HOLBROOK — In a press release dated Oct. 13, Northland Pioneer College (NPC) stated that in a special board meeting today, the NPC District Governing Board accepted the resignation of President Mark Vest, effective Tuesday, Oct. 27.

NPC President Mark Vest at a 2019 Show Low Council meeting

Northland Pioneer College President Mark Vest reviews the expansion plan for the community college during a 2019 Show Low city council meeting. Vest has been with NPC since 2001 and tendered his resignation, effective Oct. 27, during Tuesday’s special board meeting.

Vest has served as the NPC’s president since July 1, 2018. He replaced retiring President Dr. Jeanne Swarthout and had been with the college since 2001.

Prior to becoming president, he served as president of Learning and Student Services. He was selected as president from a field of four finalists.

Following the board motion to accept his resignation, President Vest thanked the board and the college for the opportunity to serve in leadership roles within the college, much of that time as Vice President for Learning and Student Services and later as president.

Vest said, “This is purely a personal decision for me, based on what is best for me and my family. I would like to thank the District Governing Board for honoring my request to step away from the role of president at this time. NPC is a vibrant and strong organization that has responded admirably to this year of education during a pandemic, and the college has a bright future to which it can look forward. I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve the citizens of Navajo County for the past 20 years and am excited to see what happens next for NPC.”

“My wife, Susan, and I moved here in 2000 because she took a job working as a doctor for Indian Health Services (IHS) in Whiteriver,” said Vest in a brief interview with the Independent on Wednesday. “She signed a two-year contract and we were only going to be here for two years. That was 20 years, two kids and two careers ago.”

“We love it here and so we stayed,” said Vest. “We have always felt blessed to live and work in the White Mountains and we have been treated like family since we arrived.”

Vest indicated that he and Susan plan to remain here.

“Susan loves her job at IHS and I will find a way to keep contributing, locally,” he said.

The board thanked Vest for his service and wished him well in the future.

Board member Elias Jouen of District 2 said, “I believe you have led the college admirably, with exemplary leadership through the arduous accreditation process and at the onset of this pandemic, you were the first with an action plan to move to online learning at a lightning speed, your accomplishments are tremendous.”

Board member Everett Robinson of District 4 said, “I worked very closely with Mark over many years, I respect his leadership, respect what he has done for the students of this college … his contributions will be greatly missed but they will be greatly remembered as well. Mark, thank you for your service, it was a pleasure serving with you.”

The Board will choose an interim president at a special board meeting on Oct. 27, at 1 p,m. Copies of the agenda will be posted online, www.npc.edu/board-meeting-agendas-minutes, at least 24 hours in advance. The College will begin a search for President Vest’s permanent successor in the coming months.

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Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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