Chattanooga State has named a new Interim President.

Dr. Fannie Hewlett will return to campus next month to serve as president.

Hewlett retired from Chatt State last June, following 35 years at the college where she served as a Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The search continues for a permanent president though.

School officials tell me they plan to move fast to find the perfect candidate, but will be careful with their choosing, in hopes to have a fresh start and healing.

It's been a busy couple of months for board members at Chattanooga State.

The school's former president, Jim Catanzaro, retired at the end of last year after making a questionable hire involving an under qualified woman.

But school officials say despite the issues, they haven't slowed down.

"We have not missed a beat and we won't. We have a great faculty and staff who love working with students," said Eve Lewis, Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness, Research, & Marketing

Dr. Warren Nichols served as the Interim President immediately after Catanzaro's retirement, but on Wednesday Chattanooga State announced Dr. Fannie Hewlett, former Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the college, will take over on February 2.

"We're very confident in Dr. Hewlett's appointment because she worked here for many years," said Lewis. "She's very familiar with the college. She's extremely familiar with the priorities the TBR has for us and we are in alignment with."

However, she nor Nichols will be applying for the position.

"It was made very clear that whoever was made interim would not be eligible to apply for the permanent president position,” said Lewis. "It wouldn't be a fair procedure."

The process for a new leader will take a little time according to Lewis.

"It's a very careful and thoughtful process, it's detailed and lengthy," said Lewis.

They're looking for someone with the ability to lead a junior college and college of applied technology.

"We really have to have a president that can understand both of those worlds," said Lewis.

Lewis says finding a new president is the first step to healing.

"The mood coming back after the holidays has been so positive and people are just excited to be doing what we're supposed to be doing without distractions," said Lewis.

Lewis says the Tennessee Board of Regents will conduct a national search and will put together a hiring committee chaired by a TBR representative.

The committee will be comprised of not only TBR reps, but college community members, students and community leaders.

The job has not been officially posted, but they do expect for it to be soon.

They plan to have the position filled by July 1, in time for the new school year.