Dr. Michael J. Heindl was selected as the ninth president of Northwest Mississippi Community College by the college’s Board of Trustees during a special meeting held April 26 on the Senatobia campus.
He will assume office July 1 following the retirement of Dr. Gary Lee Spears, a native DeSoto Countian, who has served as president since 2005.
Heindl, 44, currently serves as executive vice president of Administration and Finance at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) in Perkinston.
He and his wife, the former Jennifer Ingram, have three children—Taryn, 22, Harrison, 14 and Nicholas, 12—and one grandson, Jayson, 3. Jennifer is an ER nurse currently pursuing her master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner.
“I’m very honored and privileged to be able to serve the institution at this important time,” said Heindl. “I’ve spent numerous years in the community college system working toward a day like this. My wife and I are excited to be Rangers, and we look forward to moving our family to Senatobia.”
A native of Clinton, Heindl will head the state’s third-largest community college with a current enrollment of more than 7,000 students on three campuses and online.
“We were blessed to receive many applicants for the position of president of Northwest. All of the applicants had outstanding credentials,” said Dr. Adam Pugh of Lafayette County, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Dr. Heindl’s background and accomplishments helped him stand out as a quality applicant from the beginning of the process. I am very pleased that our board selected him to lead our college. His energy and excitement for Northwest is evident from the moment you meet him. Dr. Heindl will be an asset for many years.”
Heindl, a community college graduate, will bring with him to Northwest experience in a number of areas, including finance, technology, legal issues, human resources, emergency management, campus leadership, student services, workforce training and admissions.
“I think that my having worked in higher education for the last 16 years and in every area of higher education has uniquely equipped me to lead Northwest,” Heindl said. “I have been an instructor/professor for many years teaching in academic and career-technical courses and graduate-level courses. I have managed a large institutional budget and all of the administrative and finance functions of the second-largest community college in the state.
“Also, I have served as a dean of students and admissions director at the largest community college in the state, which gave me a fine insight into student registration, enrollment, and graduation. In addition, I am an accomplished fundraiser and have had great success in this arena.”
Heindl holds a Ph.D. in community college leadership from Mississippi State University (2011), a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University (2001), a B.S. in psychology from Mississippi College (1997), and an Associate of Arts in general studies/music from Hinds Community College (1994).
He began his career in education in 2001 as golf tournament coordinator at Hinds Community College and also served as an intern for the Mississippi Supreme Court while working on his law degree during that time.
In July, 2001 he became dean of students for Wesley College in Florence before being named district director of Admissions and Records at Hinds in 2003. In 2006, Heindl was program specialist for Career and Technical Education at the Mississippi Community College Board, where some of his responsibilities included coordination for all career-technical programs and workforce training for the state’s 15 community colleges.
In 2007 he returned to Hinds, where he worked for four years as dean of students for the Rankin County Campus before being named vice president of the Jackson County Campus of MGCCC in 2011. A year later, he moved into his current position there as executive vice president of Administration and Finance.
In addition to his administrative experience, Heindl has 16 years of teaching experience, having served as an adjunct instructor for legal courses in both the Department of Business and in the Career-Technical paralegal program at Hinds. He has also taught graduate-level courses in higher education law at Mississippi College and is currently an adjunct professor teaching Community College Legal Issues in the Community College Leadership doctoral program at Mississippi State University.
Active in a number of professional groups and community organizations, Heindl is currently president-elect of the Community College Business Officers Association (CCBO), a member of the Gulf Coast Business Council Master’s Class and the Education Strategic Planning Committee for the Mississippi Coast, on the Planning Committee for Leadership Mississippi and an Angel runner for Ainsley’s Angels, a national organization that provides racing/running experiences for special needs individuals.
He is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on Structured Pathways, Statewide Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement Task Force, and the MGCCC District Athletic Council. He also assists other colleges with the accreditation process by serving on the Finance Accreditation Review Team for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Among his many accomplishments are the MGCCC Master Trainer Award, CCBO Outstanding Chief Business Officer Award, and Mississippi Top Ten Business Leaders Under 40. He has participated in leadership programs including the AACC Future Presidents Institute, Mississippi Economic Council Leadership Mississippi, and has been selected to attend the League for Innovation in the Community College Executive Leadership Institute in December.
Heindl and his wife are active members of Northwood Church in Wiggins, where they sing and lead music and participate in small groups. Their sons are active in the church’s youth group.
Twenty-five candidates submitted applications for the position, according to Pugh. The college’s full 21-member board conducted interviews with two finalists, Heindl and Jack Gadd of Hickory Flat, former superintendent of Benton County Schools and Mississippi State Representative for District 13, before voting by secret ballot.