Search for president begins

Jerome Janairo, News Editor

The search is on for the SRJC’s next president, and 22 candidates are already being screened for the position. With Dr. Agrella set to retire at the end of June, the Presidential Search Committee has been tasked with selecting the best candidate out of the pool.

SRJC announced it was accepting applicants for the position of President on Dec. 1, 2010, yielding 22 applicants from around the country according to Vice President of Student Services and Committee Chair Ricardo Navarrette. The applicants will undergo a series of interviews in March.

“Our goal will be to send at least three finalists to the Board of Trustees,” Navarette said.

From March 30 to April 1 the three finalists will each be assigned a date to get acquainted with SRJC via open forum. The candidates will have 90 minutes to give a presentation and answer questions from the audience. This will be a chance for SRJC students to get a glimpse and assess the leadership style of the candidates.

The Board of Trustees will select the top candidate on May 10. The new SRJC President will start on Jun. 28.

According to Navarrette, the new president will have some big shoes to fill.

“It’s going to be difficult in some ways to find a president with the kind of qualifications that our current president possesses,” Navarrette said. A broad range of experience and a strong teaching background are basic requirements, but the winning candidate must have qualities SRJC needs that go beyond what the job description and qualifications demand.

AFA President and Presidential Search Committee member Warren Ruud says the ideal candidate is similar to Dr. Agrella.

“He is very faculty and student oriented,” Ruud said about Agrella. “He’s also got a good head on his shoulder for finances, and I think that’s going to be important in the next couple of years.”

Indeed, the next SRJC President will inherit the burden of a community college system facing financial challenges and will have to maneuver the college through the rough seas of the California budget.

“The challenges are enormous,” Navarrette said. “It will be a challenge for a new leader to emulate what he [Dr. Agrella] had accomplished for 20 years. We’re hopeful that we’re going to have a strong leader who has a sense of vision and strong experience, so we can hit the ground running.”