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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 10th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 18 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 18

Hancock's new president starts his first week on the job

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM


MEET AND GREET
Allan Hancock College’s new president/superintendent Kevin Walthers stood between college spokesperson Rebecca Alarcio and Board Trustee President Larry Lahr and Vice President Greg Pensa during a meet-the-press event on July 9.
PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

Summer might be the best time for leadership transition at a college. It’s not as busy as the regular school year, and, as Allan Hancock College’s new superintendent/president Kevin Walthers said, it’s a great time to meet people not just on campus, but in the community as well.

Walthers’ first day on the Santa Maria campus was July 8, three days after his official last day at Las Positas College in Livermore, where he previously served as superintendent/president. It was a quick transition for his family, but his 10-year-old son is already taking a Spanish class through the college’s Community Education program, so things are moving right along.

“It’s really a community that fits our lifestyle,” Walthers said. “We just want to get out and get to know people.”

During a meet-and-greet with media representatives on July 9, Walthers and his wife did just that. Up next is a trip to the fairgrounds, and by the end of the week, Walthers will be knee deep in getting to know the inner workings of the college as well.

This particular summer happens to be the year when Hancock takes another look at its strategic plan and how that will change in the future. Walthers will jump right in on July 10, with his first set of meetings on the strategic plan and what’s in store for the college over the next four or five years.

In August, the college’s Board of Trustees heads out with the new superintendent/president for their annual retreat, where goals for the next year are set and goals for the previous year are analyzed.

Board President Larry Lahr said Walthers’ experience with finance, business, and education will come in handy for the college as officials talk about some of the top priorities for the coming year. Lahr said a couple of priorities will be the college’s financial situation and the construction projects currently in motion on campus.

In early May, the board voted 3-2—with trustees Hilda Zacarías and Bernard Jones dissenting—to list Walthers as the lead finalist for the position pending a site visit to Las Positas College. Jones reversed his decision in favor of Walthers at the board’s May 21 meeting for a vote of 4-1.

Lahr said the Las Positas student newspaper reported some less-than-savory things about Walthers, and the visit gave trustees a chance to follow up on those claims. Trustees spoke to a couple of people quoted in the paper who alleged their quotes were misrepresented and taken out of context.

Lahr said visiting the campus and speaking to students, faculty, and staff who had worked with Walthers for the last two years gave trustees the information they needed to make their final decision.

He said while Walthers’ résumé was impressive, it was his personality that really showed he’ll be a good fit at Hancock.

“It was evident that student success was his primary goal at Las Positas,” Lahr said. “I think he demonstrated good leadership qualities.”