventh president and one of them is McDowell Technical Community College President John Gossett.

The new president will succeed Dennis King, who retired on Jan. 31. The college’s interim president is Joe Barwick, formerly president of Carteret Community College and vice president of Academic and Student Services at Southwestern Community College.

Gossett was named MTCC president in 2016, taking over for Bryan Wilson, who retired after a long career at the college.

The other finalists for the A-B Tech job are Gregory Little, superintendent of Lexington County School District I in Lexington, S.C.; and Beth Pitonzo, senior vice president for Instruction and Student Support services at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, NC.

Board Chair John Parham Jr. said the board received more than 70 applications for the position. Background checks and telephone interviews with the candidates were then conducted with semi-finalists, whose names were not made public. The board chose the three finalists during a special closed session on Jan. 27 and, because of confidentiality requirements, withheld an announcement until its regularly scheduled meeting, according to a news release.

The Board of Trustees has processes in place to solicit input on each candidate, including a full day of public forums and interviews with each candidate this month. The dates and locations are:

• Gregory Little:

o Tuesday, Feb. 11: 9 – 10 a.m. Coffee with the Candidate at A-B Tech Madison

o Tuesday, Feb. 11: 1-2 p.m. Candidate Forum at A-B Tech Asheville, the Brumit Center for Culinary Arts, Tillman Dining Room

• Beth Pitonzo

o Tuesday, Feb. 18: 9- 10 a.m. Coffee with the Candidate at A-B Tech Madison

o Tuesday, Feb. 18: 1-2 p.m. Candidate Forum at A-B Tech Asheville, in the Brumit Center for Culinary Arts, Tillman Dining Room

• John Gossett

o Tuesday, Feb. 25: 9 – 10 a.m. Coffee with the Candidate at A-B Tech Madison

o Tuesday, Feb. 25: 1– 2 p.m. Candidate Forum at A-B Tech Asheville, in Ferguson Auditorium

“We welcome and appreciate positive input to the selection process and strongly encourage the public and A-B Tech employees to attend the forums,” Parham said. “We believe that with both community and campus-wide collaboration, A-B Tech will be able to find the most qualified candidate.”

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