FAIRFIELD — Three men, all from New England, have been named as finalists in the search for the next president of Kennebec Valley Community College.

Finalists are Charles Collins, a Thomas College graduate who leads a statewide education program; Richard Hopper, who has overseen academic programs in Switzerland and the Kyrgyz Republic; and William Nevious, the former president of an arts school. The names of the finalists were announced Thursday by Maine Community College System spokeswoman Helen Pelletier.

The names were forwarded for review to John Fitzsimmons, president of the college system, she said. They were selected from a pool of six candidates who visited the campus in the last four weeks, she said.

Pelletier said the goal is to provide the college system’s board of trustees with a nominee for the position at its Nov. 28 meeting.

Professional, educational and other information about the finalists was provided by Pelletier.

Collins, of Portland, is the state director of the community college system’s Early College for ME program, a position he has held since 2006. The program helps high school students get into community colleges by providing scholarships, advising and early college courses.

Collins also was interim president of Washington County Community College and dean of students at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. He has a master’s in business administration from Thomas College in Waterville and a doctorate in higher education leadership from Nova Southeastern University in North Miami, Fla.

Hopper, of Westport Island, is a senior education specialist for the World Bank, an international organization dedicated to combating global poverty. Since taking the position in 1998, he has been chief academic officer in the University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan and with the Aga Khan Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland. According to a career summary from the World Bank, Hopper has 25 years of experience in higher education.

Hopper received a master’s and doctorate from Harvard University.

William A. Nevious, of Derry, N.H., is the former president of Chester College of New England. Nevious left the small liberal arts college in 2006. It announced earlier this year that it was closing its doors. Nevious has also was president of Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga., and as vice president of academic affairs at Hesser College in Manchester, N.H.

Nevious received a master’s and doctorate from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.

The new president will succeed Barbara Woodlee, who has been president at KVCC for 28 years. Woodlee planned to retire in 2010, but the college has not yet been able to successfully identify a successor, despite two national searches.

Woodlee announced in May that she plans to retire at the end of this year. She has overseen the start of a dramatic campus expansion that began with the January purchase of 700 acres from the Good Will-Hinckley campus on U.S. Route 201.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287

mhhetling@centralmaine.com