Presidential Search

Board of Trustees Selects Next President at FVTC

Christopher MathenyAt a special meeting of the Fox Valley Technical College Board of Trustees today, trustees acted to approve the selection of Dr. Chris Matheny as the next president of Fox Valley Technical College. Currently the executive vice president for instruction and chief academic officer at FVTC, Dr. Matheny will assume his new role on August 1, 2021. He will serve as the seventh president of FVTC. He succeeds Dr. Susan May, who will retire on July 31 after providing innovative leadership in several roles during her 38-year tenure with the college, 13 of them as president.

“Our goal in this search was to find a dynamic leader who recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of our diverse student population, and can strategically collaborate with the business sector to serve the needs of our local workforce,” said Board Chair Patty Van Ryzin. “We are confident Dr. Matheny is that leader.”

Dr. Matheny brings more than 25 years of instructional and administrative experience in higher education to the position, with 17 of those years at Fox Valley Technical College. Throughout his tenure at FVTC, Dr. Matheny has taken on increasing levels of responsibility to execute strategic initiatives that advance the college’s mission.

“I am excited to continue to work with our talented faculty and staff as well as all of our community partners,” Dr. Matheny said. “Fox Valley Technical College will continue to provide our region with the talent necessary to keep our entire region a great place to work, live, and play.”

Dr.  Matheny earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI; a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Organization and Management from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL; and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

“I can’t imagine being anywhere else.  Fox Valley Technical College is such a critical part of the communities we serve,” Dr. Matheny said. “This is home, and for the past 17 years, I’ve witnessed the positive impact the college has across our region. It really is a privilege to continue this legacy of service through education as the college’s next President.”

“Throughout the search process, it was evident that Dr. Matheny has developed and demonstrated the ideal characteristics that the college required for the next president,” Van Ryzin said. “He has led increasingly complex operations during his career and is a leader who is dedicated to our mission, connected to our region, and able to sustain and reinforce a culture that fully utilizes the talents of our entire organization.”

-Patty Van Ryzin
Chair, FVTC Board of Trustees

  • Presidential Profile
  • College Background
  • District Information
  • Timeline
  • How to Apply
  • Committee Members
  • Contact Information

Presidential Profile

The Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) Board of Trustees invites applications and nominations for the position of President. The President is the chief executive officer of the College and reports to the nine-member Board of Trustees. This position is available due to the impending retirement of Dr. Susan May after serving 13 years as President and providing innovative leadership in several roles during her 38-year tenure with the college.

Fox Valley Technical College is one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). As one of the largest technical colleges in the State of Wisconsin, it serves a five-county area in northeast and central Wisconsin. The College is highly regarded for its occupational, hands-on training for the workplace and for its industry partnerships. We live our motto, Knowledge That Works, every day.

Fox Valley Technical College offers more than 250 associate degree, technical diploma, and specialized certificate programs and instruction related to 16 apprenticeship trades. In addition, FVTC serves more than 2,000 employers through contract training and technical assistance, averaging $11 million invested in training each year. FVTC’s work in this area accounts for over 20% of all technical college contract training and services in the State. FVTC is proud to serve approximately 50,000 people annually, more than any other Wisconsin college. The college employs almost 1,500 full- and part-time instructors, adjunct faculty, support staff, and administrative support. It operated on a $118 million budget for fiscal year 2020-21.

FVTC serves an increasingly diverse student body that includes, but not limited to, 16% students of color; 11% single parent; 36% low-income; 30% rural residents; and 14% enrolled in non-traditional occupations. Diversity is a core value of the College and we are committed to equity. The College is the state’s first two-year college to receive the Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award from the Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action (SCAA).

The FVTC main campus, including the President’s administrative office, is located in Appleton. The 145-acre site includes 861,000 square feet of facility space, which includes several satellite buildings such as the J.J. Keller Transportation Center and Service Motor Company Agriculture Center. Four facilities comprise FVTC’s locations in Oshkosh, among them the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center and the Fab Tech Education Center. 

Four regional centers in Chilton, Clintonville, Waupaca, and Wautoma offer a multitude of programs through various learning options including face-to-face, online, and virtual learning. The College also delivers programming at a number of other sites across the District.

FVTC has a rich history of collaborating with employers, educators, and the community at large. In 2012, FVTC successfully advocated for approval of a $66.5 million capital referendum. Among other projects, the referendum allowed for the construction of a new campus for the Public Safety Training Center. The 99,000 square foot facility sits on a 77-acre site and is home to the only fully integrated and multi-disciplinary training facility in the Midwest.

Working in partnership with Appleton International Airport, FVTC successfully developed a program delivering Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) training, which successfully launched in 2020. The program is one of only 20 in the entire nation and the only one featuring a Boeing 777 aircraft fire training prop. 

FVTC has a robust track record for being awarded state and national grants to enhance program growth, technology advancements, and student support. The National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College (NCJTC) is a leading national criminal justice training organization which, through federal grants and national contracts, trains hundreds of thousands of criminal justice professionals in every state and internationally.

FVTC is seeking a stakeholder-focused, innovative leader who will advance organizational equity and growth while serving the ever-changing workforce needs of our District.

Challenges and Opportunities

The next president of Fox Valley Technical College will be expected to address the following challenges and opportunities:

  • Lead the organization in effectively addressing the growing workforce needs for skilled talent in the region, working with a variety of partners to expand solutions.
  • Continue adapting to ever-changing student and customer needs for flexibility and options in educational offerings and services.
  • Enhance equitable access and support for a growing diverse community population.
  • Increase technical college enrollments and graduates.
  • Continue to attract and retain high quality faculty and staff. 
  • Continue to advance the use and power of technology in both operations and instruction, while maintaining a focus on hands-on learning and personal service.
  • Rebuild and renew student enrollment, contract services for employers, and campus service areas as the economic and pandemic recovery continues.
  • Prepare the organization for a new Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation process and successfully achieve institutional re-accreditation.
  • Develop a new multi-year strategic plan for the College in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Advance new opportunities for collegiate transfer in the region, while continuing to strengthen mission-critical technical education programs and apprenticeships.
  • Implement entirely new administrative computing systems for student, HR, and finance functions.
  • Continue to build and strengthen organizational responsiveness and resilience.

Ideal Characteristics

A president who:

  • Is experienced and skilled in leading a complex, multifaceted organization, and successfully navigating it through significant challenges. 
  • Is intentional about promoting a culture of belonging and well-being and committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the College and the community.
  • Is an effective communicator with an empathetic, approachable, welcoming, open style, who is committed to collaboration, trust, and respect.
  • Is student and customer focused, and in touch with the needs of students and populations of the region.  
  • Is highly visible and engaged among all stakeholders, both internally across the College, and externally within the community.
  • Is a relationship-builder, who develops rapport and engages College and community members of all levels and backgrounds.
  • Possesses a clear vision and passion for the College’s mission and motivates relevant groups to embrace this vision.
  • Is highly responsive to changing diverse needs and opportunities.
  • Fosters collaboration, partnerships, and relationships with external constituencies including colleges, universities, K-12 schools, government, and business & industry – locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally.
  • Is a forward thinker, who inspires, fosters, and supports an innovative spirit and synergies across the College and institutional relationships, to promote advancements for the betterment of students and the community.
  • Advocates for the economic development of the region with a track record of developing or expanding programs and services that best serve the changing needs of the region’s employers.
  • Is a strong advocate on behalf of students, creates access, and alleviates barriers to student success.  
  • Provides leadership to ensure the College remains financially healthy and continues to develop new programs and services to meet constituent needs.
  • Demonstrates an entrepreneurial approach, with an eye for opportunity and unmet need, and leveraging strategies to accelerate responsiveness.
  • Is politically sensitive and savvy, effectively develops networks locally, within the state and nationally, and promotes and advocates for the needs of the College and the technical college system.
  • Understands, values, and is committed to an effective relationship with the Board of Trustees under its policy governance model.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s degree required; an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited institution strongly preferred.
  • Substantial executive-level experience in education, preferably at a technical or community college in positions of increasing responsibility.
  • Demonstrated leadership success in a complex internal and external environment.

College Background

Fox Valley Technical College is one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), independently accredited, and governed by a nine-member appointed Board of Trustees. FVTC serves a five-county region (Calumet, Outagamie, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago counties) plus portions of four others (Brown, Manitowoc, Portage, and Shawano). Along with its main campus in Appleton, and multiple facilities in Oshkosh, FVTC operates regional centers in Chilton, Clintonville, Waupaca, and Wautoma.

We are a state leader in the contracted training we provide our business and industry. In addition to serving local communities, we are also a national voice and provider in many training initiatives, including law enforcement, manufacturing, health care, and more.

The mission of Fox Valley Technical College is to provide relevant technical education and training to support student goals, a skilled workforce, and the economic vitality of our communities. Our vision is to be a catalyst in engaging partners to bring innovative educational solutions to individuals, employers, and communities – transforming challenges into opportunities. We achieve our goals through our core values and purposes.

Working in tandem with partners in business and industry, FVTC continually creates curriculum and programs that position graduates as desirable and qualified candidates among employers. FVTC prepares students, business professionals, and employers to compete in a global economy with international education and business partnerships, as well as exchange programs for students, faculty, and staff.

District Information

Fox Valley Tech Wisconsin district mapAppleton is one of 18 communities that make up what’s commonly referred to as the Fox Cities, with each community uniquely positioned along the scenic Fox River and Lake Winnebago. The Fox Cities enjoys a stellar reputation for its school systems, colleges, healthcare systems, and diverse mix of industries and world-class companies. Appleton is consistently recognized as a top city to live in. In 2019, Money Magazine ranked Appleton 89th on the list of top 100 places to live in America, giving the city high marks for its economic growth, low crime rate, and great cost of living compared to other cities.

Appleton Downtown

Fox Cities Chamber

Fox Cities, Greater Appleton Area

Heart of the Valley Chamber

Relocate Fox Cities


Week of April 12, 2021

Electronic survey distributed to solicit feedback from Stakeholders (Administrators, Faculty, Staff, Community Members). Data utilized to formalize Presidential Profile. Board to appoint Presidential Search Committee (13-15 members).

Week of April 19, 2021

Presidential Search Committee Meeting #1: virtual training and orientation on process; Committee receives Draft Presidential Profile and reviews and edits the draft. Board of Trustees reviews and approves final draft.

April 23, 2021

Presidential Profile is posted on FVTC websites and other recruiting resource sites. Search conducted to identify local, state-wide and national candidates.

May 14, 2021

Target date for receipt of applications. Position is open until filled.

Week of May 17, 2021

Search Committee reviews and rates top 6-8 candidates.

May 27, 2021

Search Committee Meeting #2: Search Committee meets virtually to discuss and select 3-5 confidential semifinalists.

Week of May 31, 2021

Search Committee Meeting #3: Search Committee meetings for confidential interviews of semifinalists. Search Committee deliberates and selects 2-3 finalists and forwards recommendations to Board of Trustees.

Week of June 14, 2021

Finalists visit the College for tours, participate in public forums, meet with direct reports, etc. Finalists will interview with the full Board of Trustees. In depth reference reports shared with Board on final candidates.

Week of June 21, 2021

Board reviews all input and final decisions made.

Week of June 28, 2021

Final negotiations with #1 Candidate; new President of FVTC announced.

August 1, 2021

Start date for next President of Fox Valley Technical College.

How to Apply

This is a confidential search process. To ensure full consideration, application materials should be received no later than May 14, 2021. The position will remain open until filled.

To apply, visit here to complete an application and upload your documents:

  1. A cover letter of application (not to exceed 5 pages) that succinctly addresses the Ideal Characteristics and Opportunities and Challenges identified in the Presidential Profile, and demonstrates how your experience and professional qualifications prepare you to serve the needs of the College.
  2. A current resume which includes a list of eight references, with names, working relationships, phone numbers, and email addresses. Please include three supervisors (one board member, if applicable), three direct reports, and two professional colleagues. Additional professional references are welcome, up to a maximum of four. References will not be contacted without the applicant’s permission. 

Committee Members

The Presidential Search Committee members are as follows: 

  • Patty Van Ryzin, Vice President-Human Resources, Bassett Mechanical (FVTC Board of Trustees Chair and Presidential Search Committee Co-Chair)
  • John Weyenberg, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity (FVTC Board of Trustees Vice-Chair and Presidential Search Committee Co-Chair) 
  • Stephen Kohler, Director of Human Resources, Pierce Manufacturing (FVTC Board of Trustees)
  • Chris VanderHeyden, Superintendent, Menasha Joint School District (FVTC Board of Trustees)
  • Ignacio Cortina, Executive Vice-President/General Counsel, Oshkosh Corporation (FVTC Foundation Board Chair)
  • Abe Weber, Airport Director, Appleton International Airport (Community Business Partner Representative)
  • Susan Zima, Vice President Brand and Creative Group, Thrivent (FVTC Foundation Board Member)
  • Jon Stellmacher, Senior Vice President (retired), Thrivent (Community Partner)
  • Chris Brown, Manager, FVTC Wautoma Regional Center (Regional Campus Representative – Wautoma)
  • Edgar Gonzalez, FVTC Criminal Justice Instructor (Faculty Representative – Programs)
  • Bob Ebben, FVTC Communication Skills Instructor and President of Faculty Association (Faculty Representative – General Education)
  • Gary Brilowski, FVTC Multimedia Specialist and President of ESPA (Educational Support Staff Personnel Association), (Support Staff Representative)
  • Jared Huss, FVTC Director/Chief Pilot Aeronautics Program (Regional Campus Representative – Oshkosh) 
  • Beth Burns, FVTC Associate Vice President, Student Services (FVTC Management Representative) 
  • Justin Skubal, Vice President SGA (Student Government Association) and 2021 Student Ambassador (Student Representative)

Contact Information

For additional information, nominations, or confidential inquiries, please contact:

Deb Gorman, FVTC Presidential Search Facilitator
Phone: 920-810-3875