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SBCC Names Four Finalists for Superintendent/President Position

The college will host public forums with the candidates on April 13 and 19 and hopes to name its new leader within the next month

The four finalists for SBCC’s president/superintendent position are, from left, Dr. Willard Lewallen, Dr. Lori Gaskin, David Viar and Eloy Oakley.

The four finalists for SBCC’s president/superintendent position are, from left, Dr. Willard Lewallen, Dr. Lori Gaskin, David Viar and Eloy Oakley.  (SBCC courtesy photos)

By Lara Cooper and Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writers | @NoozhawkNews |

Santa Barbara City College named four finalists Tuesday in its search for a new president/superintendent.

The college said in a statement that it hopes to name the new leader in the next month with a start date of July 1.

All four are current presidents of California community colleges:

» Dr. Lori Gaskin of West Valley College in Saratoga has served as the college’s president since 2009.

The Saratoga campus has about 12,000 students, and Gaskin previously worked at Lake Tahoe Community College for 17 years as a dean of instruction, then the vice president of Academic Affairs and Student Services.

A former science and math teacher, Gaskin was a faculty member at colleges before moving into administration. She also has served on visiting teams for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

» Dr. Willard Lewallen of West Hills College in Coalinga has served as president since 2007.

Before that, he worked at Victor Valley College in Victorville for eight years and was a professor in graduate studies for two California universities. He served on many statewide association boards and committees as well, including as an evaluator for the Accrediting Commission.

According to news reports, Lewallen also has applied for the president post at Hartnell College in Salinas and will participate in a public forum this week. Last year, he applied to be president of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo and Southwestern College in Chula Vista, but was not chosen for either position.

» Eloy Oakley of Long Beach City College in Long Beach was appointed to that position in 2007.

He has helped form partnerships between the college and local K-12 schools, four-year universities and private funding sources. He has worked in the Long Beach Community College District since 2002 and previously worked at Oxnard College and the Coast Community College District.

» David Viar of American River College in Sacramento has been president at the college since 2005.

The college serves about 38,000 full- and part-time students. Before that, Viar worked as the chief executive officer for the nonprofit Community College League of California for 15 years.

SBCC’s Board of Trustees will conduct interviews on April 13 and April 18, and will sponsor public forums with the candidates on April 13 and April 19.

A 16-member search committee was approved in February, and staff and community members on the committee have helped screen the candidates, led by co-chairmen Ron Gallo and Dean Nevins. The college also hired Stanton Chase International as consultants to find candidates.

“We had a large number of candidates express interest in the position, and we are delighted with the caliber and strong backgrounds of the four finalists,” board President Peter Haslund said, adding that the search community had been “diligent in their selection of the candidates.”

Former President Andreea Serban was dismissed by the trustees last summer in closed session. Dr. Jack Friedlander has been acting president of the college since then, and the college has been searching for a permanent candidate.

Noozhawk staff writers Lara Cooper and Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), respectively. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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» on 04.04.12 @ 12:15 PM

Given the recent noncompliance news re the Board, perhaps they should get some help from competent sources on how to select a president.

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