June 16, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS. Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College trustees selected Daniel Williams, president and CEO of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, to fill a board vacancy.
Williams was selected unanimously from 11 applicants to fill the remaining term of Deb Bailey, who passed away in April. The six-year term expires at the end of December.
Williams has headed WMCAT, a nonprofit education and training organization, since 2015. He previously was principal and executive director of University Preparatory Academy, a Center of Innovation school within the Grand Rapids Public Schools. He also served as director of the Learning Through Internship Program and Principal Support at University Preparatory High School in Detroit.
“I am humbled to follow Deb Bailey in this role,” Williams said. “She was such an incredible force for good in our community. It makes this even more special and important.
“The role of a strong community college has never been more important to our region than it is now. GRCC offers a breadth of programs, resources, and opportunities, as well as a commitment to meet and support people where they are. It plays a vital role in nurturing and shaping our community, as we work towards being one that is vibrant, welcoming, successful, and equitable. I am so excited to support them in this work.”
Trustee Kenyatta Brame said he was looking for someone with “experience working with Kent County students and schools, someone who understands the educational needs and requirements of current and future GRCC students, understands the barriers that prevent some students from continuing their education, and who can help the college break down those barriers.”
Brame said there were many impressive candidates, but believes Williams best met the criteria.
Trustee Cynthia Bristol said she is impressed by Williams’ role in preparing high school students for college while helping unemployed adults to gain new skills leading to rewarding careers and also building a strong dual enrollment program with GRCC.
Bailey’s term was to expire at the end of the year. She is remembered for devoting her time and talents to many organizations, most of them focused on helping people who needed it most. The Grand Rapids Community College Foundation is working to continue her legacy by endowing a scholarship in her name.
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.