January 30, 2024
Story by Maggie Harris
Photo courtesy of Northern State University
During a special Board meeting on Jan. 30, the Barton Community College Board of Trustees announced Dr. Marcus Garstecki as Barton’s sixth president.
With over 25 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Garstecki has led enhancements in student recruitment efforts, implemented a comprehensive enrollment plan, and helped develop strategies for leveraging scholarship dollars, all of which led to increased enrollment at Northern State University (NSU) in Aberdeen, S.D. He currently serves as the chief enrollment management officer at NSU.
Dr. Garstecki was named a finalist following a nationwide search that began in September. After virtual interviews with the search committee, the College hosted a visit to the Barton County campus and other campus locations, which included open forums that allowed for input from the community and employees.
Board of Trustees Chairman Mike Johnson said the Board is excited to welcome Dr. Garstecki and his wife, Kacie, and son, Jackson, to the Barton family. He said the Board looks forward to working with him and continuing to build on existing relationships in the community while also seeking new areas of collaboration and partnership.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to us,” he said. “Not only will he help maintain Barton's position as one of the leading community colleges in the region, but he will also provide the leadership that will help us evaluate and critique our current operations, which will position Barton well in the ever-changing educational landscape.”
After accepting the position, Dr. Garstecki shared his appreciation to the Board and committee for the opportunity to return to Kansas, where his higher education experience started in 2001.
“My wife Kacie and I are beyond excited to join the Barton Community College family,” he said. “We sincerely appreciate the hospitality and warm welcome we received during the interview process. One thing that we were looking for through this process was a place that felt like home. While we were on our visit, we sensed a genuine, close-knit, family atmosphere from everyone we met, making this an easy decision for us.”
With a history of accomplishments, he has served as the vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Dakota State University-Madison, where he led enrollment efforts that resulted in significant increases in freshmen, transfer, and re-entry students, as well as increased retention percentages. These efforts led to the school’s largest enrollment numbers to that point. Before that, he was vice president for the Mid-Plains Community College-North Platte campus, where he led strategic planning initiatives, including improvements in the arts, workforce training, and high school partnerships.
“I am passionate about the role that rural community colleges play in providing higher education access to all students while helping our communities grow and thrive,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, the leadership team, students, and each of the communities we serve to continue building upon the solid foundation that has already been established and leading Barton Community College to even greater heights.”
Dr. Garstecki will step into the role as president in July following the retirement of current president, Dr. Carl Heilman.
“I am honored to be selected as the next president of Barton Community College,” he said. “I want to thank Chairman Johnson and the entire Board of Trustees for the trust you have placed in me to lead this great college into the future.”