WTCS Board Announces Finalists for System President Position | WTCS Skip to content

WTCS Board Announces Finalists for System President Position

The Wisconsin Technical College System Board today announced its finalists for the WTCS president position. The finalists are Robert Griggs and Layla Merrifield.

“I am delighted that our national search yielded a wealth of exceptional candidates,” said S. Mark Tyler, WTCS Board Chair. “This is an important position within Wisconsin’s educational landscape. The incoming president will steer our state’s largest higher education system toward a promising next chapter. On behalf of the Board, I thank the search committee for their work and look forward to talking with Mr. Griggs and Ms. Merrifield during the final interviews.”

Robert J. Griggs, J.D., has served as the President of Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the last eight years. Prior to his current position, he served 16 years in progressively responsible leadership roles as dean, CIO, chief academic officer and vice president for innovation at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College in Minnesota. Mr. Griggs completed a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Dakota and a juris doctor degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Layla Merrifield has been the executive director of the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, an organization representing the trustees of the 16 Wisconsin technical colleges’ district boards, since 2015. Prior to that she served as a fiscal analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau then a Wisconsin Technical College System policy advisor. Ms. Merrifield has a bachelor’s degree in politics from Hendrix College and she is the chair of the Community College Association Executives.

Read more about each of the candidates at

The next leader will help WTCS meet its vision to empower technical colleges to recognize the unique needs of individuals and employers in driving economic prosperity for all. WTCS will continue to promote lifelong learning as a model for the advancement of all communities throughout Wisconsin.

The search committee comprised five WTCS Board members as well as representatives from college Board and leadership teams. Final interviews will be conducted by the WTCS Board in August.

About Wisconsin Technical College System

The Wisconsin Technical College System offers more than 500 programs awarding two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas, short-term technical diplomas, and certificates. The System is the major provider of customized instruction and technical assistance for Wisconsin employers. With more than 280,000 people enrolling each year, it is the largest higher education system in the state.