RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A familiar face is taking over as head of North Carolina's community college system. The system's board selected Dr. William Carver as interim president Wednesday.
He replaces Thomas Stith III who resigned, effective Friday.
Wake Tech president Scott Ralls, a former president of the state's community college system himself, knows Carver and applauds the board's decision.
"We kind of grew up in the community college system," he said. "I think Bill's one of the most innovative presidents that I know, and he's very committed to the purpose, the mission of community colleges, helping people through community colleges. So Bill's a wonderful guy."
Carver has served as the system's interim president before. He's returning as the leader at a time when the community college system is experiencing high turnover and low morale.
"We still have to address all those challenges, and the most important challenge is the low pay for community college," Ralls said. "That's going to take a long time to get through that. That didn't happen in the last two years and it won't be solved in two years."
Stith is stepping down after just 18 months on the job. He was criticized for the high turnover rate and his managerial style
His resignation letter reads:
"It has been an honor to lead the NC Community College System alongside well-respected college presidents, professionals, dedicated educators, and inspirational students. While navigating the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 crisis with careful stewardship, authentic collaboration, and unshakeable faith, I am thrilled that our community college system enhanced its offerings, making students more competitive for the workforce, entrepreneurship, and transfer to 4-year institutions. That was my job to do and my commitment to our state.
"Thanks to the innovative corporate partnerships and commitment from our state's elected leadership, the NCCCS is now poised to be even more accessible for adult learners, as well as a premier option for high school graduates
"I pray the NC Community College Board will embrace a vision for our system that will meet the needs of our fast growing and richly diverse state."
Carver's online bio says he spent much of his career before his first term as interim system president at Nash Community College in a variety of roles, including as that of school president.
He's a Durham native who earned degrees from North Carolina State University, Campbell University and Nova Southeastern University.