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Walla Walla Community College looking inward to fill top spot

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Walla Walla Community College’s board of trustees announced Wednesday it is considering asking acting President Chad Hickox to fill the role permanently.

Hickox, who was vice president of Instruction and then executive vice president at WWCC, was appointed to his current position after the resignation of the late Derek Brandes in March.

Brandes left the job to pursue treatment for cancer. He died April 10.

The board had been weighing whether to contract with a firm to help find candidates for the position or conduct its own search. The tab for using a search agency could run up to $100,000, based on the college’s previous experience with a search firm, trustees were told in their April 28 board meeting.

Hickox joined the community college in 2018, coming to Walla Walla from the University of Montana, where he served as chief academic and student affairs officer, according to his online profile.

He spent seven years at South Seattle College, a two-year school, as executive director of institutional effectiveness, chief strategy and data officers.

Hickox earned two bachelor’s degrees at The College of Idaho and a doctorate in philosophy from The State University of New York.

In their statement, board members said they are committed to making sure the process to hire Hickox is transparent, open and inclusive.

Community input is welcome at a virtual public forum at 1 p.m., Monday, via Zoom at, or by calling 253-215-8782. The meeting number is 921 1681 7906.

Enrolled students can participate virtually Monday at 3 p.m. Details to do so can be found at

There will be no live cameras in the meeting, and the chat feature will be disabled. Questions can be submitted to before 5 p.m., Sunday. Comments regarding Hickox’s qualifications can be sent via the college website at before 5 p.m., Tuesday; feedback will be shared with the board.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at or 509-526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers health, social services and city government in Milton-Freewater, Athena and Weston in the Walla Walla Valley.