By: Andrea Cerna
The search for the next East Los Angeles College president
was narrowed down from fifty candidates to five.
The candidates that Dr. Juan Avalos, Dr. Cynthia Azari, Dr. Robert Frost, Dr. Albert Román and Dr. Christopher Villa. They are expected to reflect leadership, integrity and community engagement. Each candidate will be introduced during a final evaluation on the week of Dec 7.
The next president’s responsibilities include reporting to the Los Angeles Community College Chancellor. They will lead the college through its current online learning environment and return to in person classes.
The president will have to make important decisions such as how to handle student public health given the current COVID-19 pandemic. These responsibilities and decisions directly affect students who are currently enrolled at ELAC.
Avalos currently serves as the Vice President for Student Services at Saddleback College and has 27 years of cumulative experience across private and public institutions. He is also serving on the board of directors of the California Community College Athletics Association. Avalos embraces the importance of education, hard work, pursuing your dreams, and being of service to the community.
Azari has 30 years of experience in community colleges. She was formerly the President for Oxnard College. While holding the position, Azari focused on increasing dual enrollment and had classrooms and faculties. She aslo worked on strengthening her partnerships with local K-12 districts.
Azari has also held different positions, those being Vice Chancellor, President, Vice President, Dean and faculty. Vasquez worked at Oxnard College for more than a year and took a “paid leave” prior to retiring.
Frost has partnered to focus on college accreditation, internal climate and enrollment challenges.
His work extends to many years as an international education leader that includes California, Oregon and Midwestern States. He has served as a community college and university professor, dean, vice president of both academic affairs and student services, and college president.
Román has 19 years of collective experience through different roles. He has been a public school employee, faculty member, director of resources, and assistant superintendent. Román held a position as Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at the Los Angeles Community College District and currently serves as the Interim President at ELAC.
He wants to achieve equity between students that are at a disadvantage during these challenging times.
Villa recently served as Campus President at Portland Community College-Rock Creek and played a role in advancing partnerships with community representatives from business, community-based organization, k-12 partners, and universities.
He is one of the founders of Colegas which is a college network that addresses racial equity and social issues within California Community Colleges.
The Board of Trustees is expected to formally announce the new ELAC President on Dec 16.