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First woman picked as president of North Idaho College


The North Idaho College trustees have appointed Priscilla Bell, the interim leader on campus since February, to be the school’s next president.

Bell, 57, is the eighth president and the first woman to lead the 74-year-old Coeur d’Alene community college.

“What a good thing to be able to test drive a candidate, and she got to test drive us, and she still wants to stay,” trustee Judy Meyer said.

Bell joined NIC as its interim president after Michael Burke left for San Jose City College. She started at community colleges in student services, working at Tacoma Community College from 1978 to 1995 before becoming president of Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, N.Y. In 2000, she was named president of Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash.

Bell’s career at Highline Community College ended last year after when her contract was terminated over what she and board members described as philosophical differences.

But in her short stint in northern Idaho, Bell has won praise for several initiatives, including forming a group of business and school leaders whose mission is to discuss employment needs and program development.

Bell’s contract hasn’t been set. Her salary as interim president was equivalent to Burke’s, about $135,600 a year.

– Associated Press

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