Search for new president has resumed, college says
Sara Ray Stoelinga, the first woman to be named president at Waukesha's Carroll University, has withdrawn from the position about five months before she was expected to take on the role.
The college announced on Wednesday, Feb. 15, that the school had received a letter from Stoelinga indicating that she had opted to remain in her current post at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute.
"It is with regret that we announce that Dr. Sara Stoelinga has withdrawn her acceptance of the position," said José Olivieri, chairman of Carroll's board of trustees, in a statement.
"The board and the Carroll community will immediately continue their search for a dynamic leader who will advance the university’s mission and vision," he said.
Stoelinga – who would have been the first female president in school's 170-year history – was expected to replace Doug Hastad, who has served as president of the university for more than a decade and is retiring in June. She was named as Hastad's replacement in November.
"After deep reflection and deliberation, I have informed the Chair of the Carroll University Board of Trustees that I will not be joining Carroll University as the next president," Stoelinga wrote in a letter to the board.
"This was a very difficult decision that comes with many mixed emotions for me. I feel strongly compelled to continue my work in K-12 education and as such I have decided not to leave the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute at this time."
She currently serves as the Sara Liston Spurlark director of the Education Institute, where she has worked for 22 years.
"My decision in no way reflects negatively on Carroll University," she continued, adding that the university "has much important and exciting work under way, which I know will contribute to a bright future. I apologize for any disruption that my decision may cause and wish you all the very best in your continued work."
Stoelinga was one of two women hired to prominent positions by Carroll last year. In August, the Rev. Elizabeth E.P. McCord was named as college's new chaplain.
The news of Stoelinga's departure comes on heels of another big announcement from the university – coincidentally tied to its current president.
On Feb. 6, Carroll announced that it would be naming its new nursing center after Hastad and his wife Nancy, and that future upgrades to Rankin Hall, one of the historic buildings on the school's main campus, are planned.
Those upgrades are the latest in a long-string of facilities changes planned for or already completed at the college.