By Paul Medina
Current Interim President Alberto J. Roman was unanimously elected as East Los Angeles College’s next permanent president by the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees on Dec. 16. Roman is set to begin on Jan. 1, 2021.
His two-and-a-half-year term contract of employment runs through June 30, 2023.
The board voted for LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez’s recommendation of Roman and three other recommendations to key districtwide roles. The items took place at the Board of Trustees annual organizational meeting, which was held on Zoom due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
The meeting also included a swearing-in ceremony for four trustees. Andra Hoffman, Mike Fong and David Vela were re-elected, and Nichelle M. Henderson defeated incumbent Trustee Scott Svonkin in the Nov. 3 elections to become the new members.
Vela said he praised Roman’s election and appreciates seeing a home-grown candidate take over as president of ELAC.
“I want to thank the chancellor in particular, and my colleagues on the board, for advancing a more diverse leadership in academics here at the district,” Vela said.
The election culminated a year-and-a-half long process that began when former ELAC President Marvin Martinez left his role as college president on June 14, 2019 to take up the post of chancellor of the Rancho Santiago Community College District in Orange County.
Martinez’s immediate successor became Interim President Raul Rodriguez, who coincidentally served as Martinez’s predecessor as RSCCD’s chancellor.
After Rodriguez’s one year term was up, the board of trustees appointed Roman to the helm of interim president on July 1, 2020.
After an extensive nationwide search, Chancellor Rodriguez announced the district’s search and interview committee identified five finalists for the position of ELAC’s next permanent president.
The five finalists were Saddleback College Vice President of Student Services Juan Avalos, former Oxnard College President Cynthia Azari, former Centralia College President Robert Frost as well as former Portland Community College-Rock Creek President Christopher Villa and ELAC’s Interim President Alberto J. Roman.
Public forums with each of the finalists took place where members of the public were invited to ask questions.
On Dec. 13 Chancellor Rodriguez publicly announced Roman as the finalist to be recommended to the board at its meeting on Dec. 16.
Fong thanked everyone on the board for interviewing amazing candidates for the president of ELAC and congratulated the work of Roman. Fong said Roman is going to build a lot of external partnerships with the community.
Roman is no stranger to the district and ELAC. Prior to becoming ELAC’s interim president he served as vice chancellor of human resources for the LACCD. He is also a former adjunct political science instructor at ELAC.
He previously worked in the federal government and California state senate. Roman also served as a consultant to the senate’s Labor, Public Employee and Retirement Committee.
Roman’s other previous roles include being the vice president of human resources for Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista. He was also an assistant superintendent, human resources officer and director of human resources.
ELAC political science Professor Felipe Agredano said he praises Roman’s selection as President.
“I envision Roman rolling up his sleeves to work with college, district and community leaders to address the most urgent matters from student hunger and homelesness to academic programming. Indeed, the need for affordable housing for students and faculty is greater than ever,” Agredano said.
Other districtwide positions the board of trustees elected were Melinda Nish as deputy chancellor, Luis Dorado as interim president of Los Angeles Harbor College and Dr. Mercedes Gutierrez as interim vice chancellor.
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara administered the reelection oath of office to trustee Vela, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti administered the reelection oath of office to trustees Hoffman and Fong.
Newly elected fifth seat district member Henderson was sworn in by her husband Mark E. Henderson.