BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College is close to naming its next President to replace Dr. Shirley Metcalf, who retires in June. The top three candidates - Dr. Kimberlee Messina (above, left), Dr. Tod Treat (above, center) and Dr. Laurie Chesley - completed campus visits and on-site interviews over the past two weeks. The Board of Directors met last weekend to get feedback from faculty and staff.
COCC’s Ron Paradis says the process is very different compared to the last Presidential search, when only one candidate rose to the top. "This one, all three candidates are very strong. Every person that came in to talk to the Board representing their employee group said, ‘you have three strong candidates.’ That was the best news. Then, the different people talked through what they liked about the different candidates; what they might have had some concerns about." He tells KBND News many of those concerns involve work experience, "Both Dr. Treat and Dr. Chesley have been vice presidents at bigger colleges but it would still be a step up. They’ve ‘never been a president.’ I know in Madras it was discussed – because we do a lot of work in Madras with Deer Ridge Correctional Institute – only one of the candidates has ever worked with a prison population. There were things in some of their pasts where jobs may not have worked out well in the long run. But, you know, those have happened to all of us. So, who’s ready to step in and do the job right now?"
Paradis says the Board is aware their decision needs to be made fairly quickly, "A couple of [the candidates] are finalists at another college in Oregon. They haven’t done their interviews yet; we have. So, we’re a little bit ahead in that way. But, it’s important that we’re able to compete." And, he says, COCC has a leg up because living in Central Oregon is such an enticing benefit.
According to Paradis, the next step is to zero in on a top choice, "Second, it would be the contract negotiations. And, the third would be, we do plan on doing a site visit to a campus of, at least the one person, if not two people who are the finalists." He expects they’ll name their top choice before the end of the month.