After an extensive nationwide search and comprehensive interview process, West Hills College Coalinga has named its next President: Brenda Thames.

Thames will officially begin her duties as the WHCC president February 1, 2017. She brings to this position over 19 years of experience in higher education along with a passion for developing the capacities of individuals, institutions, and communities.

“I am honored and absolutely delighted to be joining the West Hills College Coalinga family,” said Thames. “WHCC has a long history of providing access, educational opportunity, and academic excellence to the communities on the West Side of the valley. Students are the central focus of the college and this core value is the very heart of our work. I look forward to becoming part of the community and joining with the exceptional faculty and staff of WHCC in the relentless pursuit of student success.”

Thames currently serves Modesto Junior College as the Vice President of Instruction has previously served in a broad spectrum of positions at Modesto Junior College, American River College and at the Los Rios Community College District Office including adjunct faculty, tenured faculty, faculty coordinator, department chair, program director, dean, and vice president of Student Services. Thames is also a 2016-2017 Fellow with the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. In 2014, she completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management.

In addition to her extensive experience within the community college arena, Thames has over five years of experience as a mental health clinician in county social services, county mental health and California Department of Corrections.

Thames earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Sociology and Social Welfare from University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from USC. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Education with a concentration in Community College Leadership at Oregon State University.