Texarkana, TX– At a special called Texarkana College Board of Trustees meeting, TC President James Henry Russell announced his plans to resign from his position in January 2019 after 7 ½ years of service at the college. Russell said he will begin his new job as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with BWI Companies, Inc. in January 2019.
“Texarkana College is an institution that my entire family has fallen in love with,” Russell said. “The faculty, staff and students have truly become family. It is hard to beat the feeling of a TC graduation when you see our amazing students graduate after conquering and pushing through so many life issues and struggles to get to a better place in life. The TC faculty not only teaches our students what they need to be successful in life, but they also become part of the student’s family and are the key ingredient as to why our completion numbers have soared. The TC staff continually takes on more roles and responsibilities than ever in the history of the college, and they do it with smiles on their faces and the best customer service of any organization around.”
Russell said the decision to leave his position at TC has been one of the hardest decisions he has ever made.
“After much discussion with family, many mentors, friends and church family, I decided that it was time to accept a wonderful opportunity with a company that I highly respect and value and have for my entire life,” Russell said. “I will work hard the next few months with the TC Board of Trustees to ensure that there is a great plan in place to make sure Texarkana College continues to grow and excel beyond what we were able to accomplish together while I was here.”
Kyle Davis, Board President, said trustees will begin working immediately on a search process for the College’s next president.
“Plans for the search of the next TC president will be announced as they are made,” said Davis. “TC has flourished under James Henry’s leadership. We have big shoes to fill, and a successor will be hard to find. James Henry has positioned the College for growth and success and has built a climate of unsurpassed student support. His legacy to Texarkana College and his contributions to education in our community are unmatched. He will be greatly missed as our leader.”
Russell said the trustees allowed him to make very tough decisions over the last several years that led to the College’s sustainability and growth.
“The Board of Trustees has been awesome to me during my time at TC,” Russell said. “The community is so lucky to have a dedicated group of volunteers like we see with the College’s trustees. I am blessed by their support that has allowed me to make very tough decisions and lead through great change. Board Presidents Kyle Davis and Mike Sandefur have been amazing to work with, and I value their friendship.”
Russell said he has great confidence in the faculty and staff at TC to carry out the mission and goals of the College for years to come.
“The leadership team is the best group of people I have ever worked with in my entire life,” said Russell. “They are great people who love Texarkana College as much as I do. I have zero doubts in my mind about them taking Texarkana College to much higher levels in the future. They are the ones who run Texarkana College, and I have never been prouder of a group of people or had more faith in a group of people than I do the leaders at Texarkana College. They are amazing leaders.”
Russell also thanked the media and the community for their support through his term.
“The media has been so good to Texarkana College and has done a wonderful job telling our story,” Russell said. “All media outlets have been so fair and have done a great job covering our news. Also, a huge thank you to the community and our donors. Without you, Texarkana College simply would not be here today. You made some very dark days bright, and I so appreciate your support of Texarkana College and the support you’ve shown me.”
Russell said his family and friends have played a big part in his ability to lead the College during his time as president.
“I have to tell my family thank you,” said Russell. “The last 7 ½ years have been filled with many late nights, travel, weekend work, events, doctoral classes, and on and on. My wife, Rosemary, is the best person in the world and there is no way I could have lived through the past years without her unwavering and calming support.”
Russell said that while he will miss Texarkana College, he looks forward to his new role at BWI. BWI Companies, Inc. was founded in 1958 by Bob and Betty Bunch as a retail seed store in Texarkana, Texas. The company began wholesale operations in 1972 and has since expanded to a total of 18 locations, including 8 full line distribution centers across the Mid-south and Southeastern United States.
“BWI founders Bob and Betty Bunch have been lifelong mentors to me,” said Russell. “I have learned so much from watching how they work, serve, and worship. The Bunch name is a name that has immediate respect in this community. I am so honored to have the opportunity to go to work at BWI where Mr. and Mrs. Bunch still impact the culture of the company and where their children and grandchildren have taken it to heights that I am not sure anyone ever dreamed was possible.”