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Long Beach City College's Eloy Ortiz Oakley talks about his time as superintendent-president of LBCC.

With Long Beach City College Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley leaving to become chancellor of the California Community Colleges (CCC) at the end of the year, the process for his replacement has begun.

Oakley will begin his statewide role on Dec. 19, and his last day is near that time, LBCC Board of Trustees president Ginny Baxter said. The board wants to have his replacement onboard by next spring, but Baxter said choosing the right person trumps starting time.

“We want to hire someone even if they can’t start until July 1 (2017),” Baxter said.

In the meantime, the board will choose an interim replacement at the Nov. 8 meeting, she said. Baxter was elected to the LBCCD District 5 Trustees position in 2014 and became president earlier this year.

Prior to choosing Oakley’s replacement, three forums this Friday, Oct. 21, will allow people to voice what qualities they’d like to see in a president: one each for faculty, classified staff and open community. Anyone can attend the community forum, from noon to 1 p.m. in Dyer Hall at LBCC’s Pacific Coast Campus, 1305 E. Pacific Coast Highway.

The feedback will be used to design the position description and vacancy announcement. For more information, call (562) 938-4353 or (562) 938-4846.

Finding a replacement could be rather difficult, which is why the board is starting now, Baxter said. At the board meeting Sept. 27, the national firm Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) was hired for $32,000 to lead the search. At Oct. 18’s board meeting, ACCT education executive vice president Narcisa Polonio was expected to present a timeline of ACCT’s actions.

The college hasn’t used the firm before, Baxter said. Vice president/assistant superintendent Ann Marie Gabel’s agreed.

“(But) they’re (ACCT) very familiar with LBCC,” Baxter said. “They won’t have to study what we’re like.”

After collecting people’s feedback, ACCT will write a superintendent-president draft profile, according to its presentation outline. They then will submit it to the board for approval.

The search/selection committee is expected to have its first meeting the week of Dec. 5, with orientation and training on roles and responsibilities. The committee will be chosen by the five board members, who will each choose a community representative from their district, Baxter said.

The committee is expected to finalize the candidates in February 2017, who will then participate in college-wide open forums.

“They’ll look at all the applications that meet the qualifications, meet several times and forward us three to five people to select,” Baxter said of the committee.

By early March 2017, the board might visit the number one candidate’s institution, with the final selection and announcement sometime that month.

Baxter said choosing Oakley’s replacement is a very important decision.

“I am a very big supporter of Eloy,” Baxter said. “He was involved in the community and statewide. He was dedicated to student success… This is a unique community. We have very strong links and we want to keep it that way.”

Baxter said she’s personally also looking for someone who shows staying power and new ideas.

“We have a longevity here,” she said. “We want to see that, too. I think that’s what makes our college great… We had the College Promise and the scholarship part. Eloy gave us that.”

For more information on the board meetings, visit www.boarddocs.com/ca/lbcc/Board.nsf/Public.

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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