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‘A vision for the future’

Kinney accepts Iowa Western president job

Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs was looking for someone to take the school to a new level when it searched for its next college president over the last five months.

After receiving 77 applications and narrowing the search down to three candidates, the Iowa Western Board of Trustees has named Iowa Central Community College President Dan Kinney as its next college president.

Kinney “checked all the boxes” for the Iowa Western president search committee, according to Brent Siegrist, president of the Iowa Western Board of Trustees.

“It’s a multitude of things, and experience is very key amongst them,” Siegrist said. “Obviously, with 11 years at Iowa Central, he’s proven himself to be a very good president.”

Iowa Western has only had three presidents in its 54-year history and the president search committee was looking for someone with “a vision for the future” and who could take the college on a different level, Siegrist said.

“We felt (Kinney’s) vision and the changes that he will ultimately make fit our vision for the college to move ahead and become an even stronger force in southwest Iowa,” he said.

Kinney, who has been president at Iowa Central since 2009, had been named a finalist for the position at Iowa Western several weeks ago and accepted the job this week.

“This has been probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make,” he told The Messenger on Thursday. “I’m at a great institution — Iowa Central Community College is an amazing institution, and Iowa Western is an amazing institution. The final decision really came back to being with family.”

With this move, Kinney will be in the same area as his parents and their family will be a few hours closer to his wife’s parents. Kinney’s youngest daughter, Rylee, is a freshman at Iowa Western.

Kinney is the son of current Iowa Western President Dan Kinney Sr., who is set to retire at the end of 2020. Siegrist said the senior Kinney has done a “phenomenal job” at the helm for the past 25 years, but “change is good” and the junior Kinney will be a good change for the institution.

“He’s a new generation in terms of educational leaders and how he looks at improving our college,” Siegrist said.

The junior Kinney said he’s looking forward to the new challenges that taking a new job at Iowa Western will bring.

“A lot of people kind of compare my father and I, but we are two way different people,” he said. “My leadership style is a lot different. I think the strengths that I can bring to the position are really different. I’m excited for the opportunity to go over there and take Iowa Western to the next level.”

Kinney said he is thankful for the 11 years he’s had at Iowa Central and for the board of trustees for giving him a chance back when they hired him.

“I think I’m leaving this college a little bit better than when I got here,” he said.

The next step for the Iowa Central Board of Trustees will be finding a replacement for Kinney.

“We’re just very grateful for Dan,” said Mark Crimmins, president of the Iowa Central Board of Trustees.

Crimmins said the Iowa Central board will have a Zoom meeting on Monday to discuss how to conduct the search for Kinney’s replacement. Until a replacement is named, the college’s vice presidents will run Iowa Central, Crimmins said. Angie Martin, vice president for finance and operations, will act as the liaison between the board of trustees and the vice presidents.

Kinney said he is still coordinating with the Iowa Central and Iowa Western boards of trustees to determine when he is officially done at Iowa Central and will start at Iowa Western, but anticipates it to be shortly after the first of the year.

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