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CGCC begins search for new president

The Columbia Gorge Community College board of education speaks with Dr. Preston Pulliams of Gold Hill Associates (seated with his back to the photographer)  about the process of searching for a new president of the college during Tuesday’s board meeting. Seated at the table are board members Dana A. Campbell, Dr. Kevin McCabe, Lee Fairchild, Stu Watson, Charlotte Arnold and Kim Morgan. Not pictured is board member Sarah Segal, who joined the meeting at times via a telephone connection.

Photo by Mark Gibson
The Columbia Gorge Community College board of education speaks with Dr. Preston Pulliams of Gold Hill Associates (seated with his back to the photographer) about the process of searching for a new president of the college during Tuesday’s board meeting. Seated at the table are board members Dana A. Campbell, Dr. Kevin McCabe, Lee Fairchild, Stu Watson, Charlotte Arnold and Kim Morgan. Not pictured is board member Sarah Segal, who joined the meeting at times via a telephone connection.



Members of the Columbia Gorge Community College search committee, appointed Tuesday, are:

• Supt. Candy Armstrong, North Wasco County School District;

• Annette Byers, CGCC math faculty;

• Dana Campbell, CGCC board member and retired public librarian;

• Martin Campos-Davis, Oregon Human Development Corporation;

• Martha Capovilla, CGCC foundation board member and business owner;

• Danny Dehaze, CGCC information technologies staff member;

• Dr. Kristen Dillon, family practice physician and director of Columbia Gorge Coordinated Care Organization;

• Lee Fairchild, CGCC board member and retired geologist;

• Cyndi Gentry, human resources directors, Northern Wasco People’s Utility District;

• Dan Goldman, Hood River County School District superintendent;

• Rob Kovacich, CGCC chemistry faculty;

• Mary Martin, CGCC instructional services staff;

• Jonathan Neptune, Associated Student Government vice president at CGCC;

• Stephen Shwiff, history and business administration faculty and department chair, Career and Technical Education, CGCC;

• Andrea Padilla Smith, CGCC student;

• Dr. Eric Studebaker, chief student services officer at CGCC;

• Jeanie Vieira, chief executive officer, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital

The search for the next president of Columbia Gorge Community College entered a key phase this week with selection of a 17-member search committee by the board of education.

The volunteer committee represents various public sectors as well as college students, faculty and staff. Dr. Preston Pulliams, former president of Portland Community College and CEO of national search firm Gold Hill Associates, is conducting the search.

“This will be an open process,” Pulliams told the board during its regular meeting Tuesday evening. He noted the position will be advertised and marketed so candidates recognize it as a truly open opportunity, rather than one that has already been decided. As applications are received, Pulliams will be able to tell the board what the candidates would look like in the job and how they work, he said. A full report, including a complete reference check, will be made on all final candidates.

“I only take one active recruitment project at one time,” Pulliams said, assuring the board of his undivided attention.

Pulliams will attend the various forums, gathering information that will guide the search process. He cautioned board members Tuesday that the marketplace for community college presidents is competitive, but said CGCC’s location should prove attractive, as should the institution’s continuing commitment to innovation and constructive change.

He also noted that the college’s severance with former president Dr. Frank Toda was seen in the community as having been done in a positive and respectful manner, which would help in the search process.

In setting the criteria for prospective candidates, Pulliams said the positive aspects of the job, as well as the challenges, will be presented to candidates.

In addition to appointing the committee, board members also expressed what they were looking for in a president.

“I want someone who isn’t going to be scared about what they are walking into,” said board member Dana Campbell. “I’d like to see us building a sense of community.”

“The college right now doesn’t have any vibrancy within the community.”

A good understanding of budgeting and law was also critically important, she added.

“I haven’t seen integration of the college with the wider community,” said board member Kim Morgan. “I’d like to see someone with a strong desire to build and maintain relationships.”

“I would like someone who really creates a buzz about this school,” agreed board member Lee Fairchild. “I want the students here to be really excited about being here. I hope a new president would create that environment.”

College directors hope to select the institution’s next president, who will become only the third president after Dr. William Bell and Toda, in the spring. A detailed time line is under review this week by the search committee.



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