Concord, NH – Matthew Wood, a community college administrator and faculty member known for building college enrollment through innovative approaches to postsecondary education, has been appointed interim president of White Mountains Community College (Berlin, NH). Wood was recommended by Community College System Chancellor Ross Gittell and confirmed Wednesday by the board of trustees.
Since 2001, Wood has been a faculty member and then senior administrator at NHTI, Concord’s Community College, teaching math and physics before becoming department head, associate vice president of academic affairs, and associate vice president of non-traditional learning formats. At NHTI, Wood was responsible for learning opportunities that included day and evening, online, workplace training, 8-week, summer, and Running Start courses. Under his leadership, enrollment in online learning increased 36%. He was deeply engaged in college governance, representing faculty on the college leadership team and serving as president of the Faculty Forum. He also chairs the Community College System STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) committee and administers the Carl Perkins grant program for career and technical education.
“Matt is highly respected and valued by those with whom he has worked across the community college system,” said Chancellor Gittell. “I am very impressed with his creative and collaborative approach, his focus on innovation and on meeting students’ needs, and his ability to apply best practices in education and management.” Chancellor Gittell said he looks forward to working closely with Wood on operational strategies to strengthen the system’s rural campuses.
Addressing the educational needs of NH’s rural communities is a high priority for CCSNH. Wood has a special affinity for northern New Hampshire and a commitment to ensuring that WMCC thrives, meets the needs of students and strengthens the regional economy. “WMCC is an essential and highly valued resource in its region, and I am committed to working hard as interim president, with the team at WMCC, to position the college for a strong future,” said Wood. “I sought this position because I believe in WMCC, want to be a part of this region, and think I can make a difference. I look forward to applying my experience and skills to the challenges and opportunities before us.”
Paul Holloway, chairman of the CCSNH board of trustees which approved Matt Wood’s appointment, said WMCC will benefit from immediate and focused attention on areas such as course delivery and program structure, enrollment, outreach to high schools and work with other educational and industry partners. “Matt’s experience in community college education, his knowledge of New Hampshire, his love of northern New Hampshire and his proven record of achievement delivering educational opportunities makes him an excellent choice for this position,” said Holloway.
Steve Ellis, a CCSNH trustee and resident of Pittsburg, NH, said that he believes Wood has the right skills and background to be a strong asset to the college and region in this interim leadership role. “WMCC has a strong and dedicated team working to ensure area residents have opportunities for economic advancement,” said Ellis. “Matt Wood possesses unique skills and background that will be instrumental in positioning the college to have a strong regional impact.” Ellis, who was appointed to the board of trustees in March of 2014, said he looks forward to working with Wood, who shares his passion for northern New Hampshire.
Wood will serve a two-year interim appointment. Chancellor Gittell said he believes WMCC is best served through the focused attention and leadership over the next two years from an individual with Wood’s background and knowledge of the system and State. Wood succeeds Kathy Eneguess, who will transition to another position within the community college system. Eneguess’s new role will be announced by CCSNH later this summer.
White Mountains Community College serves approximately 1,000 students annually from its main campus in Berlin, an academic center in Littleton, and through satellite and early college offerings in locations throughout the region. WMCC offers certificate and degree programs, dual enrollment programs with area high schools, workforce training and the WorkReadyNH program to prepare area residents with postsecondary education and career skills. The college was recently ranked in the top 5 community colleges nationally on measures related to access, affordability and student success.
The Community College System of NH consists of seven colleges, offering associate degree and certificate programs, professional training, transfer pathways to four-year degrees, and dual-credit partnerships with NH high schools. The System’s colleges are Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth and Rochester; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI – Concord’s Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont and Keene; and White Mountains Community College in Berlin and Littleton. Each college is accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges-Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
Matthew Wood - Bio
Matthew Wood earned a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in environmental conservation from the University of New Hampshire. He then went on to study at the University of Colorado earning a master’s degree in environmental science with a concentration in atmospheric science. After working as a research scientist for the Center for Environmental Sciences in Denver and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Matt returned to his home state to pursue a career in air pollution control with the NH Department of Environmental Services. Matt founded and continues to maintain an ownership interest in NH Environmental Consultants, an environmental consulting firm that services municipalities and homeowners across the state of New Hampshire.
Inspired to educate, Matt began his teaching career at the New Hampton School, a private independent boarding school where he taught physics, coached basketball and golf, and discovered his love for teaching. Matt went on to become a professor of physics and mathematics at NHTI, Concord’s Community College. After just one year, he was elected by his peers to serve as Department Head; a position he held for ten years. Committed to student-centered initiatives, he participated in the establishment of the online mathematics curriculum, serving students who could not travel to campus due to work and family commitments.
In 2009, Matt was elected as the faculty representative to the Institute Leadership Team. The following year, along with several faculty members, he helped reestablish the NHTI Faculty Forum, of which he was elected president and served for a two-year term. In the fall of 2012, he was appointed NHTI’s Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, responsible for all non-traditional learning formats, including online, 8-week, summer, night, Running Start, and workplace training courses. Online learning has increased 36% at NHTI under Matt’s leadership. He is a past recipient of the NHTI Positive Influence Award, and was awarded the Chancellor’s Grant for Innovation in 2013 to develop a flexible hybrid learning approach to developmental math courses. Matt was recently accepted into the doctorate of education program at New England College.
Believing that all students should have a chance to go to college, regardless of their economic background, Matt is driven to make access to higher education a reality. He understands that the community colleges are positioned perfectly to be the bridge for many students graduating from New Hampshire high schools and is interested in providing access to learning “anytime, anywhere.” He wants to create and provide affordable opportunities for students of all ages to engage in active learning experiences both in and outside of traditional classrooms, allowing the pursuit of higher education while successfully balancing family and work commitments.
Matt was born and raised in Meredith, NH and attended local public schools in the Inter-Lakes School District, where he was a three-sport athlete and still holds the school record in the 4x100m relay. He also attended the Advanced Studies Program majoring in advanced physics at St. Paul’s School. Matt is the third generational owner of a family farm in Meredith. Along with his wife Heather, he splits his time between there and his North Country home in Pittsburg, NH. “I didn’t find the North County, the North Country found me,” he says. Matt’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, and playing basketball. He attributes his love of the outdoors to his father, his values to his mother and his appreciation for the state of New Hampshire to his grandfather, former State Senator Carl Johnson of Meredith.