CNC officially has a new President and CEO.
Cindy Heitman was sworn into the role at the college’s most recent board meeting yesterday (Friday).
She is the first woman to ever hold the position in the College’s history.
“I was surprised to learn I was the first female, knowing the college is over 50 years old,” she told Vista Radio in an interview. “I think we are in a time where your gender shouldn’t be something that is noticed, unfortunately, it still is – especially when moving into positions like this one.”
“It is sad in some aspects that after 50 years I am the first one, but I plan to take that challenge and not only be the first female president of CNC, but also be one of the best.”
“Cindy brings such a special combination of experiences, education, community support, and passion to CNC and particularly the students we serve,” said Shobha Sharma, chair of CNC’s board. “We look forward to her leading wonderful opportunities in support of CNC’s vision of learning together, changing lives, and creating futures.”
“I have been so welcomed, the transition that this college has offered me has been so great,” Heitman said. “I think CNC has incredible potential… It is a large post-secondary that serves a vast community. I see so much potential to expand to meet the needs of people who want to live in the north, be in the north, and stay in the north.”
“If we can educate people in the north, they will stay in the north. I am a perfect example,” she continued, saying she was raised in Prince George and studied at CNC herself.
She has a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration from Simon Fraser University.
According to CNC, there were three main search priorities when looking for a new President:
• Advancing CNC’s priorities in the lhulh whuts’odutel’eh | Learning Together strategic plan including learning across a lifetime, student success focused education and training, organizational strength and agility, and community engagement and partnerships;
• Expanding on CNC’s commitment to truth and reconciliation with a focus on Indigenizing the college and inspiring the next generation of Indigenous leaders; and
• Building partnerships and potential across the region served by CNC, which includes campuses in Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Mackenzie, Prince George, Quesnel and Vanderhoof.
Prior to being named CNC’s President and CEO, Heitman had worked within School District 57 for nearly 3 decades – most recently as the Superintendent.
The vote was not unanimous, and saw two trustees resign within days of the decision – which triggered a by-election.
This was Heitman’s first media availability since her controversial termination from the district, she declined to comment on any questions related to her old employer or the culture within SD57.
Heitman will be taking Dr. Dennis Johnson’s place as President and CEO, he announced his retirement earlier in the year.
“The past four years have been exciting as CNC embarked on new initiatives to improve student achievement and bring new approaches and practices to the College,” said Dr.
Johnson. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to have led the College and confident that Cindy, CNC’s leadership team, and the entire College community will make great things happen for students in the years to come.”