Palomar College president search yields finalists — again

SAN MARCOS — One year, two searches and more than $60,000 later, Palomar College appears to be closing in on a new president/superintendent.

The college district announced this week that the finalists were Joi Lin Blake, president College of Alameda; Bryan Reece, Crafton Hills College’s vice president of instruction; and Arturo Reyes, the superintendent and president of Mendocino College.

The announcement came six months after the district suspended its first search for a permanent replacement for Robert Deegan, who retired in July 2015.

It appeared the college was set to select Deegan’s replacement in October, when they announced two finalists and held a round of public question-and-answer sessions and a board interview of both candidates.

But the college announced in mid-November that it was closing the search without hiring either of the candidates, Gregory Anderson of Cañada College; and Lynn Neault of the San Diego Community College District.

College officials declined to state the reasons for suspending the first search, because the deliberations occurred in closed session and are therefore confidential.

The first search was headed by PPL, Inc., a recruitment firm that specializes in California community college executive searches. The district paid $26,000 for the search, according to the district’s contract with the firm.

The Board in March approved a new contract with recruiting arm of the South Lake Tahoe-based Association of Community College Trustees, the nonprofit group that represents college trustees. That contract was for $35,000 plus travel expenses.

The new finalists on Wednesday participated in similar public forums to the ones that Anderson and Neault did in November.  The video of the forums was released Thursday.

Before serving as College of Alameda’s president, Blake served as vice president of student services at Skyline College as a dean at San Diego Mesa College; as well as a policy assistant for the U.S. Department of Education, in the Offices of the Under Secretary of Education, and Vocational and Adult Education.

Blake was also the academic senate president professor at Southwestern Community College.

Blake received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Science with a minor in Spanish from San Francisco State University; and a Master of Science in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.

Before Crafton Hills, Reece served as a dean, academic senate president at political science professor at Cerritos College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, a Master of Arts in Political Science, and a Ph.D. in Political Science all from the University of Southern California.

Reyes, who has served as Mendocino’s superintendent since 2012, also served as an executive vice president at Solano Community College District; as well as various positions at San Jose City College, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office; and Consumnes River College.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with a Sociology Minor and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from California State University, Sacramento; and in fall 2016 he is expected to complete a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership at the University of California, Davis.

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