West Hills Community College District Names Three finalists in Chancellor Search

West Hills Community College District Names three finalists in their chancellor search after holding interviews with candidates mid-February.  The district search committee plans to hold public forums via Zoom with the candidates the week of March 15.

“The goal is to have a candidate selected and approved by the WHCCD Board of Trustees meeting on April 20, 2021,” said Mark McKean, President of the West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees.  “On behalf of my fellow trustees, I want to thank the committee and our district and college staff for volunteering their time and commitment to this next step in the our District's critical history."

After interviewing candidates, the selection committee has forwarded three finalists to the WHCCD Board of Trustees. They will now proceed to the next phase in the process, which includes virtual open forums and final in-person interviews with Trustees during the week of March 15.

The three finalists include Dr. Kristin Clark, Dr. Richard Storti, and Dr. Wei Zhou. The next chancellor will begin work on July 1, 2021 and will follow current WHCCD chancellor Dr. Stuart Van Horn, who retires June 2021.

The candidates and bios are below.

Dr, Kristin Clark

Kristin ClarkClark serves the Central San Joaquin Valley's Westside as President of West Hills College Lemoore (WHCL) in the West Hills Community College District. Since appointed in 2015, she has led the College to reaffirm accreditation and innovated several student success initiatives. Her long-term commitment and service in the community college system, coupled with her passion for guiding, learning, and collaborating with rural community members, has ensured progressive educational practices at WHCL, including:
· Holistic student case management system supporting faculty and staff in providing a respectful and caring safety net for all learners
· Accelerated remediation for stewarding students with all levels of preparedness
· Alternative course and support delivery modality promoting equitable student access and lifelong learning
· Open educational resources (OER) implementation saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for students and earning state and national recognition
· Entrepreneurship development of new Career Technical Education pathways supporting Westside workforce education and economic development
Kristin strengthened strategic planning in partnership with faculty, staff, students, and community members. She established the College's strategic vision, also known as its "North Star," which profoundly commits to student learning and achievement. Under Kristin's leadership, WHCL received recognition as an Aspen Prize for Top 100 Community College recipient and the Achieving the Dream's Leader College and Leader College of Distinction awards.

Clark has 26 years of administrative experience in higher education. Before her current position as President, she served as the Vice President of Student Services, Dean of Enrollment Services, and Director of Admissions, Records, & Enrollment Technology at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California.

Clark holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's in Educational Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her academic contributions include teaching graduate-level courses at California State University Fullerton, co-authoring a white paper on student success, guest lecturing on leadership topics, and presenting at numerous state, national, and international symposiums, including Canada and Kazakhstan.

Clark is involved in numerous community organizations and boards, including the Kings County Economic Development Corporation, the Tulare Kings Collaborative, the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, Central Valley Athletics Conference Executive Board, Central Valley Caucus, West Hills Community College Foundation Board, and California Community College Women's Caucus. She is a member of the Lemoore Unified High School District Bond Oversight Committee, and she participates in state-wide advisory groups such as the California Cradle to Career Data System Advisory Group.

 

Dr. Richard Storti

Richard StortiStorti has a broad range of experience in academia and private industry with demonstrated expertise in the complexities of higher education and extensive knowledge of the community college system. He currently serves as Deputy Chancellor at West Hills CCD. Prior positions held with community colleges include Assistant Superintendent, Vice President of Business and Administrative Services at Pasadena City College and Vice President of Administrative Services at Fullerton College. Outside of academia, he held senior-level leadership positions with reputable organizations in private industry.

Storti completed his doctoral studies in education at the University of Southern California, Masters of Science in accounting at CSU, Fullerton, and Bachelor of Science in accounting at CSU, Long Beach. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.

Storti has a passion for education and is dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of students and communities through education. His parents instilled in him the importance and benefits of education. He believes education is transformational for individuals and community colleges offer tremendous opportunities with high quality educational programs and services.

Storti has served on many civic committees and commissions. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Countywide Oversight Board of Fresno County, Board Member of the Kings County Oversight Board, and an active member of the West Hills Community College Foundation. 

He is known for his financial and strategic planning expertise, ability to perseverance through challenging situations, ability to build strategic partnerships, and for his collaborative, transparent, inclusive, and personable leadership style with a student-centered focus.

Dr. Wei Zhou

Wei ZhouA proud University of California, Davis, Center for Community College Leadership and Research Wheelhouse Fellow and California Community College Inaugural CEO Leadership Academy graduate with Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin’s top-ranked doctoral program in education, Zhou has extensive California community college administrative experience in multi-college districts serving large geographical areas including positions as Dean of Math, Science and Engineering at Evergreen Valley College, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Copper Mountain College, Vice President of Instruction and Interim President at Cuyamaca College, and President of Crafton Hills College. Committed to open access to higher education to improve social and economic mobility, Wei has a special passion for rural community colleges, a nationwide group of 600 serving as regional centers of education and culture. In addition to his own colleges, he has helped develop programming and services for colleges like Columbia College and Woodland Community College serving rural communities with geographically dispersed population.

Dedicated to college access, success, equity, social justice, employee and organizational development, and community engagement, Wei has fostered an equity-minded, global vision in a learning-centered, data-informed, broad-based participatory and consultative, and integrated instructional, student, technology and administrative support services environment. Thanks to the support from talented, dedicated and hardworking faculty, staff, administrators and students during his leadership, his colleges were ranked among the nation’s fastest-growing community colleges, developed innovative, award-winning instructional and student support programs, achieved regions’ top transfer and graduation rates, joined the international Tuning project and the national Achieving the Dream project, secured multi-million dollars of federal and state grants as well as funding through business and industry partnerships and fundraising activities, expanded higher education access to underserved communities, brought baccalaureate degrees to local students, and started or strengthened programs and services to close equity gaps for low-income students, African American, Latinx, Native American, Asian American, Filipino and Pacific Islander students, student athletes, veterans, foster youth, immigrants, etc.

Wei has also fostered collaborative relationships with business and industry, K-12 schools, higher education institutions, government and community organizations, and elected officials. In addition, he has been invited to serve on a number of local, county, regional, state and national boards and committees, such as Southern California Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander American Trustees and Administrators Board, Alignment San Bernardino County Executive Board, Inland Empire Economic Partnership Workforce and Education Council, California Library and Learning Resources Program and Telecommunications and Technology Program Advisory Committees, National Association for Developmental Education Editorial Board, and National Science Foundation panels. Moreover, Wei has led statewide teams to help California community colleges on accreditation, integrated planning, enrollment management, staff and organizational development, instructional and student support program development, implementation of Guided Pathways framework, and distance education.