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Perren named Lanier Tech president
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Dr. Ray Perren will be the next president of Lanier Technical College, the Technical College System of Georgia has announced.

Perren is now president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in Valdosta. He will take over at Lanier Tech on May 1, filling the post left open by the recent retirement of Russell Vandiver.

Dean for the Dawson campus, Troy Lindsey, said that he has yet to meet Dr. Perren, but he believes the committee made a strong decision.

Based on (what I know), hes extremely confident and qualified, and has the experience necessary to lead the school, Lindsey said. And I have total confidence in (Commissioner) Dr. Ron Jackson ... I think hes a man of integrity and wisdom.

Im confident that the commissioner and the board have made an excellent choice, and that hell serve the schools, and the communities that they serve, well.

Lindsey took over as the new dean of the Dawson campus of Lanier Tech on Feb. 1 of this year.

Ive spent six of the past seven years serving the two colleges that are now Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, and Im most appreciative of the entire Wiregrass team and the many accomplishments that weve achieved together, Perren said in a statement.

Im extremely grateful and humbled by the confidence that Commissioner Ron Jackson and the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia have placed in me, he continued. Im looking forward to meeting and partnering with the faculty and staff of Lanier Technical College. Well set high goals and ensure that an already great college with a long legacy of excellence can become an even better one.

Dawsonvilles Roger Slaton served as the chair of the Presidential Search Committee. Slaton, who is a local State Farm insurance owner/agent, also serves as chairman of the Lanier Technical College Board of Directors and is a Dawson County School Board member. Out of the outstanding candidates that we had, Dr. Perren has experience as a sitting president, he said. He was in that situation through a merger of colleges, so hes certainly aware of the functionality and the work that has to go in with the college. He has had experience at the commissioners office, also, so hes familiar with the state level.

I think he will fit in fine, Slaton continued. The role that is there, hes familiar with it ... hes going to be an asset to Lanier Tech. Were excited about having him onboard.

Perren and his wife, Joy, have six children. According to Mike Light, spokesman for the Technical College System of Georgia, Perren is originally from the North Georgia area, and is excited to return. Ive known Ray for a long time, and he is just thoroughly devoted to both his college and his students, Light said.

Light explained that one of the things businesses look at before moving into an area is the expertise of the workforce, and how having a strong technical college can be a factor in determining whether businesses either move to, or expand in, a particular area.

He understands the importance of the technical colleges role in workforce development, and thats where he is a great match for Lanier Tech, Light said. So much of business and industry today is technical, and the kind of programs that we teach at technical colleges are very important to these companies. That has been something that Russell Vandiver ... and previous presidents have worked hard at, to let the business community know that they produce the kind of graduates that they need to come into those communities.

Slaton agreed.

We can train people for their jobs, he said, saying that at a manufacturing plant in a nearby county, the technical college system has set up training sessions at the business location for hands-on training. We can train people on location to do the work that they need, and we can do it on campus, he said. Businesses look at that, and appreciate that.

According to a news release, Perren began his career in education nearly 33 years ago as a teacher in Paulding County. He is a 1979 graduate of the University of Georgia, having majored in education. He rose through the ranks of the Paulding County school system, becoming the superintendent in 1996.

In 2000, he became a dean of academic affairs at DeVry University, where he oversaw the instructional programs and academic operations for 5,200 graduate and undergraduate students at two Georgia campuses, and seven other DeVry centers in Atlanta and North Carolina.

Perren has a masters degree in education from West Georgia College, and a doctorate in strategic leadership from Regent University in Virginia.

He will be based in Lanier Technical Colleges offices in Oakwood.