Newsmakers

New CEOs

Arturo Reyes will become superintendent/president at Rio Hondo College (California). He is currently superintendent/president of the Mendocino-Lake Community College District, which he has led since 2013. Prior to Mendocino, Reyes served as executive vice president of academic and student affairs at the Solano Community College District, interim president and vice president of academic affairs at San José City College and dean at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento. At Cosumnes River College, he was a Spanish professor and coach, and later dean of humanities and social sciences.

Artemio Pimentel will return to California’s Woodland Community College, this time as its president. He previously served at the college in various roles starting in 2006 as public information officer, then director of TRIO programs and executive dean for the college’s Lake County Campus. In 2014, Pimentel became campus dean for the West Sacramento Center for Sacramento City College in the Los Rios Community College District and was appointed as district director of educational services and student success.

Omid Pourzanjani will become the next district superintendent/president at San Joaquin Delta College in California. He is currently a visiting vice chancellor at the California Community College Chancellor’s Office where he heads efforts to improve access and success for students through the statewide Guided Pathways Initiative. Pourzanjani has served students for more than 35 years at various higher education institutions in California. Much of this experience has come from his nearly 25-year tenure at Golden West College in California. He has held positions as professor, academic senate officer, department chair, instructional dean and accreditation liaison officer, as well as the vice president of instruction and student learning.

Interim presidents

Willie Smith is now acting chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College (Louisiana) and will serve as interim chancellor beginning July 1. Smith has worked in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and its member colleges for the past 18 years. He previously was vice president for training and business partnerships for the system.

Martha Ann Todd will serve as interim president of Columbus Technical College in Georgia, as of July 1. She is currently the Technical College System of Georgia’s deputy commissioner of adult and technical education. Todd has more than 40 years of experience in education in Georgia, and has served as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, and associate superintendent of teacher and leader effectiveness at the Georgia Department of Education.

Retirement

Ronnie Booth, who has served as president of Tri-County Technical College in South Carolina for 16 years, is retiring on June 30. Under Booth’s leadership, the college launched three community campuses, three workforce training centers, an economic development center and a state-of-the-art industrial technology center. In 2018, he, along with faculty, staff and community partners, dedicated a 75,000-square-foot Student Success Center on the Pendleton Campus and a new campus in Oconee County.

Booth’s other accomplishments include several student-focused initiatives, including the nationally recognized Bridge to Clemson program with Clemson University, which has grown from 220 students in 2006 to 848 in 2018, and the Connect to College (now I-BEST) program for high school dropouts. During Booth’s tenure, the college saw other notable achievements, including the Technical Career Pathways program, a dual-credit program for high school students designed to increase the pipeline of skilled technicians. Other initiatives include the first Michelin Manufacturing Scholars program, which is now a model program being replicated across the state.

Appointments

Archie Blanson has been chosen to serve as Lone Star College’s vice chancellor of student success, effective July 15. He has worked at Aldine Independent School District for almost 40 years, finishing his career as deputy superintendent. His background includes extensive experience as a teacher and administrator known for planning, budgeting, compliance and innovative thinking.

Steven Cisneros is now military outreach coordinator at Savannah Technical College in Georgia. He has experience as an operations manager and military veteran with more than two decades of experience collaborating with multiple levels of management and diverse cultural audiences. He recently worked as an operations specialist for Fort Stewart with Lakota Solutions.

Walter Johnson has been appointed senior director of facilities planning, construction and operation at the Long Beach Community College District in California. He previously served for more than four years as senior building maintenance supervisor at Berkeley Public Library in California.

Marissa Schlesinger will serve as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Tacoma Community College (Washington), effective September 22. She comes from Guttman Community College in New York, where she was associate dean of curriculum and first-year programs. Previously, she spent 13 years in faculty and administration at Kingsborough Community College in New York.

Two Portland Community College (PCC) administrators serving in interim roles have been made permanent in their current positions as of July 1. Eric Blumenthal will be vice president of finance and administration, and Tricia Brand will serve as chief diversity officer. Blumenthal joined PCC in 2016 as associate vice president of finance and administration. Brand started at the college in 2014 as associate dean of students at PCC’s Southeast Campus.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.