Just over five weeks after Santa Barbara City College’s former superintendent/president Utpal Goswami resigned, the school has announced Dr. Kindred Murillo as his next replacement, according to a statement from school spokesperson Victor Bryant.
SBCC’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a decision during a special meeting today to begin contract negotiations with Murillo, who has more than 24 years of experience in the California community college system — most recently as superintendent/president for Southwestern Community College District, where she worked for nearly four years before retiring earlier in 2021.
“I think we have a winner,” said board president Peter Haslund. “Kindred Murillo is a thoroughly experienced superintendent/ president who models the idea of collaborative engagement in the decision-making process. I really look forward to working with her.”
Murillo was one of four finalists for the same position at SBCC in 2016, before the college hired Anthony Beebe. Since then, the position has been a hot seat — after Beebe retired in 2019, Helen Benjamin held the position in an interim role before Goswami was hired in January 2020. When he retired in July, the board initially hired executive vice president Kathleen Scott as acting superintendent/president before Benjamin returned for a six-week interim while the school searched for a more permanent replacement — though it is unclear whether Murillo’s appointment could extend beyond one year.
After a closed session on August 12, and a special public board meeting today, the trustees announced that Murillo would begin contract negotiations for a one-year appointment as superintendent/president starting September 7, Bryant said. The contract is set to be on the board agenda at the next regular meeting on Thursday, August 26.
Murillo’s over two decades of experience began as an adjunct faculty member, and then she served 11 years as a chief business officer for three districts — Contra Costa, Pasadena Area, and Copper Mountain — and 13 years as superintendent/president for two other districts, Lake Tahoe and Southwestern. In her most recent position at Southwestern Community College District, which has over 28,000 students in five locations, Haslund says she was widely recognized for advancing racial equity and student success, increasing employee diversity, and launching the Advancing Teaching Equity Academy.
Prior to her career in education, Murillo worked as a regional manager for Southern California Edison, and as a councilmember — and the first mayor — for the newly incorporated town of Yucca Valley.
The board is expected to approve the one-year contract, and Murillo will take over from Benjamin on September 7.