GSCC hires new president


Alabama Community College System Chancellor, Dr. Mark Heinrich, announced leadership changes at two of the system’s colleges on Wednesday, June 11.

Dr. Helen McAlpine has been named interim president at Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, and Dr. John Reutter III has been named acting president at J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College in Huntsville. Both appointments are effective July 1.

“Strong leadership through a transitional period is critically important, and I am appreciative of Dr. McAlpine’s and Dr. Reutter’s willingness to serve,” Dr. Heinrich said. “They both bring a wealth of knowledge to the positions, and I know that they will be great assets to their colleges.”

Dr. McAlpine made institutional history by becoming the first female president of Drake State in 2000. During her tenure, the college experienced a significant enrollment increase through expanded program offerings, including the implementation of a new workforce development division and an adult education program to transition individuals into programs that provide technical skills needed by area employers.

Dr. McAlpine has more than 40 years of experience in the field of education. Prior positions include assistant superintendent of the Huntsville City School System and positions with the Gadsden City School System and Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville.

In September 2010, Dr. McAlpine was appointed by President Barack Obama as a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Dr. McAlpine received her bachelor’s degree from Talladega College, a master’s degree from Jacksonville State University, and a doctorate from The University of Alabama.

After a successful career in the private sector, including stints at Bell Laboratories and VISA, Dr. Reutter founded two Silicon Valley software companies. He made the transition to postsecondary education in 1990 and most recently served as director of planning and resource development at Drake State. His previous academic experience included being dean of instruction at Drake State, dean of instruction at Ayers Technical College in Anniston, director of planning and research at Northwest Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals, and dean of the U.S. Air Force Immersion Education Program in Dayton, Ohio.

Dr. Reutter holds a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics from California State Polytechnic University, a M.S. degree in computer science from Rutgers University, a M.B.A. from the University of North Alabama, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education from The University of Alabama.

Governed by the State Board of Education, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) consists of 25 comprehensive community colleges and technical colleges, Marion Military Institute and the Alabama Technology Network. ACCS is committed to providing a unified system of institutions delivering excellence in academic education, adult education, and workforce development.

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