In a five to four vote, inside a conference room with standing room only, Gulf Coast State College chooses a new leader earlier Thursday morning.
The Gulf Coast State College District Board of Trustees search committee voted earlier this morning and in a close decision, named Dr. John Holdnak to be the college's next president.
Holdnak currently serves as the Executive Vice Chancellor of the Florida College system and previously worked for Gulf Coast in many different positions for more than 20 years.
Board of Trustees Member, Jim McKnight, says it wasn't an easy decision because every candidate had a lot to offer. Ultimately though, he says it was Holdnak's knowledge of the college system, his roots in the Panhandle, and previous employment with Gulf Coast that earned him his vote.
"Dr. Holdnak, there's no learning curve, he goes to work the day he starts," said McKnight.
Current president Dr. Jim Kerley will retire at the end of July.
The Gulf Coast State College District Board of Trustees met today to discuss the final five presidential candidates. At the end of the discussion, they unanimously voted to make an offer to Dr. John R. Holdnak, the current Executive Vice Chancellor of the Florida College System.
Holdnak worked for Gulf Coast State College from 1982 to 2008 in numerous positions, including Adjunct Professor, Coordinator of Campus Activities/Student Activities Specialist, Director of Wellness and Athletics, Director of Human Resources/Coordinator of Personnel and as the Vice President/Dean of Administrative Services.
Holdnak earned a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida, a Master of Science in Applied Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Leisure Services from Florida State University and an associate degree from Pensacola Junior College.