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Presidential search continues as Sheriff agrees to extend interim

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s Presidential Search Committee will continue its work into the summer, aided by Interim President John Sheriff’s agreement to remain in his position through the 2017-18 school year.

“[We have] decided to extend the search process through the summer and into the early fall of 2017, in order to allow sufficient time to select the best person to be Bethel’s next president, and to provide opportunity for the campus community to be involved in the final selection once the next academic year has begun,” said Dan Flickinger, San Francisco, Search Committee chair.

“The committee remains energized and optimistic in this search, with appreciation for the counsel that has been received from the college constituency and campus community,” he added.

Brett Birky, Denver, chair of the Bethel Board of Directors, noted, “Although progress has been made and the committee has several viable candidates, we simply have run out of time prior to the end of the school year. Transparency with this process and involvement with stakeholders does not fit with summer schedules.”

Sheriff’s interim role as Bethel president was initially set through June 30, 2017, the end of the current academic and fiscal years. With the lengthening of the Search Committee’s timeline, the Executive Committee of the Bethel College Board of Directors unanimously supported, and Sheriff agreed to, an extension to his term as interim president.

“We are extremely fortunate to have John willing to continue on in this role,” Birky said. “He will provide continued leadership and stability for the college, as well as challenge the cabinet, staff and faculty to think big and address opportunities.”

Members of the Bethel College Presidential Search Committee, in addition to Flickinger, are Kate Brubacher, Kansas City, Jim Ensz, Beatrice, Nebraska, Roberta Franz Hodgson, Spokane, Washington, and George Rogers III, Newton, for the board; Dwight Krehbiel and Doug Maury representing Bethel faculty and Gregg Dick representing Bethel staff; and Heidi Regier Kreider for Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA. Birky along with Heather Esau Zerger, Newton, immediate past Bethel board chair, serve on the committee ex officio.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.