Recast | Moving Toward New Leadership for Evergreen

Dear Evergreen Community,  

Thank you for your continued engagement in Evergreen’s presidential search.  Your incredible work and dedication to students, and the challenges Evergreen faces have been evident throughout the process.  

We know it’s vital that Evergreen have interim leadership to advance our strategic plans at an energetic pace. We need leadership that understands and appreciates Evergreen’s values and traditions, and which helps us evolve in appropriate new directions to serve students. 

With these needs and priorities in mind, at the conclusion of today’s special meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board voted to give me the authority to negotiate a contract with Dr. John Carmichael for the role of interim college president for approximately two years, and Dr. Dexter Gordon as executive vice president.  

As you know, John is currently Evergreen’s vice president for finance and operations, and previously served as chief of staff. He’s an Evergreen double-alumnus, was a student of Evergreen’s first president, Charles McCann, and has worked at the college for 23 years. He holds a doctorate  in education and  human resource studies from Colorado State University. Few people who understand the college as well as John. All of the trustees and most of you know John.
Dexter has a national reputation, has worked in the South Sound region for 20 years and will be familiar to students, staff, and faculty involved in equity and inclusion scholarship and activism. He is the founder and director of the Race and Pedagogy Institute at the University of Puget Sound, where he is also director of the African American studies program and professor of communication studies. He has led curriculum-reform efforts at UPS, connecting the campus with the community as reciprocal partners to advance equity in education.  

Dexter holds a doctorate in rhetoric, culture, and African American studies from Indiana University Bloomington. He is a leading regional authority on improving higher education, and a great appreciator of the Evergreen approach. In the course of this search process, we learned that Dexter was interested in coming to Evergreen in an administrative leadership role. It is an opportunity too good to pass up, so we would like to talk with him formally about a role as executive vice president. The executive vice president will assist the interim president by playing a pivotal role in meeting our strategic plan goals of fostering growth, equity and resilience for our students.   Please be assured that we are not intending to expand the ranks of senior administrators at Evergreen. Vice President for College Relations Sandra Kaiser plans to end her service at the college this fall. Interim Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Student Success Therese Saliba will assist with transitions in IESS before moving back to the faculty later this year. We’re grateful for their support.  

At our regularly scheduled meeting on June 10, the Board hopes to finalize agreements and officially name these outstanding candidates to the positions of interim president and executive vice president. 

Assuming we successfully conclude these contracts, we trust you will join us in giving a warm welcome to each and assist them in transitioning into their new roles.     

We plan to resume the search for a permanent president at a later date.   

Please accept our gratitude and thanks to all who are working hard and with such dedication to fulfill Evergreen’s mission and to orient us even more strongly toward student success.   

And—our warmest congratulations to the Evergreen graduates of 2021! 


Karen Fraser, Chair 

Board of Trustees 
The Evergreen State College   

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