Concluding a nationwide search, Santa Barbara Community College District trustees have announced the appointment of West Valley College President Lori Gaskin as their new superintendent and president.
Gaskin will start her new position effective July 1, taking over the position that Dr. Jack Friedlander, Santa Barbara City College executive vice president, has held since July 2011.
"Sometimes life presents us with unexpected opportunities and I have been given that gift recently. While I had not intended to leave West Valley College at this point, the presidency of Santa Barbara City College became for me one of those 'unexpected opportunities,' " Gaskin said in a written statement.
"Despite the fact I will be leaving in late June to relocate to Santa Barbara, there will always be a large part of my heart, soul, and spirit that remain inextricably linked to West Valley College and to our fine faculty and staff, our first-rate programs, and our beauty and sense of place," she said.
Prior to Gaskin's appointment as president of WVC in August 2009, she served in a number of academic leadership positions at Lake Tahoe Community College, including vice president of academic affairs and student services and dean of instruction.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Gaskin join SBCC,” said Dr. Peter Haslund, SBCC District Board of Trustees president. “She has a very strong track record in higher education as a faculty member, an administrator, and college president.”
Gaskin has made a name for herself leading the Saratoga institution through a re-organization period. She's also been recently campaigning in favor of Measure C, the $350 million ballot initiative in the June 5 election.
Gaskin has said supporting the 40-year Measure C is an investment in the community's future.
The two-college district includes West Valley College in Saratoga and Mission College in Santa Clara and enroll more than 26,000 students annually. The district serves residents of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Santa Clara and is governed by a seven-member board.
The board is in the process of figuring out the best way to proceed to find Gaskin's successor.
WVC's enrollment is about 11,000 students, according to Gaskin.
“I feel honored to be named superintendent/president of Santa Barbara City College,” Gaskin said.
Gaskin began her career in the California Community College system 31 years ago as a part-time faculty member at Barstow College.
Academically trained as a fluvial geomorphologist, she discovered her true calling quickly as a community college earth science teacher. As a tenured faculty member at Barstow College, she taught in the fields of geography and geology and served in numerous faculty leadership roles before migrating north in 1992 to Lake Tahoe Community College.
Gaskin holds a bachelor of arts degree and master's degree in geography from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno.
She competed for the post along with three other candidates who were interviewed during two public forums April 13 and April 19 on the SBCC campus, according to a press release.