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The North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP)


A six-month, cohort-based program that provides professional learning opportunities for mid-career community college professionals. Cohort leaders are identified and selected by their presidents as aspiring leaders. Annually, approximately 35 participants in each cohort attend four multi-day, in-person retreats filled with learning experiences, networking activities, and opportunities to discover and apply best practices aligned with pressing needs and issues facing North Carolina’s community colleges.

Our Evolution

The program began in 1989 when former governor and then-president of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), Bob Scott, requested a program to develop leadership skills for the state’s community college employees. Scott was also passionate about increasing the leadership skills of women and minorities who served in leadership roles across the state and requested the assistance of the American Association of Women in Junior and Community Colleges (NC Chapter) to help develop this ground-breaking program. Funding for this new program came from the state community college system. After just a few years, the program directors realized that it must become self-sustaining to survive.

With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Pat Akers and the leadership team are continuously evolving NCCCLP by implementing new, innovative strategies that will propel the next generation of leaders. The program curriculum was established by Dr. Pat Akers to enhance the leadership skills of employees at all levels of a college.

In 2022 the Belk Center became the new home of the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP) further bridging the Belk Center’s commitment to convening leaders, creating tools, and catalyzing change.


Program graduates are equipped with leadership skills to become exceptional leaders and navigate the educational arena as presidents, executive vice presidents, vice presidents, executive directors, directors, deans, and department chairs of community colleges across North Carolina and around the nation.

NCCCL Alumni Group

The North Carolina Community College Leadership Alumni Group (NCCCLAG) consists of Leadership Program graduates who pay $100 to become lifetime members, receiving access to all professional development opportunities.

NCCCLP Group Photo - Class of 2018


Hands typing on a laptop computer

NCCCLP OLÉ is a new and exciting online professional development program co-sponsored by the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP) and the North Carolina Leadership Alumni Group (NCCCLAG). OLÉ is an acronym for “Online Leadership Experiences”. OLÉ, a Spanish victory chant meaning “well done”, is used to celebrate and acknowledges the important work that North Carolina community are doing. NCCCLP OLÉ consists of virtual webinars that will engage, enliven, and encourage those who attend.

NCCCLP Cohort Leaders

Robin Ross

Robin Ross

NCCCLP Facilitator
Vice President of K-64 & Talent Development

Catawba Valley Community College
828.327.7000 ext. 4462

Athena Smith

Athena Smith

NCCCLP Co-Director
Executive Director of Technology and Innovation
Director of the CyberSecurity Center of Excellence

Catawba Valley Community College

Holly Ramsey

Holly Ramey

NCCCLP Co-Director
Department Chair, Life Sciences

Forsyth Technical Community College

Bo Bennett

Bo Bennett

NCCCLP Director-in-Training
Associate Dean of Business, Arts & Sciences

McDowell Technical Community College