Dr. Aaron Thompson named fourth president of CPE

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)—The Council on Postsecondary Education has unanimously selected Dr. Aaron Thompson as its fourth president.

Thompson, who presently serves as the Council’s executive vice president and chief academic officer, will transition to his new responsibilities Nov. 1.

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He is the first Kentucky native and African-American to hold the position since the Council was formed 21 years ago.

Thompson came to the Council in 2009 from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), where he held a variety of academic leadership positions and was a tenured professor in the department of educational leadership and policy studies. In May 2016, he left the Council for more than a year to serve as interim president for Kentucky State University.

As a nationally respected leader, he has served on more than 50 state and national boards and committees. He currently is board chair for the National Council on Community and Education Partnerships and serves on the Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education Advisory Board. He also serves on the corporate board for Baptist Health Care and is the chair of the Committee of Governance Effectiveness.

At the state level, Thompson serves on the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB), KWIB Employer Engagement Committee and KWIB Education Attainment and Completion Committee, the Charter Schools Advisory Committee, the Kentucky Humanities Council, the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, and the Citizens Action Committee for the Destruction of Chemical Weapons, among others.

Thompson earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology from Eastern Kentucky University, a master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in sociology, both from the University of Kentucky.

Thompson will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Robert L. King, who served as president for nearly 10 years.

AGB Search conducted the national search.

Council will negotiate a final contract at its next meeting set Nov. 15-16.

For more information on the search process, and to view Dr. Thompson’s curriculum vitae, visit: http://cpe.ky.gov/aboutus/presidentialsearch.html.