The search for a new permanent college president has been extended to add additional candidates after having a virtual public forum to speak to the six current finalists.
Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez confirmed in an email that the process will continue.
“With concurrence of the Board of Trustees, the District is extending the search for a permanent president and will go back out in search of additional candidates,” Rodriguez wrote.
Rodriguez said that he expects the permanent president to start on Saturday, April 1, 2023.
“I am very pleased to share that Interim President Ara Aguiar will stay until a successor is named,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said that LA Valley College President Barry Gibbons will remain as chair of the Search & Interview Committee.
Aguiar said she fully trusts the process of the search committee to find a permanent replacement.
“They are very dedicated people with experience and it is a process,” Aguiar said. “What I told the Chancellor was that I will stay. At first I didn’t know whether I was going to apply, so that was an option for me when I became interim and with time I made a personal decision not to submit my name.”
Aguiar said it is important to find someone that will connect with the college.
She said the district is on the right track and that they make the right decisions.
“You can only make decisions with the amount of information that you have available, so why that particular outcome I don’t know, but the good thing is that this is not a one-person process,” Aguiar said. “There are multiple people and there is consultation with faculty, vice presidents and other presidents. There is also the Board of Trustees. We just have to move on to the next step.”
Aguiar is thankful for the support she has received from all departments including Athletics.
Athletic Director Susan Armenta said it was the right move if the Chancellor and district needed more time.
“It was the right decision based on the experience that he has,” Armenta said. “I’m upset that we are delaying the permanent president position, but I’m happy President Aguiar is staying because she has been very supportive of our programs.”
Armenta said continuity is good and that they are moving in the right direction with Aguiar in charge.
Dean of Student Services Claudia Velasco said the Board made the correct decision.
“President Aguiar has done an amazing job with our college and having her for several more months will benefit the college, the employees and most importantly the students as you have seen all the great work and progress that has taken place under her leadership,” Velasco said.
Velasco said they are in good hands while the search continues.
“The process to get a strong permanent president should not be rushed,” Velasco said. “Pierce College deserves a knowledgeable, caring, and capable president that will continue and increase all the work that our President Aguiar has started. If more time is required to get that person I am in favor of it.”