BEND, OR -- The search for the next President of Central Oregon Community College is narrowed to three finalists. At the Board of Directors' Wednesday meeting, the group selected Dr. Kimberlee Messina (left), from Foothill College in California, Dr. Tod Treat (center), from Wenatchee Valley College in Washington and Dr. Laurie Chesley (right), from Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan.
COCC's Ron Paradis says all three are strong candidates, "These three focused a lot on students and student success and their experiences at other community colleges. I think that’s what set them apart from some of the other candidates, was their real desire to serve students, and to serve the community college mission." He tells KBND News the school is working to avoid the missteps suffered during its last Presidential search, in 2014, when the board discovered its top pick failed to disclose he was on administrative leave and under investigation. "We’re working closely with a consultant to make sure we know a lot about these candidates before they come to campus and find out even more, then. I believe these are strong, very highly-capable people who have good experience at community colleges elsewhere."
The finalists are scheduled to visit the region separately, in early February, "They will be here for two days, that will include a formal interview with the board of directors, a tour around the campus and meetings in Redmond, Madras and Prineville, in addition to a series of meetings on the Bend campus with faculty, staff and students, and also a community meeting, here in Bend." For more on the candidates and the complete schedule of their visits, click HERE.
Also at Wednesday's meeting, the board appointed former Bend Mayor Jim Clinton to fill the Zone Five seat vacated by the sudden resignation of John Mundy, last month. Paradis says they received three applications for the vacancy, but one stood out, "Dr. Clinton came in and did a great job in his interview, talking about students and the community college mission and what he thought he could do to help us move forward." He says it was important to get the position filled quickly, "Because our board members are appointed by zones based on population, if we had one vacancy, that would be one part of the community that would not be represented as we were looking for this new President." That Zone Five seat will appear on the May ballot and Paradis says Clinton plans to run to maintain his position.