With nearly three years of service in Long Beach City College’s top job, Superintendent-President Reagan Romali could soon head north to lead a different LBCC.
The college leader is a finalist to be the next president of Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon, according to an announcement from that college.
Romali, through a Long Beach City College spokeswoman, declined to comment.
The announcement came seven months after Romali was among the top contenders to lead Miami Dade College; that search ended in late July when the college’s board voted to start the search again from scratch.
Miami Dade College is one of the largest community colleges in the country, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. With more than 55,000 students, its enrollment more than doubles that of Long Beach City College, which is roughly 25,000.
Linn-Benton, on the other hand, enrolled just more than 10,000 students in the 2018-19 academic year, according to its website.
The Linn-Benton Community College board announced Romali and two other candidates as finalists for the position “after a nationwide search” on Thursday, Feb. 6. The news was first reported last week by the Albany Democrat-Herald.
“(Linn-Benton) has a strong reputation as a champion for student and community success, and it showed in the number of distinguished candidates who applied for the position,” board chairman Jim Merryman said in a statement. “I am delighted to take the next step with these three outstanding individuals.”
The other candidates are Lisa Avery, president of Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus, in Oregon; and the president of Victoria College, in Texas, David Hinds.
Vivian Malauulu, president of the Long Beach Community College District Board, said Monday, Feb. 10, that Romali notified her that she would apply for other jobs a little more than a week ago.
Romali then told her she was able to get in last minute on some searches.
“So it happened very quickly,” Malauulu said, “that she went from applying to being a finalist.”
Malauulu said that Romali was her first choice when the board sought a new superintendent-president in 2017 and that she wishes Romali the best.
“I’m very confident she will land on her feet with a terrific new district,” Malauulu said, “and she’ll be an asset to them. I wish her well.”
Fellow Trustee Sunny Zia, meanwhile, said Romali’s potential departure would be “a huge loss” for the college.
“Anybody who’s going to hire her is going to be very lucky,” Zia said. "I certainly would hate to lose her. She’s been the crown jewel of our district.”
Trustee Uduak-Joe Ntuk said that while he didn’t know the reasoning behind the potential move, he couldn’t blame Romali for pursuing it.
“I think it’s everyone’s individual right to apply for any job they want to,” he said. “If someone sees a better opportunity for their career and family, I’m not going to say, ‘No, you shouldn’t do that.’”
Each of the three candidates to lead Linn-Benton Community College will visit the college for a public forum on Feb. 18, 19 or 20. The college did not publicize which candidates would visit on which dates.
The next president is expected to start on July 1.