Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher selected to become next chancellor of Texas’ third largest community college; has served at HCC since 1985
Right before the end of last year, on December 29th, a Special Meeting was called by the Houston Community College (HCC) Board of Trustees, where an agenda item to Consider Announcement of the Appointment of the Interim Chancellor as Permanent Chancellor and Authorize the Board Chair to Negotiate a Contract, was scheduled to be discussed in Closed Executive Session.
Upon the conclusion of the Closed Executive Session to discuss the item, which only lasted a little over 20 minutes, HCC Board Chair Dr. Cynthia Lenton-Gary called for a motion. After the item was properly moved and seconded, an electronic vote was taken, bringing the community college one step closer to officially ending its search for their next chancellor.
With a 6-0 unanimous vote of those in attendance, the elected leadership of the HCC Board of Trustees voted to approve the appointment of Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher as the sole finalist and next chancellor of the third largest community college in Texas.
The meeting and the vote did not come without some noticeable optics at play.
To provide some context, Dr. Cynthia Lenton-Gary (District VII), HCC Board Chair; Charlene Ward Johnson (District II); Dave Wilson (District VI); Dr. Pretta VanDible Stallworth (District IX); and recently departed HCC Trustees, Dr. Reagan Flowers (District IV) and Robert Glaser (District V), all voted in favor of appointing Dr. Ford Fisher as the sole finalist.
Noticeably absent from that special called meeting and vote were all three of the Latina trustees:
- Monica Flores Richart (District I), Board Vice Chair
- Eva L. Loredo (District VIII), Secretary; and
- Adriana Tamez (District III)
It is no secret that the three Latina trustees were extremely upset and disappointed with the decision of the majority of the HCC Board of Trustees not to renew the contract of former HCC Chancellor Dr. Cesar Maldonado, whose nine-year employment ended after an extremely close and contentious 5-4 vote that led to the opposition of a new contract extension for him.
The absence of the three trustees also seemed to serve as a protest to the decision, especially considering that at a Special Meeting back on July 11th of last year, all nine of the HCC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Dr. Ford Fisher as the interim chancellor to replace Dr. Maldonado, while they did a search for a permanent chancellor.
Now, after officially taking on the role as interim chancellor on September 1st of last year, that interim tag is slated to be removed after the recent vote to name Dr. Ford Fisher as the sole finalist for the permanent chancellor position.
“Dr. Ford Fisher’s deep institutional knowledge, coupled with her forward-looking vision and nationally recognized leadership, makes her the ideal leader to navigate HCC towards a future rich in educational excellence and innovation,” HCC Board Chair Dr. Lenton-Gary exclaimed.
The decision to select Dr. Ford Fisher is a prudent one, in that she has tremendous institutional knowledge and the leadership pedigree to effectively serve in this important role.
“The governing board’s decision underscores Dr. Ford Fisher’s unique positioning as a visionary leader, deeply rooted in HCC’s culture and history, and ripely equipped to advance the college through fundamental changes occurring in our sector,” Board Chair Lenton-Gary continued.
Many in the community were extremely bothered by the decision by former chancellor Maldonado to remove Dr. Ford Fisher from her longstanding post as HCC Northeast College president and placed over a newly created online college.
Not wavering in her leadership acumen and commitment to HCC, this move served as a true testament of Dr. Ford Fisher’s leadership skills, as she totally shined in the new role.
As the founding president of HCC Online College, established in February 2018, Dr. Ford Fisher experienced tremendous success. Her success was marked by exceptional growth and modernization, earning HCC Online College the honor of being “One of America’s Best Online Colleges” by Newsweek for two consecutive years—2022 and 2023.
Under Dr. Ford Fisher’s leadership, the HCC Online College launched over 60 fully online degree programs and 70 hybrid courses, significantly enhancing educational accessibility, and registering an enrollment of more than 62,000 students.
Since joining HCC in 1985, Dr. Ford Fisher has dedicated nearly four decades to serving the institution in various capacities. She has served as Interim Vice Chancellor of Instruction, Associate Vice Chancellor of Academics, Dean of Instruction, Division Chair of Arts and Humanities, English Chair, and professor. She has also taught at Texas Southern University and the University of Houston.
As stated earlier, Dr. Ford Fisher served 20 years as HCC Northeast College president, where she led two successful capital campaigns and garnered community support for an HCC annexation initiative, resulting in greater educational services and in demand programs.
Dr. Ford Fisher holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a master’s degree in the Teaching of English from Wichita State University, and a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston.
Dr. Ford Fisher is looking forward to the opportunity to lead the institution into the future.
“I am deeply honored for the opportunity to lead HCC and thank the Board for the confidence it has placed in me,” said Dr. Ford Fisher. “I am committed to a vision of providing a real-world education and look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, and our extraordinary faculty and staff to foster a talent-strong Houston, enriching the lives of all of our students, while elevating our community.”
Because of state law, the HCC Board of Trustees must wait no less than 21 days from the day she was selected as the sole finalist before they can officially hire Dr. Ford Fisher, which means she can’t officially take on the role of chancellor until January 19th.
The next scheduled HCC Board of Trustees Regular Meeting is Wednesday, January 24, 2024, at 4pm in the 2nd Floor Auditorium of the HCC Administration Building, located at 3100 Main Street in Houston, Texas. That might be the day the Greater Houston area should be able to officially call her by her official new title: HCC Chancellor Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher.