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Bekka Wiedenmeyer
Managing Editor

After the last few months of transition among President Dr. Kevin Walthers to Interim President Dr. Guy Lease to Interim President Dr. Janice Noble, Las Positas College will finally be getting a permanent president.

In a decision made by the Board of Trustees at the Oct. 15 meeting, Dr. Barry Russell was nominated next LPC president.

This decision led to Russell beating out Dr. Pamela Walker and Dr. Christopher Villa in a unanimous decision.

Negotiations will be in talks for the next few weeks, but as of now, the LPC community can be assured that a new president will be arriving next semester for a permanent occupation.

“I’m very happy to be a part of the campus,” Russell said in a phone interview with The Express. “I listen to people and try to understand the bigger picture of how things work. I have a breadth of experience and understanding of the community college system in California and throughout the nation, and that I bring a wealth of experience with me to the campus.”

Before Russell replaces Noble in office, there will be about a three month transitional period in which Russell feels his job is to step back and let the current administration do what they feel is best in preparation for the changeover.

“I think I need to be very careful to not intrude on the transition work happening now on the campus,” Russell said. “I feel very strongly and put my support behind the interim president to make the decisions that need to be made before I get there.”

If negotiations are hammered out by November, which is the goal, Russell will replace Noble. If not, however, he will be here at the start of the spring semester.

“I think that we’re looking at getting Dr. Russell here before Christmas. That’s my goal,” District Chancellor Dr. Jannett Jackson said. “We’ve already tentatively talked about some time frames. It’s just going to be a matter of negotiating the contract.”

Russell’s first action, he says, will be to listen and observe.

“Frankly, in my review of the college, which I did a pretty thorough review before I even applied for this position, that instructionally and service-wise, the college is in a really good place,” Russell said. “I’m not coming there with an agenda to change things. I’m coming there to listen and to help the campus.”

Next, however, he will help the campus tackle the accreditation process.

“I think looming on the horizon immediately is to set goals and a plan for getting the accreditation work written and also making sure we’re in line with all the standards. I think the campus is just going to have to devote itself over the next few months,” Russell said.

Regardless of the fact that accreditation is still a couple years away, Russell, along with others on campus who have done the work before, believe that now is the time to get the ball rolling.

“I think that the accreditation, even though that’s not going to happen for (awhile), it’s something that should be taken care of now,” Russell said. “I think I will be immersing myself into process and making sure that the campus is ready.”

With Walthers’ departure at the beginning of summer, LPC was left with an uncertain administrational future.  Some faculty did not feel as if Walthers made the proper connection with the campus, but Russell, who was up against Walthers in the 2011 presidential campaign at LPC, views his predecessor’s controversy to be irrelevant.

“I didn’t really track his actions and I actually know very little about his specific actions. I would not in hindsight second guess him on any of those things. At this point, the important thing is to move forward,” Russell said.

His goal, in fact, is to start with a new slate.

“My presidency at this campus is not about how I’m going to change his presidency and his actions.  It’s a whole new slate for me, so I think it’s important to move forward that way,” Russell said.

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