The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Five finalists hope to be SBCC’s next Superintendent-President

Dr. Melinda Nish

Dr. Melinda Nish was named one of the five finalists for the City College Superintendent-President position on April 14, at the Board of Trustees meeting.

Nish became Superintendent-President of Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, in January 2012. The college’s student newspaper, The Sun, reported on October 12, 2015, that the governing board voted 4-1 to grant Nish a new three-year contract and a raise. The article stated, “Nish currently makes $227,700 annually and will receive a 3.5 percent raise in 2016, resulting in $235,700.”

Nish has studied around the world, including completing her educational doctorate at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara.

Story continues below advertisement

Before hiring Nish, Southwestern’s presidential seat had been filled 10 times in nine years.

Under Nish’s leadership, the college was given a ‘warning’ from the accreditation commission. Southwestern has until March 15, 2017, to improve in 15 areas discovered in the commission’s report.

Also under her leadership, in March 2015, a group of five employees accused the school of institutionalized racism after sending a letter to Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber. An article in the Sun stated, “Among their examples are racial slurs, monkey sounds, defacing of private property and racial intimidation.”

Following an investigation into the assertions, it was found that the conduct did not rise to the level of violating discrimination laws, yet the firm criticized the college for slow response to inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

Just earlier this year in February, another racial crisis plagued the college. It was reported that a number of faculty called for the resignation of, “new EDI Director Dr. Guadalupe Rodriguez Corona, Vice President of Student Services Dr. Angelica Suarez and President Dr. Melinda Nish.” The governing board met in an emergency closed session for four hours on Feb. 19, yet did not take any following action.

Nish has not applied at any other colleges for a presidential position at this time.

Dr. Barbara Kavalier

Dr. Barbara Kavalier recently resigned as the Navarro College district president in Texas. Kavalier was president for three years, starting in 2013, and served in five districts where the college operated

She has continued to work with the college while they work to find a replacement. At a Navarro College Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, Feb. 25, Kavalier’s request to amend the contract so that she could search for other job opportunities was approved.

“Dr. Kavalier feels it’s time for a new challenge in her career,” according to Chairman Lloyd Huffman on behalf of the trustees.

Kavalier has over 30 years of experience working in education administration. Before Navarro College, Kavalier served as president of San Jose City College for two years.

While serving at San Jose City College in 2012, Kavalier rejected a recommendation from the Academic Senate to hire a full-time faculty member for the journalism department, according to the college’s student newspaper, the City College Times. Due to low enrollment, Kavalier felt it wasn’t necessary for a full-time faculty member to oversee the program.

The program recently faced danger of being cut due to low enrollment, according to a City College Times article titled This may be the last issue of the City College Times.’ This was despite the senate’s push to keep the journalism classes, despite lower enrollment, in order to continue offering the college publication.

Before San Jose, she worked as vice president of student services at San Diego Mesa College for three years, having also worked at Tacoma Community College in Washington and working for the Dallas County Community College District in Texas as an administrator for around 20 years. She also has worked for approximately 10 years as a faculty member.

Kavalier received her doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas, and also has a master’s degree in business, with a focus on human relations. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English from Texas Christian University and has an associate’s degree from Mountain View College.

Kavalier was also a finalist for the superintendent-president position at Butte College in Oroville, California, however she removed herself from the running. She is also currently in the running for president of the College of DuPage.

Kavalier has co-authored two books, “The Entrepreneurial Community College,” and “The Hiring Game, Reshaping Community College Practices.”

Dr. Kindred Murillo

Dr. Kindred Murillo became the first female president of Lake Tahoe Community College in July 2011.

Just three months ago, she announced her resignation and stated she is severely allergic to pine trees, causing health concerns for her while living in the Lake Tahoe area.

Murillo made a base salary of $165,000 while serving as Superintendent-President at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Murillo attended Barstow Community College and went on to earn a degree in business administration at Redlands University. She later went on to earn a master’s in organization development at Pepperdine University.

From 1991 to 1996, Murillo served as mayor and city council member in Yucca Valley.

Murillo began her career in education when she started working as a faculty member for the Desert Community College District. She went on to become vice president of finance and administrative services for Copper Mountain Community College District.

Murillo was named vice president of administrative services at Pasadena City College in May of 2007. After that, she served as Vice Chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District up until she took the job at Lake Tahoe.

While serving as Vice Chancellor, the Contra Costa Community College District made significant budget cuts of up to $20.5 million as enrollment rates dropped. The severe cuts in funding caused employees to lose their jobs and the district to cancel programs.

Before accepting the Superintendent-President position at Lake Tahoe, Murillo was named one of three finalists for the position of President at Las Positas College.

Dr. Anthony Beebe

Candidate Dr. Anthony Beebe was appointed President of San Diego City College in 2014.

Prior to his appointment, he spent eight years as president of San Diego City College’s continuing education. A 2014 press release by the college said he also served as Vice President of Instruction and Student Services and Vice President of Instruction at Yakima Valley Community College in Washington. He also worked as the Dean and Director of Continuing Education at Mount Hood Community College in Oregon.

Beebe is an active community member, hosting various workshops and improvement programs geared towards cultural awareness.

An article in the City Times said he secured $200,000 in April 2015, to boost regional job training.
Although his current college is aware he is one of the finalists for City College’s search, an article in the City Times said neither Beebe or the campus public information officer commented on the matter.

In 2015, the City Times reported that faculty was frustrated with administration after 41 classes were cancelled that fall semester.

Beebe said to the newspaper, “What we are trying to accomplish with enrollment management is be able to accommodate students.”

Most classes cancelled were “Learning communities” or had low enrollment. However, the college’s solar energy class was cut, despite the importance of solar energy in both the current state of the economy and worldwide environment.

Dr. Jill Stearns

Dr. Jill Stearns has been president of Modesto Junior College since July 1, 2012.

With her contract up at the end of the academic school year, Stearns is looking towards the Superintendent-President position at City College.

When Stearns was appointed president at the college, there was speculation about how long she would last because of the college’s history of six presidents in 10 years.

Prior to her career in higher education, Stearns was in business for 15 years. She served as general manager at Pecks in Avenal, California from 1987 until 1997. In 1999, she became the president and CEO of J. Stearns Inc. until 2003.

Stearns earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo in 1990. In 2002, she earned a master’s degree in instructional technology at National University in San Diego and in 2013, she earned a doctorate in community college leadership from Walden University.

Under her leadership, Modesto Junior College is in the running for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. This is a $1 million prize and only 150 community colleges in the nation are considered.

More to Discover