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Campus holds public forums for three search finalists

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A Palomar College committee has chosen three finalists in the search for a new president , and campus officials held public forums for the candidates May 18 at the Howard Brubeck Theatre.

The three finalists were Joi Lin Blake, president at Alameda College; Bryan Reece, vice president of Instruction at Crafton Hills College; and Arturo Reyes, president at Medocino College.

Palomar’s Governing Board is slated to meet at 4 p.m. May 25 to discuss hiring one of the three candidates, according to school officials.

Each candidate had their own separate forum, and were asked a series of questions from more than 100 entries, according to Mike Popielski, vice president of Human Resources and the moderator for each of the forums. The candidates were each asked the same set of questions.

Campus officials plan to have the candidate hired by summer, and working by the start of the Fall semester.

Reece, whose public forum was held from 10 to 11 a.m., said he would help ensure a smooth opening of Palomar’s south center. He added that he already helped raise enrollment at another college, and would be implementing tactics to help Palomar’s enrollment numbers from day one of his presidency.

“First of all, while we’re doing all this dynamic work, we can’t lose sight that this is a community,” Reece said.

Blake, like the other two finalists, has a background working as a faculty member. She went into the administrative side of colleges because “of the ability to use (her) influence to impact society.” As president of Alameda, Blake described her leadership style as “transformative, disruptive and empowering.”

“We are stewards of the promise,” Blake said. “We have what so many communities need so they can enjoy the American dream.”

At the third forum, Reyes said he volunteers at a credit union — which gives him an understanding of audits and other financial processes — and said his commitment to diversity encompasses all facets of the college.

“Just from the nature of community colleges, we serve the underserved,” Reyes said in response to a question about serving students.

Palomar College has been searching for a new president since Robert Deegan retired in June 2015. A previous search — which brought in two finalists who had their own public forums — was cancelled by the Governing Board in November of last year.


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Campus holds public forums for three search finalists