After controversially ousting president Andreea Serban last July, SBCC’s board has hired a permanent replacement in Lori Gaskin, currently president of West Valley College in Saratoga, California.

Jack Friedlander, who has served as president in an interim capacity, will return to his position as executive vice president when Gaskin officially begins her new job on July 1. Friedlander had applied for the president opening, but immediately changed his mind and withdrew his candidacy.

Gaskin started out in fluvial geomorphology — the study of river-related landforms — before beginning her career as a community college instructor in earth science 31 years ago at Barstow College. She has since held numerous teaching and leadership positions in the California Community Colleges System.

In a prepared statement, the president of the board, Peter Haslund, said, “Dr. Gaskin has extensive experience in leading West Valley College through a reorganization period in an open and collaborative manner while never losing sight of the mission — and the heart — of what the college represents to its students and the community.”

The vote to appoint Gaskin was 5-2 with trustees Luis Villegas and Morris Jurkowitz dissenting. The board voted unanimously on her contract.

Trustee Marsha Croninger told The Santa Barbara Independent Gaskin stood out because she “was completely committed to shared governance processes … so that difficult decisions could be made in ways that bring people together.”


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