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Sierra College chooses leader

Sun News Service
Dr. Leo Chavez is the new superintendent/president of the Sierra College District.
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The Sierra College board of trustees announced the hiring of Dr. Leo Chavez as its new superintendent/president at the Rocklin campus Tuesday afternoon.

“Dr. Chavez brings with him an unparalleled depth of experience in education, business, and nonprofit fundraising,” said Jerry Simmons, the president of the board of trustees, in a written statement released Tuesday morning.

The Sierra College district is set to open a campus in Truckee. Construction of the Tahoe Truckee Campus of Sierra College is scheduled to start in the summer of 2007. The first phase of development will allow for a student capacity of 500. That number will double upon completion of the second phase.

A meeting on April 3 is the final of three seeking community input for the proposed campus. The meeting, the third held over the past year, is set for April 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Truckee Town Council chambers at town hall.

Chavez, meanwhile, has held a variety of positions in the past. He was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Community Foundation of Silicon Valley in San Jose, the Chancellor of Foothill-De Anza community college district in Los Altos Hills, and the president of the West Valley College in Saratoga.

“I want to just talk to as many people as I can and hear what’s important to them,” Chavez said. “I certainly need to get out to the other centers and out to the western campus, and become more familiar with the community that we exactly serve.”

Some of Chavez’s longterm plans include “taking a look at how well we work with our students, how successful they are, what we can do to make them more successful, what programs we can put in to increase their success, improve their experience here and making sure they leave here with the tools to become productive members of our economy.”

Chavez was chosen after a 17-member presidential search committee conducted a nationwide search for seven months. There were 53 total applicants nationwide, including eight who were called for interviews. Seven responded. Out of the seven, the board interviewed four finalists once again, before making the final decision, according to Diane Wright of the Sierra College Marketing and Public Relations.

Chavez said he intends to visit the different Sierra College campuses after July 15, when he begins as the president.


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