Committee searches for president

Group meets, continues process to find potential candidates

By Magali Mercado, Staff Writer

The search for a new college president has officially begun.

Chancellor Helen Benjamin, the Governing Board, along with the Presidential Search Committee, will commence the search.

The Presidential Search Committee had its first meeting on Nov. 3.

It contains representatives from various groups at the college and the district, Director of Business Services Mariles Magalong said.

The group consists of  two members representing Management Council, one person representing United Faculty, three representatives from Academic Senate, one member representing Local 1, two members representing Classified Senate, the ASU president and two members from the Chancellor’s Office and Governing Board.

Dr. Benjamin said that the committee has a good amount of say in the search because it manages the interviews and recommends the finalists.

The chancellor also hired a search firm to coordinate and facilitate the whole process, Magalong said.

Recruitments will continue throughout November until January. The search is opening up nationwide.

“We want to get as many candidates as possible, as long as they fit the criteria,” Benjamin said.

There is a list of qualifications that each candidate must have in order to be qualified and considered for the position.

Benjamin said someone with integrity is one of the many characteristics she is looking for in the new president.

The application is located online at and lists the qualifications for the college president.

Executive Vice Chancellor Eugene Huff said, “We need someone who will help the college grow.”

Huff said, “Contra Costa (College) is undergoing major changes and the president will inherit that. There are some challenges they have to be addressed, like low enrollment, but there are a lot of positive opportunities for them as well.”

The Presidential Search Committee will screen the candidates. It will then have a meeting before interviews begin.

According to the college website, three meetings involving the Presidential Search Committee  are scheduled for February.

The finalists that are chosen will then go through a series of informal meetings, public forums and interviews with the chancellor in early March.

Benjamin said she will meet with the Presidential Search Committee to discuss the finalists. The Governing Board will also hold a meeting to discuss the finalists. Benjamin will be part of the final interview process along with the board.

The finalists will meet with the Governing Board  on March 17, 2016. After this meeting,  Benjamin will announce the new president.

The president will be able to negotiate their start date for the new position.

Interim President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh will hold the presidential position until the search is completed.

Benjamin said, “It is a very exciting time for the college. There is a lot going on and it is a good time for the college to be choosing a new leader.”