After a year-long search for the replacement of long-time college President John A. Davitt, Dr. Audre Levy was named frontrunner by the board of trustees April 17.
According to Anita Quinonez Gabrielian, former president of the Board of Trustees, Levy was unanimously voted as the top finalist for the position of superintendent/president by the Board of Trustees from the four candidates nominated by the hiring committee.
This decision was announced April 17 at the Board of Trustee’s meeting and they also mentioned that they would be conducting a site visit to Los Angeles Southwest College. Levy is currently the president of Southwest, and on April 20 a specialty committee visited and spoke with individuals on that campus to try to get a better feel for Levy’s management style.
According to Kathleen Burke-Kelly, the newly elected president of the Board of Trustees, the site visit went “very well.”
“[An] eight-member delegation made over 36 contacts between the college and the Los Angeles Community College District Office,” said Burke-Kelly. “Telephone interviews were conducted with Darroch “Rocky” Young, Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD); several members of the LACCD Board of Trustees; key LACCD district administrators; the [Los Angeles Southwest College] Foundation Chair, Mark Isles, who represents the community; as well as individual meetings at [Los Angeles Southwest College] with students, vice presidents, deans, and faculty and staff members.? The results of the meetings and telephone interviews were very positive.”
The final decision about the superintendent/president position will be announced on May 15, according to Burke-Kelly.
If Levy does become GCC’s new superintendent/president, at the very least, one person will not be overly happy with GCC.
“I don’t want her to leave, but I want her to do what’s best for her,” said Dan Walden, the Dean of Institutional Planning and Research at Southwest, who reports directly to Levy and admires her both as a person and as a leader.
“She cares very much about the students on campus,” said Walden. “She has a lot of open forums and town hall meetings for staff, faculty and students to get their input.”
He also mentioned that if the school was looking for someone to keep the ‘status quo’ then Levy’s not the right person. Walden said that “she’s definitely a change agent kind of person. She’s a strong leader, but not autocratic. She listens and takes opinions before making a decision. What I really, really, like about Dr. Levy is, if you’re an employee of hers, she really looks out for your future,” said Walden.
The Board decided that Levy was the top candidate after the public forum on April 12 and the final interviews that took place the following day.
“We used a progressive rating tool; we lined them up at the end and she came out on top,” said Gabrielian.
The four finalists for the posi-tion of superintendent/president, met with all the members of the college community who attended the public forum on April 12.
Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen was the first to speak, followed by Dr. Audre Levy, Dr. Sharon Kaye Dyer and finally Dr. Bonita Jacobs.
Copies of their biographies were available for perusal and on the back, there were public response forms for the audience to fill out and turn in after the forum ended.
Each candidate had 45 minutes to answer 10 questions asked by the Board of Trustees as well as a few selected questions from the audience.
Armineh Dereghishian, ASGCC president, asked each of the candidates the same 10 questions to help both the Board of Trustees and the public get to know each of the candidates better.
The forum was opened by Gabrielian who demonstrated her pride in GCC and informed the audience that it was the candidate who would be lucky to be here. “And when we find [a new superintendent/president] they are going to see that they’ve inherited one of the very best community colleges, not only in California but in our whole country. And it is the excellent institution that it is because of its people.”