Tyler Junior College President and CEO Dr. Juan E. Mejia has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Western Regional Chief Executive Officer Award by the Association of Community College Trustees.
The western region of ACCT covers 10 U.S. states and five provinces in Canada.
Mejia will receive the award during the 52nd Annual ACCT Leadership Congress, to be held in October in San Diego. As a regional award recipient, he is the western region’s sole nominee for the Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award.
Judging criteria for nominees is extensive, with specific questions regarding how the CEO has: initiated or developed innovative programs; demonstrated a caring attitude to the board of trustees and college community; developed, organized or supported state and/or national two-year postsecondary associations; been recognized for leadership in the college, community or nation; and outstanding characteristics that prompted the ACCT award nomination.
Now in his third year as TJC president and CEO, Mejia has been instrumental in securing approval from the Texas Legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, as well as working with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), to open the door for all Texas community colleges to have the opportunity to award baccalaureate degrees.
His values include a commitment to the mission of junior/community colleges; and he is well respected for his wisdom and expertise concerning higher education, which led to his receiving the 2021 Paragon Award from Phi Theta Kappa. He currently serves on the ACCT’s Advisory Committee on Presidents, has served on ACCT’s Charles Kennedy Equity Award Committee, serves on the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) Board of Directors and is a member of the TACC 60x30TX Leadership Committee as well as the Legislative Committee. He was the 2017 recipient of the Nelson Award by TACC.
He serves on the Community College Baccalaureate Association Board of Directors, was previously on the board of the National Council for Workforce Education and was also appointed by the Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to participate in numerous committees, programs and consortiums.
Mejia is committed to serving students as well as the community by being an active member of organizations that promote the betterment of the East Texas region. His involvement with business and community leaders has a significant impact as it enables him to ascertain employment needs and determine how TJC can help prepare the regional workforce through appropriate education and training. He is the recipient of the 2019 Community Impact Leader of the Year by the Hispanic Business Alliance of East Texas.
He serves on the steering committee of the Tyler Area Partnership 4 Education and is a board member of the Tyler Economic Development Council. In addition, he has been an active board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of East Texas, East Texas Human Needs Network and Leadership Tyler. He has also served on the boards of the Literacy Council of Tyler, Tyler Innovation Pipeline and the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.
Peggy Wagstaff Smith, first vice president of the TJC Board of Trustees, said, “We are proud and feel very privileged to have Dr. Mejia as president of Tyler Junior College. We feel that he is most deserving of this award, and we are grateful for his dedication to the College, the faculty and staff, and, most importantly, the students.”
Kevin Fowler, executive director of human resources and Chief Human Resources Officer at TJC, said, “We have amazing employees at the College, and we consider them our strongest asset; therefore, it is important to have a president who believes in the values of our institution and continuously celebrates how we embody them as we serve our communities.”
The ACCT Leadership Congress is the premier annual conference for community college leaders and the only national conference dedicated to community college trustees.
Each year, approximately 2,000 community and technical college trustees, CEOs and other executives, and federal higher education policy influencers gather to share information about governance best practices, community college advocacy, advancing student success and more.