Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) Board of Trustees chose Dr. Reagan Romali Tuesday as the final candidate for superintendent-president.

The final vote will take place at the board's next meeting April 25, with Romali anticipated to begin her role at Long Beach City College on May 15.

She will replace Eloy Ortiz Oakley, who left LBCC in December to be California Community College System chancellor. In November, LBCC’s vice president of administrative services, Ann-Marie Gabel, was named as interim superintendent-president and took over duties when Oakley left Dec. 19.

Romali's latest job was president at Harry S. Truman College, a City College of Chicago, where she has presided since July 2011, according to a release. 

"I'm just incredibly humbled and honored by this opportunity," Romali said, noting her experiences at Truman College — including it enhancing job opportunities to students — provided her with the job's needed background. 

“I plan to continue the impressive work being done at Long Beach City College and to build on the successes the college has already achieved,” Romali said in a statement. “I look forward to returning to Southern California and serving the students in the community.”

Dr. Virginia Baxter, board president, said the board's decision was unanimous and Romali will be referred to as superintendent-elect until April 25's meeting. She noted she didn't expect any challenges or anything to change their decision.

"I think she's going to be a good match for the college," Baxter said. "She's a people person... One of the first things she said she wants to do is meet all the different constituent groups on campus. She wants people to know she's excited to be here."

Baxter also said Romali seemed very sharp and remarkable.

Among the first orders of business Baxter said Romali would tackle is using the college's strategic plan to guide her. Last year, the institution adopted the 2016-2022 strategic plan, outlining four goals and ways to implement them.

"That's going to be her guiding light," Baxter said.

Before presiding at Truman College, Romali was vice president of business services at Moreno Valley College, where she supervised a team to get the college accredited in California. She also was vice president of administrative services at Los Angeles City College. Additionally, she helped launch two Houston Community College District campuses in Qatar and taught as an adjunct faculty member for more than 10 years.

Romali is now on the Weiss Memorial Hospital of Tenet Healthcare and Uptown United board of directors and is a past member of the Chicago Sinfonietta board of directors.

Romali has an education doctorate from Walden University, a master's in business from the University of San Diego and a bachelor's in English from Rutgers University. 

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Romali to Long Beach City College,” Baxter said in a release. “She brings extensive leadership experience in education as well as her background as a faculty member to the Long Beach community. We look forward to the perspective and energy she brings to the college.”

Baxter was co-chair, with LBCCD Trustee Jeff Kellogg, of the 22-member superintendent-president ad hoc search committee, which included staff, faculty, student and community representatives.

Kellogg was unable to attend Tuesday's meeting, but voiced his approval, including this statement:

"Previously scheduled business obligations have prevented me from attending tonight's meeting," Kellogg said. "I join my fellow trustees in welcoming Reagan Romali and look forward to working with her upon her arrival at LBCC and build on the successes that have made the institution one of the finest in the state and nation." 

“The board is extremely indebted to the president search committee for dedicating significant time and effort to this process to find a new Superintendent-President for LBCC,” Baxter also noted.

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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