There has been great anticipation in regards as to who would take over as president of Frederick Community College after the school’s current president, Elizabeth Burmaster, announced earlier this year that she will retire in July. The FCC Board of Trustees recently announced that Thomas Powell will take over as interim president for the college beginning in August.
Dr. Powell will serve as president of FCC for one year while the college conducts a national search for its next president, who will begin in that role in July 2022. Powell said in a statement he is honored to be appointed to serve as interim president.
Dr. Powell comes to the college with very strong credentials and is well known in the Frederick area. Powell earned his doctorate in special education from the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, and has served as president and dean of several colleges in West Virginia, South Carolina and Montana, according to a news release announcing the move. He currently serves as president of St. John’s Catholic Prep (2015 – present). He also previously served as president of Mount St. Mary’s University for over a decade (2003 – 2015). Powell announced in January that he would leave SJCP at the end of the school year.
In his spare time, Dr. Powell dedicates his time and attention to working with children who have intellectual disabilities and their families. Powell has spent most of his early career developing school and community-based programs for children with disabilities as well as employment programs for adults with intellectual disabilities. He has an adult-aged son who has an intellectual disability and lives independently. Powell is also the adoptive parent of four children, ages from East Timor, a small island near Indonesia.
The appointment of Dr. Thomas Powell who is an experienced president emeritus, as interim will keep a secure structure at Frederick Community College as the school begins their search for the next president. FCC will continue to operate in virtual, hybrid and in-person instruction. The goal is to slowly increase the number of in-person classes offered and integrate the students into the hybrid format. This format allows students to come to class in smaller groups to maintain social distancing requirements but give them that hands on assistance and experience that they have been missing during this tragic pandemic.