INA – The Rend Lake College Board of Trustees have placed operations in capable hands with the appointments of Charley Holstein, Lisa Payne and Chris Kuberski.
Holstein is serving as Interim President while the Board weighs response to its nationwide recruitment of a permanent placement. He was hired as the college’s Vice President of Student Services in January and will continue to serve in that capacity while he is Interim President.
According to Holstein, his job as Interim President is to be a facilitator to faculty and staff while serving as a line of communication between the college and the Board during the presidential search process.
“I know the Board has a plan and an established timeline, and the position is currently being advertised until July 21,” Holstein said. “My understanding is the Board will take some time to review the applications, coordinate interviews, and ultimately select the best applicant to lead the college. This college abounds with highly experienced, hard working and dedicated professionals whose daily efforts are truly the reason RLC continues to enjoy such a great reputation.”
The 44-year-old retired Army officer outlined his to-do list which includes several projects toward major milestones for RLC. These include hosting representatives of the Illinois Community College Board, breaking ground on a new Coal Mining Training Center on campus, and a visit from the Higher Learning Commission which evaluates the college’s self-assessment and determines the level of accreditation RLC will receive.
“We have several exciting projects coming up in the near future,” he said.
He holds dual master’s degrees in management and human resources from Webster University in St. Louis and bachelor’s degree in pre-law and administration of justice from SIUC.
As Vice President of Student Services, Holstein oversees the Academic Counseling Center, Financial Aid Department, Student Records, Registrar, Learning Resource Center, Special Programs, Child Care Resource and Referral, Security, educational programming at Big Muddy River and Pinckneyville Correctional Centers, the on-campus childcare center and the MarketPlace Early Childhood Center in Mt. Vernon. He also handles student discipline and grievance procedures.
He draws from a well of experience in leadership. A graduate of the Army’s prestigious Command and General Staff College – and a first-in-class, distinguished military graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at SIUC – he has led troops in Alaska, South Korea, New Mexico and for two years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bronze Star recipient retired from the Army last year after more than 20 years of service and lives in Fairfield with his wife, Michelle, and their three children, Emily, Eric and Nathan.
Holstein said one of his objectives is to ensure the college stays on its current course.
“I see no reason to suggest making any major changes or begin any new initiatives in the near future. That should be for the new president to address when he or she arrives. Of course, I will keep the Board of Trustees informed and act on direction from them when provided.”
The Board chose to fill the vacant Vice President of Instruction position with two employees who combine a wealth of talent and ability to do the job. Splitting the VP of Instruction position into Vocational Instruction and Academic Instruction for the meantime will allow for Payne and Kuberski to use their expertise and experience in their new roles.
Payne has been with RLC for more than 23 years – more than five years as its Dean of Instruction. She will continue to serve as Dean of Instruction while in her new role as VP of Vocational Instruction. Her path at RLC up to now shows a natural progression to the recent appointment. She started as Coordinator of Community Services and has held titles like Coordinator of the Center for Business Services, Director of the RLC Small Business Development Center, and Associate Dean of Special Programs. From there, she was promoted to Dean of Special Programs before becoming Dean of Instruction in 2002.
“Lisa is one of the most experienced administrators in all facets of vocational training,” Holstein said. “She manages a majority of the vocational programs already for the college in her role as Dean of Instruction, and is the perfect fit to pick up the remaining vocational programs previously managed by the VP of Instruction, as well as perform many of the administrative and support functions of Instruction.”
As dean, she is responsible for the Community Education department, the RLC Center for Business Services, AmeriCorps, Perkins Grant, the Workforce Investment Act, Truck Driver Training, Technical Preparation for high school students, and the architecture, office systems technology, graphic design, business education, criminal justice, and surveying technology programs.
“I am so happy to be able to step in and help with the responsibilities of the Vice President of Instruction,” she said. “I feel that my background, education and experience have prepared me well for this.”
The 49-year-old Wayne City resident credited an “excellent faculty and staff” for aiding a smooth transition at RLC and “making the services and education RLC provides second to none.”
Kuberski is serving as Interim Vice President of Academic Instruction.
“I am humbled and excited about this appointment,” she said. “I am excited about this incredible opportunity to serve the institution and contribute to its continued growth and success. I am humbled by all of the kind words I have received and the faith that has been entrusted to me.”
She has been full time with the college since August 1989. The 46-year-old Chair of the RLC Liberal Arts Division came aboard as an adjunct instructor before taking a permanent position teaching English nearly 20 years ago. Nine years later, Kuberski was promoted to Division Chair of Arts and Communication, which became the Liberal Arts Division when Social Science was added in 1999.
“Chris Kuberski has served as the Liberal Arts Division Chair and brings a wealth of academic knowledge and experience with her as she serves as the Interim VP of Academic Instruction,” Holstein said. “Her tenure as a faculty member and then Division Chair gives her an abundance of experience and ensures she is a great fit for this important position.”
“As I see it, my job is to ensure RLC offers quality instruction by providing the resources, support and development opportunities needed by the faculty,” Kuberski explained. “Currently, my priority is to be the administrative resource for the HLC Steering Committee. I see this as a position of service … service to faculty, students, the community and RLC.”
She lives on what was her grandparent’s farm in Tamaroa with her husband of 22 years, Paul Jr. He is a farmer of approximately 700 acres. The couple has three children – 16-year-old twins, Joshua and Zachary who will be juniors at Pinckneyville Community High School, and 11-year-old Mara who will be entering the sixth grade at St. Bruno.
“Lisa Payne and Chris Kuberski are both experts at what they do,” Holstein said. “The College is continuing with regular, everyday operations. We’ve got everything covered. It is business as usual.”