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Local News

SBCC Schedules Community Forums with Four Finalists for President

The first will be held Friday with Eloy Oakley, followed by back-to-back presentations next Thursday with Willard Lewallen, Lori Gaskin and David Viar

The public will get the opportunity to meet the four finalists for Santa Barbara City College’s superintendent/president position at forums scheduled for this week and next week.

The finalists are Dr. Lori Gaskin of West Valley College in Saratoga, Dr. Willard Lewallen of West Hills College in Coalinga, Eloy Oakley of Long Beach City College in Long Beach and David Viar of American River College in Sacramento.

The college has been working to fill the position since former President Andreea Serban was dismissed by the Board of Trustees last summer in closed session. Dr. Jack Friedlander has been acting president of the college while a 16-member search committee of staff and community members has helped screen the candidates. The college also hired Stanton Chase International as consultants.

Interviews of the four candidates with the Board of Trustees will take place this week and next week, and the college hopes to select a candidate by the end of this month.

During the upcoming public forums, each candidate will have about 20 minutes to make a presentation and answer questions from the audience.

Oakley will be the focus of the first community forum, from 2 to 3 p.m. this Friday in the SBCC Administration Building, Room 211, East Campus.

Oakley was appointed to his position at Long Beach City College in 2007 and 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.

A second forum will be held next week, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the Garvin Theatre on West Campus. Lewallen will be featured from 9 to 10 a.m., Gaskin from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. and Viar from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Lewallen has served as president of West Hills College 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 for Community and Junior Colleges.

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.

Gaskin has served as West Valley 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 as 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.

Viar has been president of American River College in Sacramento 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.

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

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