William M. “Bill” Holda, Ed.D.

Dr. William “Bill” Holda brings over 40 years of community college experience providing quality training, insightful guidance and coaching, and leadership development to community college boards of trustees and college administrators.  Dr. Holda’s career is highlighted by his 20 years of service as the eighth president of Kilgore College (KC) in Texas, whereby he was the longest serving president in the history of the college.

During Dr. Holda’s tenure as president of Kilgore College, he also served 10 years on the Executive Committee of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC). While there, he worked closely with the leadership of the Community College Association of Texas Trustees (CCATT) to create a permanent partnership between both organizations to provide sustainability, staffing, and the inclusion of all 50 Texas community college districts into CCATT.

Dr. Holda has served as chair of on-site accreditation committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), has conducted board retreats and training, has consulted on presidential searches, and has worked extensively with trustees in numerous capacities.

Dr. Holda has been intimately involved in multiple initiatives related to student success, including Achieving the Dream, Guided Pathways, the New Mathways Project, Performance-Based Funding for the State of Texas, predictive analytics as a National Advisory Board Member for Civitas Learning, and as a presenter for leadership academies sponsored by various colleges.

During his tenure as president at Kilgore College, the institution increased its reserves and had accomplished more than $26 million in renovations and construction, all paid out of current funds. Dr. Holda implemented the beginning of the KC Foundation and at his retirement, the College had accumulated more than $17 million in endowment funds.

Additionally, Dr. Holda founded the Research and Institutional Effectiveness program at the college and participated in four 10-year reaccreditation efforts. Under Dr. Holda’s leadership, enrollment increased 72 percent and high school dual credit was initiated and grew to become more than 25 percent of total enrollment. In addition, he initiated the distance education program, and graduation rates more than doubled to 23 percent.  Because of KC’s focus on student success, it was named “The 8th Best Community College in the Nation” by College Choice, based on Aspen Institute data.

At the state level, Dr. Holda negotiated directly with the Texas Senate and House committees to solidify community college funding, to persuade them to accept the community college proposal for performance based funding, and to provide a guaranteed level of funding for health insurance and retirement benefits. As a part of these efforts, Dr. Holda worked very closely with the leadership of Texas Trustees.  He was intimately involved in the establishment of the Texas Success Center at TACC, helping to procure several million dollars in grant and foundation funding.

Dr. Holda believes that a high performing, well-functioning Board is essential if a college is to achieve its full potential.  One of the single most important responsibilities of the Board is the selection of the college president. Effective board leadership is essential for institutional success. Boards of Trustees play a critical role to exercise leadership that results in institutional transformation, and it is to that end that Dr. Holda dedicates his energy.

Spotlight Questions

1. Who was your earliest professional influence?

I really had three careers. Madelyn James, who taught me voice as a 10 year old and Dr. John Egan at St. Joseph’s College influenced my music career. The Franciscan priests at St. Boniface Church inspired my 20+ years in ministry. Professionally in higher education, former KC President Bert Woodruff who called me out of teaching to be a Dean of Admissions & Registrar and eventually President.

2. What are you most proud of personally and professionally?

I am proud of my kids and grandkids on a personal level. Additionally, both personally and professionally, I am proud that in higher education administration, ministry and music, all of those diverse experiences were united by a common thread of service.

3. What is your favorite pastime or hobby?

Reading. Not only books on Leadership, but on human nature, mythology, personal growth, and new ideas.

4. If not Higher Ed, what?

The realm of ideas; exploring mystery and various cultures.

5. What was the best piece of advice you have received?

Mark Twain: “it’s not what we don’t know that gets us; it’s what we know for sure just ain’t so. We don’t want our tombstone to read “Not always right, but never in doubt” and Zen proverbs, “In a hundred mile journey, 95 miles is half the trip” and “My storehouse having burnt down, I now have a clear view of the moon.”

6. What is your favorite drink?

Non alcoholic would be coffee and water. Alcoholic drinks: most IPA beers and every type of spirits; I like them all.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

Which of your children do you love most? It would be between Mexican, steaks, and Texas BBQ.

8. What is your favorite movie?

It’s a Wonderful Life!

9. Fun fact?

At the urging of my late wife, I did many things after age 50 I had never done: Snow Skiing (broke ribs the first time); went to a casino and played slots and table games; climbed a mountain; started CrossFit; Went on cruises.

William M. “Bill” Holda, Ed.D.