Nooks Named to Two Boards, Graduates Leadership Monroe

Gordon State College President Kirk A. Nooks
Gordon State College President Kirk A. Nooks

Gordon State College President Kirk A. Nooks has been named to a pair of boards and graduated from the Leadership Monroe program recently.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has appointed Nooks to serve as a board member for their Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI). The MLI is a premier leadership development program that provides individuals traditionally underrepresented in the highest rank of higher education the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview and build the network needed to advance to the presidency.

With more than 600 participants since 1999, the program has reinforced the vital role that diversity plays in the institutional mission, assisting participants to advance in their careers and helping institutions diversity their executive leaderships.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Millennium Leadership Initiative Executive Steering Committee,” Nooks said. “I have partnered with AASCU on a number of other projects and programs. This is one that allows me to pay it forward.” Nooks previously served as the Dean of the Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership where he mentored aspiring African-American executive leaders. Today, eight of his former mentees have become college/university presidents.

Along with his appointment to the MLI Board, Nooks completed and graduated from Leadership Monroe. According to the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber website, Leadership Monroe is a program designed to bring a robust and diverse network of individuals together to gain deeper insight into the current challenges facing our area, while preparing them for a more active role in the community. The annual program introduces different sectors to participants, providing valuable contacts, education, and a broadened perspective.

Monroe is one of the 14-counties in Gordon’s primary service region. The Leadership Monroe program started in January. Three months into program, the class quickly adjusted to a virtual format in light of the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic, which shifted the initial direction of the class project, according to President and CEO of Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Simonia Ridley Blassingame. 

“This class as a whole demonstrated that they were not just leaders, but resilient, given all the adjustments they had to make in a pandemic- they were able to focus on what was important,” Blassingame said. “They all carried their load to make sure their project was successful. They served as a source of encouragement for each other.”

Each year, the graduating leadership class nominates one member to serve on the Chamber’s board and this year the class also nominated a member to serve on the Chamber Foundation Board. Nooks was nominated to serve as the cohort’s first representative on the Foundation Board. The Foundation includes a seven-member board on which Nooks will serve a one-year term. The Foundation’s programs are designed to engage, educate, enrich and empower school-aged children through adults.

“I am thankful to come alongside of Monroe County business leaders and the Forsyth community at this pivotal time and complete the Leadership Monroe class,” Nooks said. “We know our work has just started, and we will each continue to serve in our respective capacities. Being selected to serve on the board is also an honor. I am ready to continue the work.”