President Parsons announces new leadership hires

Colorado State University President Amy Parsons today announced several key appointments to open leadership positions at the University, including the hiring of two long-time campus communications leaders and the superintendent of one of the state’s largest urban school districts.

“While my preference is to do national searches for key positions, I have a lot of openings to fill in the CSU leadership team, and the opportunity came up to make some direct appointments in a few positions where it made sense and adds both experience and diversity into my senior leadership team,” Parsons said. “I’m pleased to have been able to attract three outstanding, seasoned leaders who will be able to hit the ground running over the next few months.”

Parsons announced the following hires:

  • Rico Munn
    Rico Munn

    Rico Munn, superintendent of Aurora Public Schools since 2013, will join the Office of the President as Parsons’ chief of staff July 1. Munn’s experience also includes service as executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. He served on the Board of Governors of the CSU System from 2013-2020, including two years as chair; on the Colorado Board of Education from 2003-2007; and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Midland University. Munn graduated with a BA from Midland Lutheran College and earned his juris doctorate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He also has a graduate certificate in crisis management from St. Joseph’s University.“Rico and I have worked together for many years, and I have enormous trust in his judgment and experience,” Parsons said. “As head of one of the state’s largest and most diverse school districts, he brings a deep understanding of Colorado education at all levels that will be invaluable as we seek to strengthen our commitment to educational access and equity. He also has considerable experience leading large teams of people in a complex organization, and that managerial strength will help us keep all of our University priorities and goals on track.”

    The chief of staff oversees operations and budgets for the Office of the President at CSU, leads special projects on the president’s behalf, and represents the president in key meetings and discussions. The position has been filled on an interim basis by Professor Albert Bimper since last June.

  • Kyle Henley
    Kyle Henley

    Kyle Henley, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the University of Southern California, will become the University’s vice president for marketing and communications May 1. Prior to joining USC, Henley was vice president for university communications at the University of Oregon, and before that he was a senior member of Colorado State’s communications team – first as director of Denver PR from 2011-2014 and then as assistant vice president for strategic communications from 2014-2015. He came to CSU after serving as corporate communications manager for CoBank, one of the largest private banks providing financial services to support agribusiness, rural infrastructure, and Farm Credit customers in the U.S. Henley is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and Harvard’s Kennedy School Executive Education Program in Crisis Leadership in Higher Education.“Kyle is widely regarded as a national leader in higher education communications, having successfully led the teams at two of the country’s most high-profile research universities,” Parsons said. “He also has an exceptional, established network here in Colorado that will allow him to move seamlessly into the VP role.”

    The Division of Marketing and Communications oversees CSU’s Marketing and Brand Management, Strategic Communications, Community Affairs and Engagement, CSU Magazine, and Social and Digital Media. CSU Professor Greg Luft has led the division during the interim period, since the departure of former Vice President Yolanda Bevill.

  • June Greist
    June Greist

    June Greist, who has been communications director for the Bohemian Foundation since 2014, will return to CSU as director of presidential and administrative communications, effective March 6. She previously held leadership roles in CSU’s Marketing and Communications Division from 1997-2005. Greist attended the University of Colorado as a President’s Leadership Scholar and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wellesley College.“June has deep roots at CSU and in the Fort Collins community, and she’s worked closely with many people on our campus over the years beginning when she was on staff, then as a consultant, and then through her role at the Bohemian Foundation,” Parsons said. “Most recently, she partnered with our team to announce Bohemian’s remarkable gift in honor of the anniversary of Title IX. Her passion for education, experience as a communications strategist, and deep commitment to access and equity make her a great fit for this role. I’m so happy we’re getting her back on campus.”

    The director of presidential and administrative communications manages presidential communications including correspondence, social media, web content, constituent relations, and speechwriting. It was last filled on a permanent basis by Ann Claycomb, who moved to the College of Liberal Arts.

Other moves

In addition to these three hires, Parsons announced that Interim Vice President for Engagement and Extension Kathay Rennels and Interim Director of Operations for Engagement and Extension CJ Mucklow will continue in those roles into the next fiscal year, until a search for a new VP is concluded. That is expected to happen in spring 2024.

The University will soon launch a national search for a permanent provost and executive vice president, a role currently filled by longtime Dean of Natural Sciences Jan Nerger on an interim basis. Other searches now in progress or soon to get underway include searches for a VP for Human Resources, VP for University Advancement, and VP for Research (current VP Alan Rudolph announced his intention to retire July 1). Parsons chose to eliminate one vice presidential position that was vacant, the VP for Strategy.