Northeastern Junior College President Jay Lee Announces Plans for Retirement


April 23, 2020 (Denver, CO) – Today, Northeastern Junior College (NJC) president, Jay Lee, announced plans to retire at the end of the calendar year on December 31, 2021.

In an age where the average tenure for a community college president is just 3.5 years, Lee will serve nearly a decade come December, and conclude a 35-year career as a two-year college educator and leader.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president of Northeastern the past nine years, and I look forward to my next great adventure,” said Lee.

Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Chancellor, Joe Garcia, extended his appreciation to President Lee for his steadfast commitment to the college, surrounding region, and greater higher education community.

“After serving NJC and the northeastern Colorado region with distinction for over nine years, President Lee will be greatly missed,” said Garcia. “I know I speak for our entire system when I express our gratitude for his persistent energy to advance our mission and for his regional leadership and advocacy to advance community college athletics.”

I know I speak for our entire system when I express our gratitude for his persistent energy to advance our mission…
- Joe Garcia, CCCS Chancellor
Throughout Lee’s tenure as president, he encouraged innovation and technology to support best-in-class education and career training opportunities for NJC students. Under Lee’s leadership, the college grew their nationally-recognized wind and industrial technology program and partnered with Colorado’s wind industry to ensure workforce training needs were accomplished.

Notably, Lee spearheaded a variety of student success initiatives, including the use of iPads to engage “every student in every class,” growing enrollment through athletics and student life programming, and establishing support services for veterans.

Prior to joining NJC, Lee served as the chief academic officer at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for four years. He also served in various roles for 18 years at Rochester Community and Technical College that included being a full-time law enforcement faculty, social science and physical education department chair, associate dean, and dean of career and technical instruction.

Before entering the field of education, Lee served in the United States Air Force and was a patrol deputy for the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in Fargo, North Dakota. From there, Lee was appointed by Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson to serve on the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board where he eventually became the first educator to chair the Standards Committee.

Lee’s early announcement allows CCCS sufficient time to conduct a comprehensive, national search to attract a world-class leader for NJC’s next president.

In the coming months, CCCS will announce details regarding the search and opportunity for input from the college’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community.


About Northeastern Junior College
Northeastern Junior College takes pride in offering a wide array of college services, including residence life and student housing opportunities, athletics, and performing arts programming to create an intimate college experience. With practical, hands-on instruction lead by predominately full time faculty who also serve as advisors to provide a caring, personal and supportive learning environment. Northeastern offers classes at their main campus in Sterling, Colorado and an additional campus in Yuma, Colorado to service students in the five counties of Northeast Colorado. Northeastern has over 60 certificate and degree options for students to explore, as well as guaranteed transfer programs to all four-year public college institutions.

About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education and workforce development, delivering thousands of programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 38 locations across Colorado. Our open-access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to high quality, affordable higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy, and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college

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