Hartnell College takes first step in naming permanent president

Peninsula Premier Admin

SALINAS — Hartnell College has taken its first step toward electing a permanent superintendent/president to replace Dr. Raúl Rodríguez, who has acted as the interim superintendent/president for the school since July 2020.

On Wednesday, the Hartnell Community College District governing board announced the formation of an ad hoc committee to gather information on and identify potential assistants who can help the board during its search for someone to fill the senior position.

Board trustees Candi DePauw, Alejandra Gonzalez and Raymond Montemayor will serve on the committee. This ad hoc committee will forward potential search firms, or recruitment services that find top-level candidates for senior positions, to the full board for consideration at a future meeting, board President Erica Padilla-Chavez announced at the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

This first step is in accordance with the California Community College policy that limits interim appointments for top college leaders to two years. This time limit was previously suspended by California Community College System Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley due to hiring challenges brought on by the pandemic, but the waiver expired in June 2021.

Rodríguez can continue to serve as interim superintendent/president of Hartnell until June 2022, at which time a permanent replacement must take on the role.

In the 14 months he has been Hartnell’s interim superintendent/president, Rodríguez has led the college’s transition to in-person instruction, as well as overseen the opening of a new education center in Soledad and the expansion of an education center in King City.

“Dr. Rodríguez has provided strong, steady and experienced leadership at a time of both extreme challenges and great excitement for the future,” said Padilla-Chavez.

Around half of the students enrolled in Hartnell’s fall semester returned for in-person instruction of some hybrid alternative last week.

Contributed by local news sources

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