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40 candidates apply for president's post at SRJC
With consultant's help, college draws promising field

More than 40 people have applied to become the next president of Santa Rosa Junior College, nearly double the number who applied during an unsuccessful attempt to fill the position earlier this year.

The latest crop of hopefuls range from the CEO of a public corporation to a host of college leaders, including 14 sitting presidents and one sitting chancellor, according to representatives of the recruiting company hired to help the search.

“I think there's a good chance for a match,” Robert Griffin, director of Professional Personnel Leasing, told SRJC's board of trustees during the board's Tuesday meeting. “We are really pleased with the pool.”

The depth of experience is in contrast to SRJC's first attempt to find a replacement for current president Robert Agrella.

That initial effort yielded 22 candidates, none of them sitting presidents, one factor in the board's decision to ask if Agrella, 68, would delay retirement while they re-started the process from scratch.

For the second search, the school ditched its go-it-alone approach and hired PPL for $24,000 plus up to $2,000 in expenses to bring in a wider selection of candidates.

“We had to do something different,” said Rick Call, the chairman of the board of trustees. “All it takes is one. We just hope that within that group there is one.”

The formal application period closed Aug. 31. On Friday, the 12-member presidential search advisory committee — which includes faculty, staff and students — will convene to select candidates for interviews at the Petaluma campus Oct. 10 to 13.

The committee will recommend three to five semi-finalists to meet with the board of trustees and to hold public forums from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.

The school is scheduled to extend an offer to the finalist in mid-November with the board slated to approve the new hire on Dec. 13.

A changing of the guard is a rare occurrence at SRJC. Since its founding in 1918, the college has had four presidents. Agrella has been in his position since 1990.

— Sam Scott, The Press Democrat

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