The Board of Trustees of Hartnell Community College District has selected Dr. Willard C. Lewallen to be its next superintendent/president, effective July 1. Dr. Lewallen is currently the president of West Hills College in Coalinga.
The Board announced the selection and appointment at a Special Meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Dr. Lewallen is a native Californian and a product of the California public education system, graduating from Garey High School in Pomona. He completed a B.S. degree cum laude at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he played intercollegiate baseball. He was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship at Purdue University and completed two master's degrees there, one in exercise science and one in counseling/personnel services. While serving as a dean and adjunct faculty member at Antelope Valley College, he completed a Ph.D. in education at UCLA.
"It is an honor for me to be selected as the next superintendent/president for the Hartnell Community College District," Dr. Lewallen said. "I am joining an institution of excellence with a board of trustees that is focused on student learning, institutional quality, and effectiveness. I look forward to working with the talented and dedicated employees of the district, the board of trustees, the students, and the community in shaping the future of Hartnell College. Hartnell College has a history of success and a future of unlimited possibilities. I am excited that I have an opportunity to be a part of that future."
Dr. Lewallen has served more than 30 years in education, most of them in community colleges. He worked for five years as a counselor and academic advisor in the School of Liberal Arts at Purdue University in Indiana. He returned to California to become a counselor and articulation officer at Antelope Valley College for four years, and stayed on as its dean of counseling services and enrollment management for the next 11 years. In 1999, he became the vice president of student services of Victor Valley College. In 2007, he was named the president of West Hills College Coalinga. Throughout his career, he has continued to teach part-time at the college and graduate school levels.
"The Board is pleased to have a person of Dr. Lewallen's significant accomplishments for the District's next superintendent/president," said Board Chair Erica Padilla-Chavez. "Dr. Lewallen's vast experience in budget matters, accreditation issues, and shared governance processes will be a huge benefit to Hartnell. His sincere, demonstrated commitment to working with the community makes him a natural fit here in the Salinas Valley."
Dr. Lewallen currently serves as president of the Coalinga Rotary Club, chair of the Coalinga Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and president of the Association of California Community College Administrators, a professional organization with more than 1,000 members, and is a board member of many other community-based organizations.
The nationwide search for a new superintendent/president began with public meetings in December to develop a list of criteria desired in a new leader. The college then formed a search committee comprising faculty, staff, students, administrators, board members, and community members, who reviewed applications, selected semi-finalists, and interviewed those semi-finalists for the position. The search committee chose three finalists to advance to the Board of Trustees for its decision. The Board interviewed the candidates on March 30 and conducted site visits in April. The timeline and other details of the search are on Hartnell's website at www.hartnell.edu/president/search.