Las Positas College President Kevin Walthers is actively seeking a new position and on his way out at the Livermore college.
That’s the report posted by the Las Positas Express, the college’s newspaper, in a news article and an editorial this month. His impending departure continues the revolving door since Karen Halliday retired a few years ago.
After Halliday retired to her vineyard in the Willamette Valley of central Oregon, Bob Kratochvil, the chief finance officer for the college, led Las Positas very well as the interim president, but was not a candidate for the official appointment. Chancellor Joel Kinnamon and the Board of Trustees selected DeRionne Pollard for the president. She was excellent, but departed in less than two years for the top job in a bigger college on the East Coast.
That brought on another interim president and the eventual selection of Walthers after a process that saw the first group of finalists rejected because there was not a suitable candidate. The job was then re-advertised and Walthers was named from a second group of finalists.
In the mean time, Kratochvil was determined not to be eligible for the president’s post the second time around (and another interim president was brought on board) because he didn’t have a doctorate degree—the classic case of ranking academic credentials over demonstrated leadership. He’s since departed and is now president of Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, while continuing work to finish his doctorate. It’s a classic case of educrats being more concerned about advanced degrees than quality leadership.
That leaves Las Positas and the trustees and their interim chancellor, Judy Walters, with two top jobs of fill. Former Chancellor Kinnamon departed earlier this year after six years at the helm to accept the presidency of the College of the Desert in the Coachella Valley, a downward career move.
As the Express editorial opined, there’s clearly been something way out of line in the recruitment and interview process at Las Positas and the same is true of Chabot, which also has had a revolving door. These recommendations and the leadership churn may well have figured in Kinnamon’s decision to depart for dryer pastures in the Coachella Valley.
Trustees and senior staff have followed seemingly exhaustive processes to recruit key leaders. It would be wise to start with a few basics that both the new chancellor and the new Las Positas president need to be experienced in California. California financing and other requirements are unique and expecting an out-of-state person (even one as qualified as Pollard) to adjust well is asking too much.
In addition, the Express advisor, Melissa Korber and her senior editors need to hold up a mirror and ask themselves how well the down-and-dirty reporting and commentary served the school. Reporting that the president is moving on is necessary and appropriate. Digging into tawdry details without responses from the outgoing president served no one well.