Masterson returns to ACC

Allen Community College trustees voted to hire Johns Masterson as interim president, until a new one is found. Masterson retired as president after 30 years in July 2022.



June 12, 2024 - 2:06 PM

John Masterson retired in 2022 after 30 years as Allen Community College president. He’ll return in an interim role as trustees search for a new leader. Register file photo

John Masterson may have retired as Allen Community College president, but he still considers everyone there — trustees, faculty, staff, students — as family.

And “when your family asks, ‘Will you help us?’” Masterson said there’s only one answer. “Of course I will.”

Masterson retired in July 2022 after 30 years at the helm.

Tuesday evening, ACC trustees voted to hire Masterson, 80, on a monthly basis to lead the college until a new president is found. Former president Bruce Moses’s last day was Monday, June 10.

Moses gave trustees less than three weeks’ notice of his departure to Palo Verde College in Blythe, Calif.

“I’m sad it didn’t work out for the president we brought in,” Masterson said. “I stayed in close contact with the college and Dr. Moses after I left because I still care very much about the college and want things to go right.”

The board of trustees is looking for an outside executive recruiting firm to lead the search for a new president. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board agreed to ask three firms to submit proposals.

Masterson said he hopes the search goes quickly, as it would be ideal to have a new president in place for the fall semester.

There’s a lot going on at Allen. The board recently approved spending up to $12 million out of reserve funds to build a Career and Technical Education building and a new maintenance shop. The board also has faced several expensive repairs because of deferred maintenance on many of the buildings and dormitories. In the two years since Masterson left, there have been several changes in administration and faculty positions.

Masterson said he plans to seek more information about those projects, and get to know new staff.

“I’m reserving judgment on most things because I don’t have enough background. As people know, I’m pretty frugal. I’m going to make dang sure we’re spending our money on things that matter,” Masterson said.

“I’ve always been a believer in following enrollment. If enrollment is increasing, it’s automatic you need to increase people. As it goes down, you also need to reduce spending. It’s important to focus on growth, but you have to respond if that doesn’t happen.”

Masterson said he was approached to take the job soon after Moses announced his departure.

“I feel good about going back. I do hope we can find a replacement rather quickly but I look forward to the challenges,” he said. “There were lots of parts I missed, a lot of relationships and good feelings about what we’re doing. It’s a huge responsibility and I’m kind of excited about it.”

The first days and weeks after he retired, Masterson said he would wake up and ask himself, “What do I have to do today?” It took time to accept the answer: Nothing.