Kern Community College District Announces Chancellor Finalists
Kern Community College District (KCCD) President of the Board of Trustees, Romeo Agbalog is pleased to announce that after a nationwide search, three finalists will move forward in the Kern Community College District Chancellor search process.
Update: Listed below are candidate biographies and zoom forum recordings. If you were unable to attend or wish to view again, please click on the links to view the recorded forums.
Due to COVID-19, the Kern Community College District will be holding the public forums via zoom. Each candidate has a separate zoom link.
"The Board of Trustees values community input and encourages the public to participate in the upcoming community forum that was established by the Board, as an important step in the recruitment and selection process for Kern Community College District’s next Chancellor. The forum is an excellent opportunity for students, staff, and community members to not only provide feedback that will be considered by the Board, but to also meet and hear from the final candidates,” stated Romeo Agbalog, Board of Trustees President for KCCD. Final interviews will be held on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
"Kern Community College District is comprised of three colleges, serving a diverse population of more than 45,000 students annually, and spans over five counties as the largest community college district in the country. Our next Chancellor must work with the Board of Trustees and be a leader who can build on the district’s established strength, traditions, and stability with bold, innovative, and forward-thinking strategies necessary for a successful future,” says Agbalog.
After the forum, viewers can provide feedback on each candidate by clicking on the following link: https://forms.gle/vdY57nbBkJXcktQ56
The deadline to submit your feedback will be Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
Brief background statements of each candidate are as follows:
Dr. Sonya Christian
Sonya Christian, EdD, has served in a variety of roles in the community college setting for over thirty years, including academic positions, administrative, and senior administrative positions. She has been President of Bakersfield College (BC) since 2013. Under Dr. Christian’s leadership, BC serves approximately 40,000 students seeking associate degrees (AA/AS), associate for transfer degrees (AA-T, AS-T), a bachelor’s degree in industrial automation, or one of many program certificates. BC serves a diverse economic and ethnic community, and is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution, with 69% of the student population being Hispanic. In her role as President, Dr. Christian oversees an annual budget of more than $180 million.
During her tenure at Bakersfield College, Dr. Christian has helped advance the College’s mission by cultivating campus-wide ownership of success. Under her leadership, student preparation, accomplishment, and achievement have improved through innovative partnerships and programs involving community and local school leaders and BC administrators, faculty, and staff. During her time in office, she has led BC in its efforts to improve student achievement through its “Making It Happen” mentoring program, Guided Pathways, and other innovative and forward-thinking strategies that focus on preparing students for success before, during, and after their time as a student.
Additionally, Dr. Christian helped lead the $500 million Measure J bond funding, grew BC’s annual budget from $80 million to more than $180 million, increased enrollment by almost 60%, and improved degree completion by more than 330%. She has also successfully secured more than $55 million in grants to fund innovative and solution-focused programs that help students attain forward progress in their academic endeavors.
Dr. Christian is an advocate for the role of the community college beyond BC’s campus, sharing her knowledge and ideas collaboratively with other leaders, legislators, and educators through articles and speaking opportunities. She has been active in establishing accreditation standards for junior and community colleges to ensure the highest educational goals can be met. She has received numerous awards for her diligent work related to student success and equity and has been a participant or leader in a variety of boards and councils. She is a strong and respected leader and collaborator who promotes the values of student access, success, equity, completion, quality, and sustainability within institutions of higher education.
Before she became President of Bakersfield College, Dr. Christian served in a variety of senior administrative roles at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, including Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. During her first tenure at Bakersfield College, she was a member of the Mathematics faculty, served as Division Chair of Mathematics and Computer Studies, and was appointed Dean of Science, Engineering, Allied Health, and Mathematics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Kerala, a master’s in Applied Mathematics from USC, and an EdD in Educational Leadership from UCLA.
Dr. Keith Flamer
Keith Flamer, PhD, has more than 25 years of leadership experience in higher education; he has served the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California, in several roles for the last fifteen years, including Vice President for Student Services, Vice President of Student Development, and Vice President of Instruction and Student Development. In his current position as President/Superintendent, he oversees a campus which has three main educational sites and several off-campus sites, a staff of almost 400 full- and part-time academic and administrative staff, and the educational options and experiences of 6,000 students. College of the Redwoods offers Associate Degrees for Transfer, Associate of Science degrees, Associate of Arts degrees, Certificates of Achievement, and Certificates of Recognition. Dr. Flamer has earned a distinctive reputation as being a galvanizing force who has a solid understanding of changing trends and issues in higher education, as well as a dedication for helping student succeed in their educational pursuits. His areas of expertise include visionary and mission-driven leadership, strategic planning, multimillion-dollar budget oversight, accreditation processes, policy streamlining and enforcement, collective bargaining, and consensus-building and team collaboration. He also has extensive experience working with state legislators to effect fair and equitable distribution of state funds.
As an educational leader, he believes that it is critical to embrace diversity and remain sensitive to the needs of all students. He supports the success of those who may be differently abled or who experience social, cultural, and economic orientations and backgrounds different from those experienced by faculty and staff with whom these students interact. He firmly believes that diversity is strength—and that multiculturalism is something to be celebrated, promoted, and cherished. He provides leadership that has enhanced diversity and inclusion among the faculty, staff, and students.
A community-facing and engaged leader, Dr. Flamer has elevated the visibility of the school on campus and within the local community as well as promoted an innovation-focused image of the College within the community. He has advanced the goals of shared governance with an emphasis on consensus building, collegiality, communication, and respect among all constituents in the community. Additionally, he has broadened the reach of partnerships with business, government, industry, community organizations, and educational institutions to coordinate joint responses and resources that work in concert to uplift and support the economic development of the community.
Dr. Flamer holds a bachelor’s degree in History and a master's degree in Public Administration, both from Eastern Washington University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. He is a Wheelhouse Fellow, through the Wheelhouse program created and run by UC-Davis that was founded to strengthen leadership and practice in California Community Colleges. The program provides professional and peer learning that focuses on leading change, performance analytics, individual and organizational agility, and research and policy know-how.
Dr. Dan Hocoy
Dan Hocoy, PhD, is currently the President and Vice Chancellor at Metropolitan Community College-Longview in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. His responsibilities as President include overseeing the physical campus facilities, leading almost 600 employees, and presiding over the educational experience of more than 4,000 students. Metropolitan Community College comprises five different campuses in the Greater Kansas City, Missouri, area, each with a common goal of providing education for the more than 18,000 students who take classes to earn a certificate or an associate’s degree that will either enable them to be hired quickly or transfer to a four-year school to complete a bachelor’s degree. MCC-Longview offers associate’s degrees in teaching, engineering, and applied science, which focuses on different aspects of the criminal justice field. Additionally, MCC-Longview is home to one of the finest automotive technology programs in the nation.
Dr. Hocoy also serves the Metropolitan Community College administration as Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives. In this role, he has oversight of real estate, capital campaigns, advancement initiatives, and expansion of the tax base. He previously served as President of State University of New York’s Erie Community College, and prior to that as President of Antioch University in Seattle. His past experiences include creating and maintaining balanced budgets, developing new strategies for additional revenue streams, including entrepreneurial partnerships, local government and business partnerships, and grants. He has been a leader in environmental and social justice efforts, provided support for students and relief efforts, and implemented a program called “Students First,” which increased student enrollment and reduced attrition rates. Dr. Hocoy’s experience also includes the roles of Provost, Associate Dean, and Chief Student Affair Officer, as well as a tenured professor, giving him insight into both the administration, education and business aspects of the community college system.
The mission of community colleges is very important to Dr. Hocoy, as he regards them as critical to social mobility and equity and vital to empowering local communities, as they fulfill many workforce needs and thereby improve the economic competitiveness of a region. He himself was the beneficiary of public education from kindergarten through graduate school. As an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago to Canada and having a multi-ethnic background, he has a longstanding commitment to supporting diversity, inclusiveness, and global perspectives.
Dr. Hocoy received his bachelor of science degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto (Canada) and his master’s and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Queen’s University (Canada). He is a licensed clinical psychologist and has served as an editor/reviewer for many professional and academic journals. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Management and Leadership in Education executive program as well as the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents. He has written numerous articles and book chapters that intersect psychology, art, culture and higher education.