Deborah Gilbert will become the interim leader of Mississippi Community College Board, after an impasse among board members stymied their ability to choose a permanent executive director.

The board announced that it voted unanimously Friday at a meeting at East Mississippi Community College in Mayhew to name Gilbert. Now deputy executive director for finance and administration, Gilbert, an accountant who has worked for the board since 1988, will become interim executive director on July 1. She succeeds Eric Clark, who is retiring after holding the post for seven years.

The board coordinates the state’s 15 independently governed community and junior colleges.

The board also voted Friday to hire Malcolm Portera, former president of Mississippi State University and former chancellor of the University of Alabama system, to lead a search for a permanent leader.

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