Regents approve new leader for Nevada’s community colleges

The Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) on Thursday approved a salary of $175,000 for Nate Mackinnon, who will be the first permanent leader of the state’s four community colleges as a vice chancellor.

The appointment came nearly three years after a committee — originally formed in the 2013 Legislative session to study higher education governance — recommended the creation of the position.

Mackinnon’s contract will run July 1 to June 30, 2018. He previously served as assistant commissioner and chief of staff for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

“I’m incredibly humbled and appreciative of this incredible opportunity,” Mackinnon said.

In a memo to the board, acting Chancellor John White said a three-week national search attracted 89 applicants, later winnowed by a search committee to eight candidates and then four finalists.

The committee unanimously recommended Mackinnon to the position and White formalized his selection.

The regents voted 13-0 in favor of Mackinnon’s starting salary, but Regent Allison Stephens cautioned that the board must make sure it’s being fair to other NSHE employees.

Regent Trevor Hayes also questioned the salaries paid to NSHE employees, noting that about 25 percent make $100,000 or more.

“Are we top-heavy? Do we need any more (vice chancellors)?” he asked.

Also Thursday, the board approved a $175,500 salary for Frank Woodbeck who will now serve as vice chancellor for workforce development.

“The two are a dynamic duo that’s going to do a lot for the community colleges and the state of Nevada,” said Regent Andrea Anderson.

Contact Natalie Bruzda at or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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