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A Unique Leadership Opportunity
Is Now Open In California's Central Valley
The West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees is conducting a national search for a new Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer for the District.
Dr. Stuart Van Horn has announced his retirement effective June 2021, after 35 years of distinguished service and leadership in the San Joaquin Valley and the State of California. Under his visionary leadership, the District has become a significant contributor in the fields of technology, student systems, leadership development, curriculum diversification to the colleges, acquisition of federal and state dollars for college growth, fiscal stability, and economic development.
Chancellor Van Horn was relentless in equity issues, particularly throughout disadvantaged communities on the west side of the valley. He led numerous initiatives that focused on Broadband inequities, pushed for legislative policy mandates to foster systemic improvement in access to educational opportunity, was an aggressive, consistent voice of support for the west side with Fresno and Kings county agencies and in educating state policy makers to address achievement gaps hindering social mobility for citizenry in the district.
His ability to communicate created a transparent, collaborative culture of support with labor constituent groups, secondary education, and local community-based organizations. He provided vision and the work ethic to complete local initiatives throughout the valley that emphasized upward mobility. His work to widen student demand by broadening the type and mix and delivery of courses grew enrollment at the district throughout his tenure, and he increased industry forums and philanthropic partnerships that elevated the West Hills brand well beyond its district borders.
The next Chancellor will be expected to maintain our momentum and build on this legacy. West Hills CCD prides itself on being renowned for its can-do spirit. We are committed to our profession and we care about the communities we serve — many of them small towns that dot the landscape in the Central Valley and are home to the Californians who grow, harvest and ship food to the entire world. Above all, we are focused on assisting students to reach their educational and personal goals, which is reflected by the vision statement we adopted in 2014: “The relentless pursuit of student success.”
In 2017, West Hills became the only multi-college district in the state to earn three Governor’s Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. The District has a history of using its unique operational structure to move quickly to embrace innovation. It is built into our culture.
We are poised for expansion, including:
- All new facilities to replace the existing structure at North District Center, Firebaugh with an estimated construction completion date of spring 2022.
- Infrastructure improvements at West Hills College Coalinga.
- A new career and technical education facility at West Hills College Lemoore. Construction to begin in 2022 with voter support.
We are fortunate to have a strong, stable, and experienced Board of Trustees, elected by area, as well as a faculty that is engaged and focused on student success. Three of our current board members have degrees from West Hills Community College District.
The District operates an active Foundation with more than $2 million in investments under management. The generosity of area donors provides money for scholarships of all kinds, including our popular President’s Scholars Program which pays all tuition costs and reimburses students for the majority of book costs for up to two years. Each year, nearly 150 of these awards go to seniors who have met academic standards at high schools within our District.
West Hills is a unique district located in Central California serving all of Kings County and the southern region of Fresno County, along with three smaller adjoining counties: Madera, Monterey, and San Benito.
West Hills College Lemoore and West Hills College Coalinga, along with our North District Center, Firebaugh, serve more than 7,000 students in the central San Joaquin Valley. In addition, we operate an outreach center at Naval Air Station, Lemoore. The District is predominantly rural and economically challenged by location and the educational attainment and economic mobility of its citizens. Our students are diverse and geographically disbursed.
The ideal candidate for the position will be comfortable in a rural setting. The District Office is near Fresno, the closest urban area, and Visalia, Lemoore and Hanford. It is 65 miles east of Paso Robles and 85 miles from California’s scenic central coast.
The new Chancellor will inherit a team of educators that are innovative and focused on our mission to enhance the lives of the people we serve. We lead the way in developing educational plans, priority registration, and open educational resources.
You will know you are an ideal candidate for this position if you:
- Want to make a difference in the lives of the communities we serve;
- Are comfortable with a nontraditional organizational hierarchy, flatter than most, in which we all wear many hats;
- Enjoy interacting with students and faculty;
- Are approachable and comfortable being addressed by your first name;
- Willingly examine what you’re doing on a continual basis and are committed to using data to make decisions;
- Have used your communication skills— both written and oral—to persuade, inspire and engage people and groups in sometimes uncomfortable conversations.
Some of our core values we’d expect you to share:
- We hold in high regard our professional working relationships with faculty, classified staff, students and our communities.
- We view our diverse community as an asset and encourage diversity in our workforce.
- We strive to remain in the very strong fiscal condition for which our District is known.
- We enjoy strong support from within our communities.
- We are comfortable using technology in performing our daily tasks.
- We live, eat, and breathe student success.