Posted: March 27, 2014

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., March 27, 2014 – Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has named four semifinalists who are under consideration to be president of Rochester Community and Technical College. The candidates are Peggy Jackson Bradford, Elizabeth Burmaster, Leslie McClellon, and Dale Nesbary.

The candidates were recommended by a search advisory committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and community leaders and chaired by Scott Olson, president of Winona State University. The candidates are scheduled to visit the campus of RCTC between March 31 and April 3. The campus visits present an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and members of the community to meet and offer feedback on each of the candidates. Details of the candidates’ campus visits and the process for providing feedback are available at

Peggy Jackson Bradford has served as vice president of academic affairs and interim vice president of academic affairs at Baltimore City Community College since 2011. Previously, she served as dean of academic affairs and chief academic administrator at Cuyahoga Community College (OH) from 2008 – 2011, as acting vice president of academic affairs and dean of liberal arts & sciences at Rock Valley College (IL) from 2007 – 2008, and as associate dean of social sciences at College of DuPage (IL) from 2005 – 2007. She served as coordinator and assistant professor of criminal justice program at Aurora University (IL) from 2001 to 2005, was the assistant state’s attorney appellate prosecutor from 1997 to 2003, and was the general counsel and vice president of legal and human services at Elgin Community College (IL) from 1990 to 1996. She holds an associate’s degree from Shawnee Community College (IL), a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in administration of justice from Southern Illinois University, a juris doctorate in corporate and business planning from the University of Iowa, and a doctorate in higher education administration – community college leadership from Northern Illinois University. She will visit the RCTC campus on March 31.


Elizabeth Burmaster has served as the president of Nicolet College in WI since 2009. Under her leadership, the college has significantly expanded both their university transfer/liberal arts and the technical/occupational mission. Prior to Nicolet, Burmaster served as the elected, non-partisan WI state superintendent of public instruction for eight years. During her administration, the New WI Promise agenda of quality education and closing the achievement gap was implemented. As state superintendent, she served for eight years on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, the Wisconsin Technical College System State Board, and the Governor’s Workforce Investment Council. From 1992-2001, she was the principal of Madison West High School in Wisconsin. She has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She will visit the RCTC campus on April 3.


Leslie McClellon has served as vice president of student affairs at the Community College of
Denver since 2010. Previously, she served at Arizona Western College as dean of student retention and support services from 2006 to 2010, at Langston University (OK) as assistant to the vice president for student services from 2000 to 2006 and executive assistant to the vice president of student affairs from 1998 to 2000, and at Wright Business School (OK) as dean of students from 1996 to 1998. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in urban education from Langston University. She will visit the RCTC campus on April 2.


Dale Nesbary has served as president of Muskegon Community College since 2009. Previously, he served as vice president and dean for academic affairs at Adrian College (MI) from 2006 to 2009, as director of the master of public administration program at Oakland University from 2001 to 2006, and as assistant/associate professor in the department of political science at Oakland University from 1994 to 2006. Prior to 1994, he held multiple leadership and analytic positions outside of academia, serving as research/technical services director with the City of Boston Police Department, assistant director with the City of Boston Office of Budget and Program Evaluation, principal staff associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and fiscal analyst with the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and anthropology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University, and a Ph.D. degree in law, policy, and society from Northeastern University. He will visit the RCTC campus on April 1.


The MnSCU Board of Trustees is expected to act on Chancellor Steven Rosenstone’s recommendation of a final candidate at its April 23 meeting. The new president is expected to begin in July 2014.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include 24 two-year community, technical, and comprehensive colleges and seven state universities serving more than 430,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.