Search Is on for a New President

ALISON GELLER
El Vaquero Features Editor

The search is on for a new superintendent/president for the college.

Starting July 3 Dr. John A. Davitt, who has led GCC for the past 21 years, will no longer be in charge.

It will be the beginning of Davitt’s retirement and time for the new president, who is to be chosen in May, to begin his or her time in office as chief executive officer at GCC.

The four finalists for the position of superintendent/president are: Dr. Sharon Kaye Dyer, Dr. Bonita Jacobs, Dr. Audre Levy and Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen.

A hiring/search committee has been made up of 21 people, with Dr. Vicki Nicholson, the Director of Human Resources at GCC as chair, to find Davitt’s successor.

The committee is composed of trustees, faculty, staff, administrators, students and community leaders.

The minimum requirements for this position include a master’s degree, five years of managerial experience of a large, complex organization, and a great deal of experience as a professor of higher education.

One of the first steps the committee took was to hire search consultants to help with the hiring process.

The school chose to hire Community College Search Services, which is a small company made up of five retired community college presidents/chancellors. They have assisted in over 50 searches for community college presidents.

Dr. Jim Walker and Dr. Leslie Purdy are the two consultants who will be helping the committee with their search.

The consultants assist in preparing the interview questions, reference checks, recruiting, and developing the procedure and processes used in the search.

According to Walker, there are three reasons colleges hire outside consultants. The first is that being a superintendent/president is a very difficult job. Secondly, the applicants and selection methods need to be kept confidential, and lastly because the process needs to be kept clean; they need to comply with the law and proper procedures.

But that is all they are there for; they do not vote. “Our job is not to recommend the advance of finalists or who to hire,” said Walker.

Walker, who was president of Moorpark College for 10 years, and has been retired for three years, says that being president of a college is a lot of responsibility.

According to the brochure, the superintendent/president must oversee the operations of the whole college, which includes: planning, budget, supervision of all academic programs/student services and keeping an eye on administrative personal, to making sure that the students’ and the communities’ needs are met.

While no information could be given on the number of applicants, Walker said that, “We were very fortunate to have a very good pool of applicants.”

According to Walker the initial interviews should have been finished Saturday, then the committee will choose the finalists for the Board of Trustees to interview and sometime in April a public forum will be held so the public can meet the finalists. The search consultants will run thorough reference checks of all the finalists for the committee at this time.

The Board of Trustees will then vote on the finalists and on May 15 they will announce who they hired as the new Superintendent/President.

While most information regarding the hiring process has been kept confidential and all the committee members had to sign a confidentiality agreement, Walker did say that, “Everybody we’ve interviewed has made a sincere point of saying what a great reputation [GCC] has nationwide.”

The public forum will be held on April 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the GCC Auditorium.