Steve McCleery, Ed.D.


Dr. McCleery retired after 18 years of service as President of New Mexico Junior College in August 2016. He has over 40 plus years of experience in higher education and has also served in a variety of roles, including Dean of Arts and Sciences, Director of Athletics, and Professor of Physical Education. Dr. McCleery earned his Doctorate in Educational and Supervision from the University of New Mexico, a Master’s of Education from Texas Tech University, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Lubbock Christian University.

For over 32 years, Steve McCleery dedicated his time and energy to build, advance, and lead New Mexico Junior College and its athletics programs into one of the premier higher-learning institutions in New Mexico.

Arriving at NMJC in 1984 as Coordinator of Caster Activity Center, McCleery maintained and promoted a robust community fitness program, coordinated all NMJC Intramural programs, taught several classes, and managed all events at Caster Activity Center. He was also the Thunderbirds Women’s Basketball coach for the 1986-87 season.

McCleery then became Director of Athletics in 1988, creating the Thunderbirds Booster Club to support all NJCAA sports at New Mexico Junior College. He oversaw all compliance issues and eligibility records for athletes, managed all athletic facilities, hired faculty, coordinated fitness programs, and served as liaison between the community, the staff, and the athletic department.

McCleery’s career grew at NMJC, first as Dean of Arts and Sciences from 1991-1998, and then as President of the College from 1998 until he retired in 2016. During his tenure, enrollment grew and facilities were added and remodeled, including new student housing, expansion of student services facilities, installation of smart technology in classrooms, a new workforce training center, a museum, and more. Assets of the NMJC Foundation were expanded to give more scholarships to deserving students; and online classes were created to offer additional educational opportunities. The financial health of the College continued to grow under McCleery’s leadership, guided by strategic planning and master planning activities.

Steve McCleery is an exceptional leader, a trusted mentor to students and a groundbreaker in education.