Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert is one of four finalists for the top position at the San Diego Community College District, a position he said is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.
The San Diego college said in a news release that a new chancellor will be selected by late March and start the job July 1.
In addition to Lambert, who has been at PCC since 2013, the other finalists are:
- Barbara Kavalier, president of St. Charles Community College in St. Charles, Missouri.
- Pamela Luster, president of San Diego Mesa College.
- Carlos O. Turner Cortez, president of the San Diego College of Continuing Education.
The finalists were selected as part of a national search by the community college district’s Board of Trustees to replace Constance M. Carroll, who is retiring in June after serving 17 years as chancellor.
The four finalists are scheduled to participate in separate public forums that will be held virtually the week of Feb. 22.
The San Diego Community College chancellor is responsible for all operations in a district that is the largest provider of work-force training and education in the region with a $780-million annual budget.
The chancellor oversees San Diego City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, a baccalaureate program at Mesa College, and the San Diego College of Continuing Education. The San Diego Community College has about 100,000 students total, compared to about 20,000 students at PCC.
“During my time at Pima I have been humbled to be approached by a number of impressive institutions. It was only SDCCD, which to me represents a once-in-a lifetime opportunity, that I felt compelled to explore,” Lambert said in a statement provided by PCC. “I admire their commitment to academic excellence, world class facilities and the state support for higher education. Regardless of the outcome, I am honored to be considered.”
In an email to faculty and staff Friday afternoon, Lambert said:
“We remain focused on planning to reopen our campuses more fully in the fall, exploring better access to vaccines for students and others, continuing progress on our Centers of Excellence, and supporting our students and employees at this challenging time,” Lambert wrote. “I am deeply proud of the work we have done together over the past 7½ years. .”
Board Chair Demion Clinco said it was not a surprise that Lambert is sought after as a leader by other schools.
“As PCC has continued to receive national and international recognition for our work, including five programs nominated for Bellwether College Consortium Awards just this year, it is understandable that eventually offers would present that would result in this scenario,” Clinco said in a written statement supplied by PCC. “The board remains committed to the direction of PCC and the aspirational vision and future charted and mapped by Chancellor Lambert.”