Board rewards president’s efforts with longer contract

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Kilgore College trustees unanimously voted Monday night to keep president Dr. Brenda Kays on staff for another five years.

The meeting agenda called for a discussion of Kays' contract as an issue to be covered in closed session. When the board returned after just over half an hour in executive session, their decision was not only to maintain Kays' position but also to make her contract unusually long.

“Because we're very happy with the job Dr. Kays is doing, we want to show our support by lengthening her contract and so I move that we approve a new extended contract for Dr. Kays with a term length through 2023. It would be a rolling five-year contract,” said Karol Pruett, board trustee and chair of the policy and personnel committee.

Larry Woodfin, board chair, called for a second which was given by trustee Scott Andrews. The board voted unanimously to accept the motion.

“Dr. Kays, I want to let you know that, speaking on behalf of the whole board, we are very pleased and happy to offer you this five-year contract,” Woodfin said.

“I'm very privileged,” Kays replied. The board and audience delivered a round of applause.

Kays original contract, signed in 2016, was set to expire on August 31. This contract will be an extension of the original terms, including Kays' $200,000 salary and $10,000 allowance for travel expenses.

Dr. Kays has been the president of KC since January 2016 when long-serving president Bill Holda retired. During her time at the college, Kays has overseen numerous changes, including the elimination of low-enrollment programs, investment in student services and the launch of a “green” campus renovation in partnership with the McKinstry corporation.

Kays played a significant role in shaping and directing the college's budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which was also accepted at the Monday meeting.

The president also helped design a signature strategic plan for KC, which included extra funding to be invested in student success initiatives. The latest portion of this plan, introduced at Monday's meeting, is the creation of personal and virtual English composition tutoring stations on campus, the first of which is located in the Randolph C. Watson library. These new tutoring stations are intended to complement a re-designed English composition curriculum with the goal of improving student mastery and grades in core curriculum English courses.

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