Charlie Earl, the executive director of the state community- and technical-college system, announced Tuesday he will retire in July.
Earl, 65, has been executive director of the state Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) for six years. Under his direction, the system has won national recognition for several programs that increased the number of students who finished their college degrees.
Sharon Fairchild, board chairwoman, praised Earl as a visionary leader who has "led us through some very significant major initiatives."
One such program is called I-BEST, for Integrated Basic Education Skills Training; it's been cited several times by President Obama in speeches about innovations in community colleges. The program integrates basic, or remedial, classes with college-level classes.