Following a nationwide search, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) has named current Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles as their new president.
Earlier in September, Quarles was named as one of three finalists for the position. He was selected as the new president after all three candidates met with the KCTCS Board of Regents as well as the 16 college presidents across Kentucky and participated in a virtual forum with all KCTCS faculty and staff.
Quarles is expected to take the helm in January 2024 when he will become the forth president of the college system since it was created by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1997. Ashland Community and Technical College President Larry Ferguson, Ph.D. has served as acting president since February 2023 following the departure of Paul Czarapata, Ed.D.
“I am both humbled and excited to further my public service towards the Commonwealth through KCTCS — our state’s most impactful higher education entity,” Quarles said in a news release. “For countless Kentuckians, our community and technical colleges change lives everyday as we not only fulfill career dreams, but also strengthen our state’s workforce needs. As a former community college student, I’m excited to get started.”
Along with serving as Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner since 2015, Quarles previously served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 2010-2014 and finished second in the 2023 governors race Republican primary. The Scott County native graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2006 with three undergraduate majors and two graduate degrees. In 2008, he graduated with a Master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University. He received his law degree from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in higher education from Vanderbilt University in 2018.
KCTCS and the Kentucky Chamber have a strong relationship, partnering on many things to ensure good talent pipelines. The KCTCS president serves as an ex-officio member of the Kentucky Chamber Board of Directors.
“We would like to congratulate Dr. Ryan Quarles on his new role. Higher education and technical education is crucial to the success of our future workforce. The business community looks forward to a continued partnership with KCTCS under Ryan’s leadership,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts.