Interim CEOs

Beatriz Chaidez is now interim chancellor of the San José – Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) in California. She most recently served as vice chancellor of human resources for SJECCD.

“Dr. Chaidez has proven herself to be a steady leader, a creative problem solver and a passionate advocate for students,” said SJECCD Board President Bob Livengood.

Prior to joining the district in 2019, Chaidez held various roles in K-12 administration, including serving as assistant superintendent for human resources with Salinas City Elementary School District. She has also been director of pupil personnel services and special education, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and a school district superintendent/principal.

Margaret Ford Fisher will become interim chancellor of Houston Community College (HCC) on September 1. She is the inaugural president of HCC Online College, the seventh HCC college, established in 2018.

“I am deeply invested in advancing student success and diligently working with our great faculty and staff to provide life-changing education for our students and our community,” she said in a release.

In her role at HCC Online, Ford Fisher led a team to establish more than 60 fully online degree programs, and more than 70 hybrid programs with an annual enrollment that exceeded 62,000 students, according to the college. She previously was president of HCC Northeast College for 20 years.

Jose A. Gomez will serve as interim superintendent/president of Pasadena City College (PCC) in California, effective mid-July. He is currently executive vice president, provost and chief operating officer at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA).

“Dr. Gomez embodies the excellence and opportunities of community colleges, where he began his education journey as a community college student,” said Sandra Chen Lau, president of the PCC board of trustees. “His breadth and depth of experience in higher education and in public policy provide the knowledge to lead PCC in this time of transition.”

Prior to Cal State LA, Gomez was a higher education adviser to the president pro tem of the California Senate and was also executive director of the California Educational Facilities Authority, where he assisted colleges with more than $1 billion in financing for campus development projects, according to a release.

Susan Kazama has been appointed interim chancellor of Hawaii Community College. She served as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at Kapiʻolani and Honolulu community colleges until 2021, when she became a program coordinator for continuing education at Kapiʻolani. Kazama has worked in the University of Hawaii (UH) system since 1987, starting as a librarian at UH Maui College and Honolulu Community College.

“Susan has demonstrated her leadership in various roles in the community colleges, and she is committed to working with the administrative team, faculty, staff and community to ensure the college is meeting the needs of students while preparing them for the workforce on Hawaii island,” said Della Teraoka, University of Hawaii acting vice president for community colleges.


Darrin Hartness, president of Davidson-Davie Community College in North Carolina, passed away of cancer on July 11. He was 54.

Hartness became the fourth president of the college in January 2019, when it was called Davidson County Community College. He previously served for 28 years in K-12 public education, including 11 years as superintendent of Davie County Schools and Mount Airy City Schools. His background also includes time spent as a teacher, principal, chief technology officer, assistant superintendent and adjunct professor, according to a release.

During his time at Davidson-Davie, Hartness quickly became known and loved for promoting a culture of compassion and caring, not only within the college but also encompassing the broader communities that support the college’s students, according to the college. The annual Day of Service was one of his initiatives.

“Together, he believed, we would all be stronger, kinder and most effective in our service to others,” the college said.


Naomi DeWinter, president of Muscatine Community College (MCC), has been appointed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to the Iowa Energy Center Board, which oversees, approves and offers guidance for the programs established by the Iowa Energy Center. As a board member, DeWinter will contribute her expertise and insights in the development of budgets, policies, procedures and grant proposals, according to a release. DeWinter — who has passion for promoting environmental stewardship and fostering collaboration among industry professionals — will also participate in program planning and review, ensuring the center’s activities align with the state’s strategic goals.

“Her expertise and commitment to sustainability will undoubtedly contribute to the Iowa Energy Center Board’s efforts in advancing clean and efficient energy practices. We congratulate her on this well-deserved honor,” said Sonya J. Williams, chancellor of the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges District, of which MCC is a member.

Jason Arey will become dean of students at Northern Essex Community College (Massachusetts), effective August 2. He has nearly two decades of experience in higher education, and most recently was the employee relations manager for the city of South Portland, Maine.

Herb Everett, who has served as web content administrator at Guilford Technical Community College (North Carolina) for the past four years, has been promoted to marketing systems manager at the college.

Ellen Flowers-Fields is now vice president of continuing education and workforce development at the College of Southern Maryland. She previously was an associate vice president at the college, where she has served for nine years.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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