Pierce College Puyallup president picked to lead EvCC for now

Everett Community College’s board chose Darrell Cain as its interim president.

Darrell Cain

Darrell Cain

EVERETT — Darrell Cain is the top choice for interim president by the Everett Community College Board of Trustees.

On Tuesday, the board unanimously voted to hire him to lead over 18,000 students and about 300 employees at the college.

Cain is president of Pierce College Puyallup, a wing of the Pierce College system with about 7,000 students.

According to his Pierce College bio, Cain was a first-generation college student and earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington, a master’s degree from Ball State University and a doctorate in education leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech University.

“He’s a product of community college,” Trustee Betty Cobb said. “Just listening to him tell his story of getting started in a system that he wasn’t sure would work for him. Certainly it did work for him.”

There were two finalists out of 32 applicants, trustee Bob Bolerjack said. But Cain stood out to him.

“He’s just a very innovative, sharp leader,” Bolerjack said.

Cain tries to teach one course per quarter to stay grounded in the college’s work, trustee Kelly Shepherd said.

In December, the board appointed Joseph Whalen as acting president after Daria Willis left to be president of Howard Community College in Maryland.

At the board meeting, employee union representatives said their members have low morale, worry about health risks from in-person work as COVID-19 cases surge and are “overworked and exhausted” after layoffs over a year ago.

“Some consistency, even if it’s interim consistency, feels really good and important,” said Mike Nevins, faculty senate representative.

The board plans to conduct a longer, “very open, transparent” hiring process for the president’s position, Bolerjack said.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

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