Joseph Seabrooks Jr. is stepping down as president of Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley next month to take a position with a Dallas community college.
Seabrooks, who has led Penn Valley since 2011, has accepted a job as president of Cedar Valley College, one of seven schools in the Dallas County Community College system.
Penn Valley has an enrollment of about 4,500. Cedar Valley’s enrollment is 7,000.
Having been a higher-education administrator in the Kansas City area for more than two decades, Seabrooks said Wednesday his move to Texas is an effort to move closer to family living in Houston.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision,” Seabrooks said. “Kansas City has been so great to me.”
Metropolitan Community College chancellor Mark James said in a statement that while he is sorry to see Seabrooks go, “I am truly happy for him and his family.”
James said the community college will begin a search immediately for a new president. “We literally have big shoes to fill,” he said.
Seabrooks, who is originally from Atlanta, came to Kansas City in 1989 to attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He played on the UMKC 1992 basketball team that was inducted into the school’s hall of fame last year.
He earned four degrees at UMKC — a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in higher education administration, an education specialist degree and an interdisciplinary doctorate in urban leadership and policy studies and education administration.
In 1995 UMKC hired him, and he served there in various positions, including as executive director for diversity. He left the area for three years to serve as an administrator at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Seabrooks then served for four years as president at MCC-Blue River in Independence before moving to Penn Valley.
During his tenure at Penn Valley, he was responsible for establishing the Malcolm T. Wilson Enrollment Center and launching the early college program partnership with Kansas City Public Schools.
“I’m proud of the teams I’ve been able to work with here,” Seabrooks said. “Penn Valley is a very special place.”
He added: “I need the people of Kansas City to know how everything I do from this day forward will be grounded in experience I had in Kansas City. It is the place where I grew up, as a professional, as a man. I will miss Kansas City.”