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Human Resources

Columbia College President Search 2021

The search committee has selected five finalists for the position of Columbia College President.  Open forums will be held via Zoom and the campus community and public are invited to attend.  Candidate Profiles and Zoom links to their forums are available by clicking here.

The Forum schedule is as follows:

Thursday, December 9 :
9:00 – 9:45 am - Brian Sanders, Ed.D.
11:00 – 11:45 am - Nicole Albo-Lopez, Ed.D.
2:00 – 2:45 pm - Val Martinez Garcia, M.S.

Friday, December 10
9:00 – 9:45 am - Joseph Piazza, Ed.D.
2:00 – 2:45 pm - Lena Tran, Ed.D.

The Community

Columbia College is located in Tuolumne County and is adjacent to historic Columbia State Park. It is part of the ‘Mother Lode’ region, and serves a large and distributed rural area including Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties, and the Oakdale/Waterford area of Stanislaus County. The area is known for its rich cultural history, including many Gold Rush era settlements, and its proximity to outdoor natural areas and recreation, including Yosemite National Park and the High Sierra. The college is located near Sonora, CA, which offers modern shopping amenities, and is near California’s Central Valley which offers a wide variety of natural, cultural, and commercial amenities.

The District

The Yosemite Community College District (YCCD) includes two colleges (Columbia College and Modesto Junior College) and a Central Services unit. The District includes all of two counties (Stanislaus and Tuolumne) and parts of four others (Calaveras, Merced, San Joaquin and Santa Clara). The District enrolled approximately 16,000 Full Time Student Equivalencies (FTES) in the 2019-20 academic year, and a student population of around 32,000. The District employs a staff of over 1,800 individuals with an unrestricted general fund annual budget around $125 million. The YCCD is one of 72 community college districts in the State of California, and is part of the California Community College system which is the largest system of public higher education in the world with 116 separate institutions.

The District is governed by a seven-member elected Board of Trustees and the Chancellor who serves as the Chief Executive Officer. College Presidents report to the Chancellor, and serve as the Chief Administrative Officers and academic leaders on the campuses. Columbia College and Modesto Junior College are comprehensive community colleges with excellent reputations for serving their communities.

Founded in 1968, Columbia College is one of the two colleges forming the Yosemite Community College District. Modesto Junior College, the larger college in the District, was founded in 1921 and is located in the City of Modesto 60 miles from Columbia College.

Columbia College Mission Statement

Centered in the Sierra foothills, Columbia College offers students of diverse backgrounds many opportunities for discovery and success. Through a supportive and engaging learning environment, students master foundational skills, explore their passions, attain degrees and certificates, and pursue career and transfer pathways. We collaborate with surrounding communities to cultivate intellectual, cultural and economic vitality. Columbia College inspires students to become inquisitive, creative, and thoughtful life-long learners.[1]

Columbia College

Columbia College is located in the foothills of the picturesque Sierra Nevada. It sits on 280 acres of forestland in the heart of California’s historic Mother Lode region, and has been described as one of the state’s most beautiful community colleges. In addition to the main campus, the College also maintains the High Sierra Institute located at Baker Station near Sonora Pass on Highway 108.

Columbia College served around 4,500 (1,864 FTES) students on average annually through AY2019-20. It employs approximately 60 full-time faculty, 100 part-time faculty, and 100 classified staff members and managers. It has a general operating budget of around $11 million. In recent years, it has worked to greatly expand its capacity for distance education while retaining its primarily on-site instructional presence, has expanded programs for dual enrolled high school students, and has expanded programs for incarcerated students.

Columbia College offers more than 30 comprehensive instructional program pathways under two primary divisions, Arts, Sciences, and Human Performance, and Career-Technical Education. It also operates a robust Student Support Services division to support student counseling and Guided Pathways; admissions, enrollment, and financial aid; and categorically funded services like DSPS, EOPS, and TRIO.

Please visit our website at

Diversity Statement

YCCD is committed to ensuring that all qualified applicants for employment and employees have full and equal access to employment opportunity, and are not subjected to discrimination in any program or activity of the district on the basis of ethnic group identification, race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, physical disability, mental disability, ancestry, sexual orientation, language, accent, citizenship status, transgender status, parental status, marital status, economic status, veteran status, medical condition, or on the basis of these perceived characteristics, or based on association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

Recruitment Process Overview and Timeline

Request for Proposal Process

Human Resources (HR) reached out to Executive Search Firms through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

Upon review and careful consideration of the costs, it was decided that the District would not engage the services of an Executive Search Consulting firm at this time.  The Columbia College Presidential Search would be conducted through the normal YCCD recruitment process with expanded advertisement.

Recruitment Posting

HR posted the position for recruitment on Monday, September 27, 2021 with a closing date of Monday, October 25th, 2021 at 11:59pm.


The goal of advertising is to cast a wide net to attract a broad and diverse pool.

To ensure the position is advertised both at the state and national level, HR has posted the Columbia College President position with the following publications and websites:

  • Inside Higher Ed
  • Diverse Issues in Higher Education
  • ACCCA - Association of California Community College Administrators
  • National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education
  • CCC Registry

Search Committee Members

HR has confirmed the following committee members to ensure balanced representation:

Committee Chair - GH Javaheripour, Vice Chancellor of Educational Support Services

HR/EEO Representative - Kathren Pritchard (Non-voting), Senior Director of Human Resources

Community Member – Cathy Parker – Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools   

Community Member – Dave Thoeny – Executive Director of Motherlode Job Training  

YFA – Brian Greene - Librarian

YFA – Jeff Tolhurst - Instructor - Earth Science \ GIS

Academic Senate – Lahna Von Epps - Instructor - Mathematics

Academic Senate – Erin Naegle - Instructor – Biology

CSEA – Michael Baldwin - Instructional Support Specialist - Chemistry

CSEA -Luisa Adams - Library Specialist

Classified Senate – Kasey Fulkerson - Administrative Secretary

Classified Senate – Corey Stoneham – Mechanic

CC Student – Ricki Lee Korba

LTAC - Raelene Juarez

LTAC - Benjamin Marcus


Search Process Timeline

     Initial Committee Meeting:  Monday, September 27th, 2021

     Review of Applications:  Wednesday, October, 27, 2021 - Wednesday, November 10, 2021

     1st Level Interview:  November 29 and November 30, 2021

     Forum:  December 9 and 10, 2021

     Second Level Interview:  December 9 and 10, 2021

     Recommendation to the Board: January 12, 2022

     Anticipated Start Date: To Be Determined