Drake State Hires New Director of Fiscal Affairs
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A new person will soon be responsible for the books at Drake State Community and Technical College.
U’Meeka Smith recently accepted the position of Director of Fiscal Affairs. Smith has spent the last six and a half years working for Leadership Huntsville-Madison County. Smith rose from the position of Office Manager to Chief Operating and Financial Officer in that time.
Drake State has been recovering from financial troubles connected to the handling of grant money. That ultimately led to the demise of the school’s president, Helen McAlpine. McAlpine was placed on administrative leave in November of 2015. And then, two-year college system Chancellor Mark Heinrich sent McAlpine a letter in late February where she was told to resign or face termination at the board’s March 4 meeting.
Smith earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Athens State University. Smith’s last day with the non-profit Leadership organization will be Friday, October 21.
The future may be looking brighter for Drake State as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmed Drake State’s regional accreditation at the end of September. That’s a peer review of the school which covers 90 standards related to instruction, administration and finance.
A news release indicated the College began preparing for this visit immediately after it was granted initial accreditation by SACSCOC in 2012. “We never stopped working,” said Lesley Shotts, from Drake State’s office of Institutional Effectiveness. “The successful visit is a result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. We worked days, nights and weekends, making sure that the process would go smoothly,” stated Alice Raymond, Director of Institutional Effectiveness.
On the morning of September 22, 2016, the SACSCOC reaffirmation team met with over 25 faculty and staff members to share the preliminary results of their review. During the exit conference, the committee stated that Drake had cleared all of the standards in the Compliance Certification. The final decision will be made by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees. Dr. Kemba Chambers, Interim President of Drake State stated, “This is very exciting because we are definitely heading on the right path.”