The Contra Costa Community College District's Governing Board has hit the pause button on the search process for the district's next leader, delaying the chancellor recruitment effort for a month due to the novel coronavirus crisis.
Despite the postponement, district leaders still aim for the new permanent chancellor to start on the job in July at the beginning of the next school year. Interim Chancellor Gene Huff will remain in his position until the permanent hire takes the reins.
“The selection of the chancellor is one of the board’s most important jobs,” Board President Rebecca Barrett said in a statement on March 17 -- a day after the district suspended in-person classes in favor of remote and online instruction earlier this month as part of its coronavirus response plan.
“I join my fellow trustees in deciding to pause our search for 30 days," Barrett added. "We need to give our district leadership, staff and students time to focus on the COVID-19 crisis as we transition our classes and support services to a mobile format as a result of restrictions resulting from efforts to minimize the rapid spread of the coronavirus."
The district is in the process of recruiting its third permanent chancellor since 2016. Longtime leader Helen Benjamin retired at the end of that year; she was succeeded by Fred Wood, who held the position from 2017 until his retirement earlier this year.
Assisting the district in the chancellor recruitment this time around are search firm Collaborative Brain Trust and Brice Harris, a longtime California community college educator and chancellor emeritus of the California Community Colleges.
Despite hitting the pause button amid COVID-19, the goal remains to complete the search process and selection by the beginning of May, with a start date of July 1, district leaders said.
Huff's contract as interim chancellor runs through the end of December, or until a permanent chancellor is selected, whichever comes first. Huff, a San Ramon resident and district employee since 2001, had most recently worked as executive vice chancellor of administrative services since 2013.
The district includes Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill (plus the DVC satellite campus in San Ramon), Los Medanos College in Pittsburg and Contra Costa College in San Pablo.
To learn more about the chancellor search process, contact Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-715-7272. Progress reports and updates will be posted on the district website at www.4cd.edu.