Columbia Gorge Community College constituents, staff and faculty will have opportunity to visit with four presidential search finalists early in June.
College board members, following recommendations of a 13-member search committee, this week announced the selection of potential successors to Dr. Marta Yera Cronin, who will be leaving the college effective June 30 to assume a community college presidency in Pennsylvania. The announcement came during Tuesday’s board meeting.
The four candidates are:
- Dr. Anne Howsare Boyens, provost, Des Moines Area Community College, Des Moines, Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Community College Leadership from Iowa State University and an MA in Education from the University of Iowa.
- Dr. Jerry Fliger, vice president of instruction, Texas City, Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Bowling Green State University and an MA in Speech Communications from Miami University (OH)
- Dr. Ken Lawson, vice president of instruction, Skagit Valley College, Mt. Vernon, Washington. He holds a Ph.D in Political Science from University of Washington and an MA in Political Science from the University of Utah.
- Dr. Rachel Solemsaas, chancellor, Hawaii Community College, Hilo, Hawaii. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership, with emphasis on community college from Washington State University and MPA from the University of Washington.
“The presidential search attracted 33 candidates, representing an impressive array of experience and ability,” said Nathanael Stice, a college board member and search committee chair. The search committee was appointed by the college board, composed of 13 members representing diverse voices from the college and surrounding communities. (The list of participants is below.)
“It was no small task to narrow the list down to four finalists, and I am grateful for work of the search committee members, who put in countless hours helping select CGCC’s next president. I want to thank them for their service to our community,” Stice said.
The successful candidate will be only the fourth president in the institution’s history, which began in 1977 as “Treaty Oak Community College,” using downtown office space in The Dalles. In 1979 directors changed the name to Columbia Gorge Community College. Since then the college has expanded to permanent locations in Hood River and The Dalles, offering myriad degrees and certificates.
“Our next president will build upon that legacy,” said Tim Arbogast, college board chair. He noted that the college will celebrate its 50 th anniversary in only four years’ time, while referencing the college’s longstanding mission statement. “We’re eager to welcome the successful candidate to our Columbia Gorge region, and excited to help that individual shape our college’s future as we approach the next half-century of ‘building dreams and transforming lives,’” Arbogast said.
Public sessions with the candidates will be scheduled in early June, with details to be announced next week. There will also be internal “meet and greets” with staff and faculty at both campuses.
Search committee members are: Supt. Rich Polkinghorn of Hood River County School District; Dr. Judy Richardson, a director of the North Wasco County School District board who teaches at Oregon Health Sciences University; Hood River business owner Mary Gumm, board president of Columbia Gorge Community College Foundation; Andrea Klaas, executive director of the Port of The Dalles; Heather Ficht, executive director of East Cascades Workforce Investment Board; Max Janasik, chief executive officer of One Community Health; college board members Nate Stice and Kim Morgan; Kailee Durant, a student enrolled in the college’s construction trades program who also serves as Associated Student Government president; Dr. Jessie Herrada Nance, a full-time writing and literature instructor at CGCC; Robert Clark, director of career technology education at CGCC and advanced manufacturing instructor; Lisa AbuAssaly George, the college’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion; Dr. Lorelle Davies, chief financial officer at CGCC; and Blanca Aunger, of the college’s Student Services department.
The college board contracted with American Community College Trustees (ACCT), a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, to conduct the search. ACCT’s consultant was Dr. Luke Robins.