Secondary Navigation

Presidential Search

Welcome to the CPE Presidential Search page. The purpose of this page is to provide information to potential candidates and to keep the public updated on the progress. Thank you for your interest in the presidential search process.


The Council on Postsecondary Education’s Presidential Search Committee recommended three finalists for the position of Council president. At the Council's Oct. 25 meeting, Aaron Thompson was selected. To read Dr. Thompson's bio, visit the president's page.

Search Process

The Council's role in presidential selection is outlined in KRS 164.103.

Key Dates

Search Committee Membership

This committee oversees the CPE presidential search process, including identifying and evaluating candidates, and making a recommendation to the full board.

Search Committee Meetings

Note: Meeting minutes must be approved in a consequent meeting before posting.  There may be some delay in access.

Date & Time Location Agenda Minutes
Oct 16, 2018

Council Offices, Conference Room A

*This was the final meeting of the committee

Link Link
Oct 11, 2018 Council Offices, Conference Room C Link Link
Oct 3-4, 2018 Cincinnati Airport Marriott Link Link 
Sept 20, 2018 Council Offices, Conference Room B Link Link

June 21, 2018

Council Offices, Conference Room A

Link Link

May 24, 2018

Council Offices, Conference Room A

Link Link
May 14, 2018

Council Offices, Conference Room A

Link Link


For questions about CPE's presidential search, contact the Council's General Counsel, Travis Powell, at

Job Announcement/Position Overview

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is in the process of selecting candidates for the position of President with an ideal start date in December 2018.

The CPE is a state agency composed of 15 voting members appointed by the Governor. It is responsible for the coordination of a multi-sector, statewide higher education enterprise comprising Kentucky’s public universities and community and technical colleges serving nearly 250,000 students. In addition, the CPE coordinates with Kentucky’s private and independent colleges and universities and licenses private for-profit and nonprofit institutions operating in the state. CPE also facilitates Kentucky’s adult education program, which provides free skill-building services in all 120 counties to prepare adults for credentials, college, and career.   

The new CPE President will join Council members, university and college presidents, and the CPE staff in advancing the Council’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of Kentucky’s citizens and strengthen its workforce and economy through increased educational attainment. The Council seeks an individual with the ability to advance its bold vision for higher education captured in "Stronger by Degrees," the 2016-2021 strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education, and its “60x30 Goal” of 60% of working-age Kentuckians with a degree or credential by 2030. The CPE President serves as the primary advocate for postsecondary education and advisor to the Governor and General Assembly on matters of postsecondary education in Kentucky. New leadership will follow the admirable ten-year service of Robert King.

The Council seeks an individual possessing exceptional qualities of leadership, statesmanship, and an unquestionable commitment to the Council’s vision, mission, and values. The President should be imaginative and forward thinking, a decision-maker who will advance the CPE with collaborative, deliberate actions. The President must implement best practices and develop new ones as both a team-builder and team player with both internal staff and external constituents. The President will engage in creative, hands-on problem solving while carrying out the goals and policies of the CPE in a responsive strategic manner. Building upon the CPE's past accomplishments, the candidate will be a thought-leader and sensitive change-agent who will welcome the challenge and opportunity of leadership.


Applications and Nominations

The period for application submisson is closed. Candidate selection and interviews will be conducted during the month of October.

The search is being assisted by James McCormick, Tom Layzell, and Janice Fitzgerald, Executive Search Consultants. Contact may be made at, 651-238-5188;, 217-691-0462; or, 717-580-0663. 

The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, ancestry, age, disability, political affiliation, genetic information, or veteran status in accordance with state and federal laws.

Agency Profile 

The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is nationally known for its Strategic Agenda, which continues to drive significant progress and reforms to increase educational attainment, improve the health and well-being of citizens, and strengthen the workforce and economy. As outlined in this master plan, the Council strives to accomplish these goals through innovative, high-quality and research-based strategies that will improve student opportunity and success.

The Council's goal is to raise educational attainment of the working-age population to 60 percent by 2030 through high-demand workforce certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor's and above. The most recent Progress Report showed that Kentucky is ahead of its goal. 

Working with campuses, the Council has facilitated several high-impact initiatives: a new Statewide Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to increase the success of underrepresented minority, low-income and underprepared students; advancing the corequisite model for students in need of developmental education; and a performance funding model that was endorsed by all campus presidents, received bipartisan legislative support and signed into law by the Governor last year.

Council Overview

Established as part of the education reforms set forth in the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, the Council on Postsecondary Education is Kentucky's statewide postsecondary and adult education coordinating agency. 


The CPE is the state’s coordinating agency for colleges, universities and local adult education centers. We work with campuses and adult education centers to improve educational opportunity and raise educational attainment to build a stronger workforce, economy and quality of life for Kentuckians.

About Kentucky Higher Education

Kentucky's Plan for Economic Development

One of Governor Matt Bevin's key priorities is for Kentucky to become the epicenter of engineering and manufacturing excellence in America. Toward that end, Bevin has launched several education initiatives, including the Work Ready Skills Initiative, a $100 million partnership program among businesses, employers and educational institutions to expand career and technical education programs across the state. Kentucky has also expanded dual credit opportunities, stackable certificates and apprenticeship programs, as well as promoting alignment of curriculum to workplace skills.

Living in Kentucky

From horse racing and bourbon, to the culture of Appalachia, bluegrass music and Abraham Lincoln, Kentucky is a state rich with deep traditions, important history and authentic heritage. 

Last Updated 8/26/2019