Drake State’s president to retire; has been on administrative leave since November

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Dr. Helen McAlpine

Dr. Helen McAlpine

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The chancellor of the Alabama two-year college system says Dr. Helen McAlpine, President of J.F. Drake State Technical College, will retire.  He made the announcement Tuesday at a meeting Tuesday of the Alabama Community College System board in Montgomery.

Dr. McAlpine has been on paid administrative leave since late November. The two-year college system has not said publicly why McAlpine was placed on paid administrative leave, but state auditors were on campus following her suspension.

Records indicate McAlpine receives more than $15,000 a month in salary. She will remain on paid leave until May, when her retirement will take effect.

No one has released information on why McAlpine was placed on leave. WHNT News 19’s Brian Lawson pressed for answers Tuesday in Montgomery, but a spokesperson would only say the chancellor felt there was ‘good reason’ to place McAlpine on paid leave.

Sources tell WHNT News 19 that Chancellor Mark Heinrich was on the Drake State campus Monday. He didn’t directly address McAlpine’s future, but hinted that she would not be returning to the job as president.

Dr. Kemba Chambers has been serving as interim president. Sources said Heinrich also indicated the interim leadership would remain in place.

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