LFCC president announces retirement

Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy

Lord Fairfax Community College President Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy has announced her retirement. She has served as president of Lord Fairfax since January 2009.

Thompson-Stacy said that changes in her life had been pointing her toward thinking that it was time for her to leave her job at Lord Fairfax and stop working full-time in higher education.

“I’m going to be turning 60, I just had a grandson,” Thompson-Stacy said.

Thompson-Stacy pointed to a growth in enrollment as one of the key accomplishments during her tenure at Lord Fairfax. Full-time enrollment increased by 13 percent between the 2008-2009 school year the 2009-2010 school year, according to figures posted on the college’s website.

Those enrollment numbers continued to increase until the 2012-2013 school year, when they began decreasing at a rate of about 2 percent per year.

That increase in enrollment allowed Lord Fairfax to expand its facilities and build a fourth location, Thompson-Stacy said.

“That’s been tremendously rewarding,” she said.

Lord Fairfax was also recognized as one of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Great Colleges to Work For, which surveys people in various colleges for workplace satisfaction, during several years of Thompson-Stacy’s tenure there.

In a statement for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2016 list, Thompson-Stacy wrote, “[Lord Fairfax] is a great place to work because the college highly values its employees and creates a caring, positive work atmosphere.”

She described Lord Fairfax as “the best job I’ve ever had,” largely because of the people working there.

“We’ve had great faculty, great staff, great administrators,” Thompson said, adding, “It’s been a wonderful blessing.”

Thompson-Stacy took the job at Lord Fairfax over eight years ago, after serving as president of Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa, Virginia. Before that, she was vice president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, Mississippi.

When she interviewed for the job at Lord Fairfax, she said she was particularly attracted to the Shenandoah Valley region.

“I thought it was just a beautiful part of Virginia,” she said.

Once she moved to the Shenandoah Valley area, she found that the community around her was supportive of her.

“You don’t find that everywhere — that immediate embracement of your thoughts and ideas,” Thompson-Stacy said.

She noted that Lord Fairfax already had a good reputation when she became president and that the community was supportive of the college.

“If the community already believes in your mission…then that’s a really good thing,” she said.

Thompson-Stacy officially resigns on Feb. 1. She plans on spending the winter in her house in Biloxi, Mississippi, and expects to spend at least three months relaxing and enjoying life without worrying about work.

But after that, she might return to working in higher education. She said that she might wind up doing some consulting work or serving as an interim president for a higher education institution. But she said the work would probably be part time.