Four Finalists Selected in Quest for New ESCC President


By Linda CicoiraFour finalists from among 92 applicants were named Wednesday by the State Board of Community Colleges in its quest to find a new president for the Eastern Shore Community College (ESCC).

The state board listed them alphabetically as David E. Bowles, of Hampton Roads, Richard B. Pagan, of Daniels, WVa., James Shaeffer, of Norfolk, Va., and Mellissia M. Zanjani, of Burlington Township, N.J.

“The Eastern Shore Community College presidency is attracting a diverse and dynamic collection of talented leaders from across the country,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s community colleges. “The college’s unique mixture of opportunities and challenges attracts innovative and creative leaders, excited about the chance to create the model 21st century rural community college, and that’s really promising for the entire Eastern Shore.”

Bowles, earns his bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees from Virginia Tech. For the last five years, he has been director of the NASA Langley Research Center, where he began in 1980 as a researcher. He has risen through the ranks there, serving as a project manager, deputy director, and associate director.

At NASA, an announcement stated, Bowles fostering of the agency’s workforce, updating its physical facilities, creating innovative programs, and collaborated with external partners, including Virginia’s community colleges, for academic programs and economic development efforts. He was given the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service in 2017 and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2005 and 2015. Bowles is a member of the Virginia Governor’s Aerospace Advisory Council and the Virginia General Assembly Joint Commission on Technology and Science 2017 Committee charged with creating a “Blueprint for Growth of the Virginia Aviation and Aerospace Industry.”

Pagan, who retired from the U.S. Air Force, has more than 20 years of higher education leadership. In 1997, he began at Fairmont State University and its sister institution, Pierpont Community & Technical College, both in Fairmont, WVa., as a professor and program coordinator. In 2011, he went to Guilford Technical Community College, in Jamestown, N.C., to serve as Dean of the Transportation Technologies Division. Three years later, Pagan became the senior vice president and campus director of the National Aviation Academy in Bedford, Mass. In 2016, he was named vice president for Academic Affairs at New River Community and Technical College in Beaver, WVa., where he currently works.

Pagan earned two associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force, in Alabama, a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va., a master’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in Daytona Beach, Fla., and a doctorate from West Virginia University.

Shaeffer has been in education for four decades beginning in 1979 as a middle school teacher in the Kansas City School District. From 1984 to 1992, he worked at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. In 1992, he became an assistant professor and director of the School for Extended Studies and Public Studies at the University of Wyoming. From 1996 to 2005, Shaeffer worked at the University of North Dakota, rising from an associate dean to an associate vice president. He moved to James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Va., in 2005 where he was an associate vice provost and an associate professor. He became the founding dean of the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Old Dominion University in 2014, the position he currently holds. Shaeffer earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, a master’s degree from Kansas State University, and a doctorate from Northwestern University, in Illinois.

Zanjani has nearly 30 years of higher education, nonprofit, and fundraising experience. She is also a 2010 Fellow of the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership. In 1991, Zanjani began working at Towson University, in Md., as a student advisor and director of the African-American Cultural Center Program. She joined the American Lung Association of New Jersey in 1993 as the northern regional program director. In 1998, she became the director of development and alumni relations for Harford Community College in Bel Air, Md.

Zanjani moved to Tacoma Community College, in Washington, in 2003, to become vice president for Institutional Advancement and a foundation executive director. She held similar roles at Mercer County Community College in Trenton, N,J., in 2009; Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J., in 2013; and at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Pa., in 2016. She became the vice president for Institutional Advancement at Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania a year ago, the position she currently holds. Zanjani earned a bachelor’s degree from Chatham University, in Pittsburgh, Pa.; a master’s degree from Towson University; and a doctorate from Oregon State University.

The four seek to succeed Linda Thomas-Glover, the college’s fourth president, who retired in 2018, after serving for nine years. Billy Greer, who was president of Virginia Wesleyan, in Virginia Beach, Va., has served as ESCC’s interim president since January 2018.

Forums will be offered at 2:30 p.m. in Room C111 Lecture Hall in the Main Academic Building on campus for each candidate. The schedule is Monday, April 29, for Zanjan; Tuesday, April 30, for Pagan; Tuesday, May 7, for Bowles; and Wednesday, May 8, for  Shaeffer.

Bio and resume information will be posted at in the days leading up to the respective candidate’s appearance. To participate in the online surveys, visit after each forum.  For those unable to attend, video recordings of each forum will be available online at the completion of all four candidate forums.

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