Cuyahoga Community College soon will have a new president.

Michael A. Baston will become Tri-C’s fifth president, according to a news release issued Wednesday, May 4. He’ll succeed Alex Johnson, who is retiring at the end of June after nearly a decade at the institution.

Baston heads to Cleveland from New York’s Rockland Community College. He has led the college for five years. He also serves as chair of the Black Male CEO Educators network and is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors, as well as chairing its commission on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It is a high honor to be selected to serve as the fifth president of Cuyahoga Community College,” Baston said in the release. “Tri-C’s legacy of commitment to students and the community, and enormous regional economic impact is a testament to the extraordinary leadership both past and present. I look forward to leading this vanguard institution toward a bold, bright and ambitious future.”

As Crain’s Cleveland Business detailed last month, the college embarked on a months-long national search to find Johnson’s replacement. Nearly 30 applicants were eventually narrowed down to Baston and two other finalists: Annette Parker of Minnesota’s South Central College and Colette Pierce Burnette of Huston-Tillotson University in Texas. All three visited Northeast Ohio in April.

“Dr. Baston’s proven experience and leadership are an ideal fit for the next chapter at Tri-C,” board chair Helen Forbes Fields said in a statement. “He has an incredible enthusiasm to lead the college and to serve both students and the community. We are pleased and excited to welcome him to Cleveland and the Tri-C community, and we are eager to see his vision take shape.”

Baston has a bachelor’s degree from Iona College, a law degree from Brooklyn Law School and a doctorate in education from St. John Fisher College.

The college’s board is expected to approve the appointment at a special meeting May 9, with Baston’s term officially beginning July 1.

Amy Morona covers higher education for Crain’s Cleveland Business, in partnership with Open Campus. This story is part of Crain’s Cleveland Forum coverage, which is sponsored by The Joyce Foundation.

Higher education reporter for Signal Cleveland in partnership with Open Campus.