Presidential finalist greets public

Feb. 21, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

A key to being a successful leader is listening to others, putting some ideas in place brought to the attention of the leader and move forward from there, said Dr Mark Kinlaw.

He is the fourth finalist to be interviewed for the presidency at Isothermal Community College. Two others follow next week on Monday and Wednesday which will complete the six finalists interviews.

Kinlaw, no relation to former Rutherford County Schools superintendent Dr. John Kinlaw, has 25 years experience with the North Carolina Community College System and is president of Instruction and Support Services at Robeson Community College.

Kinlaw said if he is Isothermal’s next president he will bring the staff together as a team and listen to ideas that will be in the best interest of the students.

“Business is very complex when you are dealing with people,” he said before the 40 people attending the Meet and Greet event at Isothermal.

“If you want to be successful you have to have a relationship with the public and the industries,” Kinlaw said of the partnerships between community colleges and economic development.

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Robeson County is the poorest county in the state and like Rutherford, the county has suffered with the demise of the manufacturing plants, Kinlaw said.

“We are struggling with a lot of issues . . .but there are good people in Robeson County who will work with students and help with their success,” he said.

“You need to know what the business and industry needs are. That is what has helped us.”

In his role at RCC, Kinlaw said he has gone into the community and established good relationships with the businesses. 

“Community colleges can provide excellent training for companies and industries,” he said.

Kinlaw said a leader must learn how to lead and listen.

He said for an institution to be successful, good people must be in the job positions. 

“You empower them to do their jobs and turn them loose and let them do their jobs well. 

“You must be a part of the team,” Kinlaw said.

When asked from an Isothermal instructor what he would do in an emergency situation regarding a facilities problem, Kinlaw explained he would talk with those overseeing the operations, find out if they are doing their jobs and make sure they are proactive in making daily checks of the systems.

“Make sure the folks know what they are doing in maintaining the faciities. . .This is taxpayer money,” he said.  

When asked about restructuring the staff, he said he would work to do what is best for the students and would work with the Board of Trustees, depending on the magnitude of the job.

Kinlaw said Isothermal Community College has a reputation of being a learning college, which is one of the reasons he is interested in the presidency. 

Robeson County is very diverse, Kinlaw said. “But diversity of thought can do great things . . .that is part of who I am.”

Kinlaw came to work at RCC in 1988 as the director of Planning and Research. Since then, he has directed the college’s Title III Technology Grant, served as chair of the Early Childhood/Social Sciences Department and taught history and education courses. Kinlaw started his career as a teacher and coach in Robeson County Public Schools. He earned his doctorate in Adult and Community College Education at North Carolina State University; a M.A. in Administration and Supervision at UNC-Pembroke; and a B.A. in History at Wake Forest University. He lives in Lumberton.