With the upcoming departure of Interim Chancellor Dr. Judy Walters, the Las Positas-Chabot Community College District has been on the hunt to fill her shoes.
On Monday May 13, Las Positas College held a Q and A with finalists for the newly available district Chancellor position. The two on stage were both accomplished and have past experience as a community college president.
Dr. Jannett Jackson, not to be confused with the platinum-selling musician, was one and Dr. Tod Burnett was the other.
Jackson began the discussion by diving into her childhood.
“Education was our way of getting out of poverty,” she said. “I believe that you create knowledge, it isn’t something I pour into your brain. That’s what my management style is, to create.”
She served in the U.S. Army for 30 years, retiring in 2006 at the rank of Colonel, before serving as president of College of Alameda.
Burnett, who was a presidential appointee for the Environmental Protection Agency from 2002 to 2004 and was later a mayoral appointee for the L.A. County department of public works before serving as Saddleback College’s president. Burnett said his experience working for the government translates well, though he gave no specifics in regards to LPC.
“It would be my first convocation and an opportunity to get to know my team a little better and set the tone for the year,” Burnett said during the Q and A session. “We can address the challenges.”
Those present during the introductions were mostly department heads and deans, along with the union representative for classified staff. Of the roughly 30 people in attendance, only a few asked questions.
Burnett offered many catch-lines, and paused when asked how he would handle the competitive gap between Chabot and Las Positas.
“We need to work together,” Burnett said. “One of the roles of the chancellor is to make sure we all excel. Trust is all about relationship building, communication. You have to start with supporting employees at all levels. Student success is most important.”
It appeared that Burnett was unprepared for such a question, as he had quick responses to others.
Though the attendance was scarce, early reactions seemed to favor Jackson. Several attendees also approached her after she finished, a stark contrast to when Burnett finished and most departed swiftly.