Polk State College's District Board of Trustees elected a new chairman and vice-chairman during its annual reorganization meeting Monday, which was also President Angela Garcia Falconetti’s first Board meeting. Mark Turner, who previously served as vice-chairman, is now chairman and Dan Dorrell is now vice-chairman. Turner replaces Greg Littleton, who still serves on the Board. Other members of the Board are Cindy Hartley Ross and Teresa Martinez.
Members of the Board, like those of Florida’s other state colleges, are governor-appointed and vested with decision-making power in matters of College policy, programs, facilities, budget and personnel – including overseeing the president.
The Board hired Dr. Falconetti in May and her first day of service was July 17.
She thanked the trustees Monday for selecting her as the College’s fifth president.
“It is your governance and advocacy that allows us as faculty and staff to provide the higher education our students need,” Dr. Falconetti said. “What an honor it is for me to serve the students, employees, and Polk County community with you. I hope to stay for a very long time and anticipate your support…so that I can most effectively support our students and staff.”
Dr. Falconetti also acknowledged former Polk State College President Eileen Holden for her stellar leadership and 12 years of service.
Looking toward the future, Falconetti announced the College’s 2018 legislative priorities, as critical to enhancing student services, facilities, and success. This year’s priorities include $16.2 million in funding to complete renovations to Building 4, a critical academic and workforce facility on the Winter Haven campus, and $2 million in recurring operating support to enhance advising for students.
Turner said the Board is delighted Dr. Falconetti is serving as Polk State’s fifth President.
“We… pledge our support to you to do whatever we can for this college to continue its success and impact in this community,” Turner said in his first comments as the newly elected chairman.
Turner was appointed to the Board in 2011 and has served as the chairman before.
He’s a Winter Haven native and a lawyer. He’s also a past president of the Polk State College Foundation and Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m honored and look forward to chairing this fine group,” he said.
Dorrell was also appointed to the Board in 2011. He’s a certified public accountant and president of Florida Brokers, LLC, a business brokerage firm.
He joked that he’s only following in Turner’s footsteps.
But Dorrell served as chairman of the District Board of Trustees in 2014-15, when the College was celebrating its 50th anniversary. He was a member of Polk State’s first graduating class that enrolled when the College opened its doors in fall 1964.
The trustees serve four-year terms and without compensation.
The Board meets on the fourth Monday of each month at different Polk State campuses.
“I’m excited about our new leadership and where we’re heading,” Turner said.
Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools. Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.