West Hills Community College District — Chancellor

A Unique Leadership Opportunity Is Now Open In California’s Central Valley.

The West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees is conducting a national search for a new Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer for the District.

Dr. Frank Gornick has announced his retirement effective June 2017, after 23 years of distinguished service and leadership in the San Joaquin Valley, the State of California and at the national level. Under his visionary leadership, the District has become a significant contributor in the fields of technology, student systems, centralized district services to the colleges, acquisition of federal and state dollars for college growth, and economic development. Our next Chancellor will be expected to maintain our momentum and build on this legacy.

West Hills CCD prides itself on being renowned for its can-do spirit. We are committed to our profession and we care about the communities we serve — many of them small towns that dot the landscape in the Central Valley and are home to the Californians who grow, harvest and ship food to the entire world.

Above all, we are focused on assisting students to reach their educational and personal goals, which is reflected by the vision statement we adopted in 2014: “The relentless pursuit of student success.”

Over the past two decades, our ongoing strategic planning was critical in gaining the support of area voters. Residents passed bond measures to build new facilities in order to expand to a two college district, and fund the ongoing upgrade of the new technology that is so vital in today’s learning environment.

In 2011, we were chosen by the Department of Labor to head a consortium of 13 Central Valley colleges in upgrading and redesigning Career Technical Education coursework in order to get employees with marketable skills into existing skilled jobs. We coordinated efforts throughout the region which led to more jobs for trained workers and was a boon to the area economy; our streamlined Psychiatric Technician Program at West Hills College Coalinga is just one example. In 2015, the State of California recognized our unique REG 365 program with a cash award of $2.5 million because of the innovative way in which we allow students to register for classes for an entire year.

We’ve been widely recognized for our innovation and initiative, winning numerous awards and honors in the past decade including the prestigious Met Life Award for Higher Education. We are guided by the Lumina Foundation’s Degree Qualifications Profile and our Lemoore campus is an Achieving the Dream college. USA Today recently chose West Hills College Lemoore as the number one community college in Northern California, based on key metrics.

We are poised for expansion, including:

  • A new Student Union at West Hills College Lemoore, opening soon.
  • Replacement of Residence Halls at West Hills College Coalinga. Construction begins Fall of 2018.
  • All new facilities to replace the existing structure at North District Center, Firebaugh. Construction begins in the Fall of 2018.
  • A new District Office in Coalinga to house administration, business and technical support for all our facilities. Construction begins in 2016.

We are fortunate to have a strong and experienced Board of Trustees, elected by area, as well as a faculty that is engaged and focused on student success. Three of our current board members have degrees from West Hills Community College District.

The District operates an active Foundation with more than $2 million in investments under management. The generosity of area donors provides money for scholarships of all kinds, including our popular President’s Scholars Program which pays all tuition costs and reimburses students for the majority of book costs for up to two years. Each year, more than 100 of these awards go to seniors who have met academic standards at high schools within our District.

West Hills is a unique district located in Central California serving all of Kings County and the southern region of Fresno County, along with three smaller adjoining counties: Madera, Monterey, and San Benito.

West Hills College Coalinga is one of the oldest community colleges in California, founded in 1932. In 1999 the District gained approval to build California’s 109th community college in Lemoore, which opened in 2002. This expansion from a single college district launched an ongoing, ambitious building program for the new college as well as establishing new academic and CTE programs. As an Hispanic Serving Institution, the District pioneered work that saw significant increases in underrepresented enrollment and success among Hispanic students.

West Hills College Lemoore and West Hills College Coalinga, along with our North District Center, Firebaugh, serve more than 6,000 students in the central San Joaquin Valley. In addition, we operate an educational center at Naval Air Station, Lemoore. The District is predominantly rural and economically challenged by location and the educational attainment and economic mobility of its citizens. Our students are diverse and geographically disbursed.

The ideal candidate for the position will be comfortable in a rural setting. The District Office is near Fresno, the closest urban area, and Visalia, Lemoore and Hanford. It is 65 miles east of Paso Robles and 85 miles from California’s scenic central coast.

The new Chancellor will inherit a team of educators that are innovative and focused on our mission to enhance the lives of the people we serve. We lead the way in developing educational plans, priority registration, and open educational resources.

You will know you are an ideal candidate for this position if you: 

  • want to make a difference in the lives of the communities we serve;
  • are comfortable with a nontraditional organizational hierarchy, flatter than most, in which we all wear many hats;
  • enjoy interacting with students and faculty;
  • are approachable and comfortable being addressed by your first name;
  • willingly examine what you’re doing on a continual basis and are committed to using data to make decisions;
  • have used your communication skills— both written and oral—to persuade, inspire and engage people and groups in sometimes uncomfortable conversations.

Some of our core values we’d expect you to share: 

  • We hold in high regard our professional working relationships with faculty, classified staff, students and our communities.
  • We view our diverse community as an asset and encourage diversity in our workforce.
  • We strive to remain in the very strong fiscal condition for which our District is known.
  • We enjoy strong support from within our communities.
  • We are comfortable using technology in performing our daily tasks.
  • We live, eat, and breathe student success.

For More Information 
A detailed job description can be accessed on the District web site (below), including: a Summary, Essential Duties and Responsibilities, Qualifications, Exam and Background Check Requirements, and Working Conditions.

For additional information, nominations, and confidential inquiries, please contact:

Dr. Tom Harris, Consultant
(208) 315-0986 or harristk@icloud.com

Becky Cazares, Director of Human Resources
(559) 934-2159 or beckycazares@whccd.edu

Application procedures:
To be considered for this exciting opportunity, please apply online at: www.westhillscollege.com/chancellor-search

West Hills Community College District is an equal opportunity employer and encourages candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply.