Baton Rouge, La. – Today, Dr. Tommy Warner, chancellor of Nunez Community College, announced his retirement as chancellor and life-long public servant for the State of Louisiana. Warner’s retirement, which is effective December 31, 2017, will cap an illustrious 60 year career. Dr. Warner, affectionately known as “Coach”, has served as a teacher, athletic coach, assistant principal, assistant school superintendent, professor, college dean, Louisiana State Legislator (13 years), and chancellor of Nunez Community College over the past six decades. He has served as chancellor for 17 years since being appointed to the position in September of 2000.
“It is with great pride, humility, and honor that I announce my retirement from Nunez Community College”, said Warner. “My wife Mary and I began this journey many years ago. We are grateful for the opportunity to have served the great State of Louisiana and to have helped change and improve the lives of thousands of people right here in St. Bernard Parish along the way. Together, we have built a comprehensive community college, in the heart of Chalmette, Louisiana, that we can all be proud of. I would like to thank all the people who have made this the most exciting and rewarding career anyone could hope for. A special thanks to the faculty, staff, and students for making this such a wonderful venture”.
“Dr. Tommy Warner is the consummate public servant,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “I remember when I first became a state legislator Chancellor Warner took me on a tour of the campus of Nunez Community College. It was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but he was determined to bring it back for the students and the community. He worked hard along with the great people of Chalmette to make that happen and today it is thriving. With 60 years of serving his community and this state in various capacities from an educator to a legislator, Chancellor Warner’s knowledge, comradery and dedication will be missed. I wish him all the best on his retirement. There is no doubt that his contributions have left an indelible imprint on the community college system and the people he has served over the years.”
“I’ve had the honor of working with Chancellor Tommy Warner since 2007, but I’ve known about the heart and soul of Tommy Warner long before that”, said Tim Hardy, Chairman of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors. “He has been an outstanding leader for Nunez Community College. His reputation as a class act and a crusader for education is well known. You will be hard pressed to find anyone with the passion and zest for life greater than Tommy Warner. Our system will miss his wisdom, but our students and St. Bernard Parish will miss their champion. On behalf of the Board, I wish Chancellor Warner the best in retirement.”
Warner’s philosophy on education is to meet the diverse needs of the individual and the demands of a democratic and multi-cultural society. Above all, he believes the foundation of education is to provide the individual with lifetime learning through the acquisition of necessary skills in order to have a satisfying career and productive life. This philosophy is on display daily, as Warner often crosses paths with generations of families and students, which include grandparents, parents, and children,that he has impacted either as an educator or administrator. Whether in the grocery store, the local diner, or at Sunday services, Coach Warner is a well-known and beloved staple of St. Bernard Parish and South East Louisiana.
“Tommy Warner has left a permanent impression on the people of Louisiana, St. Bernard Parish, and especially Nunez Community College”, said Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. “His lifelong commitment to education, to public service, and to people is unmatched. His professional and personal mentorship has helped to develop a generation of community college leaders. My family and I wish Coach Warner and Mary all the best in retirement.”
Dr. Warner will forever be revered as a strong and dedicated leader who cares about all people and the place he has called his “second home” for the last 17 years – Nunez Community College. His leadership was on full display in August of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Southeast Louisiana. Dr. Warner, his wife, members of his faculty and staff, and some of their family members took shelter in the school’s Arts, Sciences, & Technology Building.
They were evacuated by helicopter six days after the storm. After their evacuation, Dr. Warner went to work immediately in temporary offices to get the college up and running. The college suffered severe damage as a result of the storm. Through his diligence and tenacity, and the hard work of faculty and staff, the college was able to begin classes at Slidell High School two months after the storm in October of 2005. Because of his heroism during Hurricane Katrina and the accomplishments in reopening the College for the 2005 – 2006 academic year, Dr. Warner was awarded the prestigious “2006 President’s Leadership Award” by Dr. Walter Bumphus, then president of the Louisiana Community & Technical College System.
Warner has been at the forefront of rebuilding the college campus and the college’s impact in the community and on business and industry. He has spearheaded the opening and renovation of three state-of-the-art, multi-use buildings on campus since the storm. He has also led in the growth of the college’s enrollment, number of graduates, and its reputation as one of the nation’s best Process Technology programs.
Warner graduated from Redemptorist High School in 1953 and attended Tulane University from 1953-1957. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Tulane University. He was a teacher and a coach at Holy Cross High School in New Orleans. He later moved to teaching and coaching at Chalmette High. In 1962, he began working on his Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision at Tulane University. He earned his Doctorate of Education in 1975 from the University of New Orleans.
The LCTCS will celebrate the lasting legacy of Tommy Warner in the near future. A national search to identify the best fit as chancellor will commence immediately and will be managed by the Association of Community College Trustees. Dr. Warner will remain in his current position at the college through the fall 2017 semester.