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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 8th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 9 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 9

Hancock chooses lead finalist, but wades through 'due diligence'

Pending the results of a visit to Las Positas College in Livermore and contract negotiations, the Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees announced at its May 1 meeting that Kevin G. Walthers is the man to take the school’s helm.

Walthers is currently president of Las Positas College and has been since August 2011. The board is scheduled to visit the college on May 13 and to make its final decision on whether to name Walthers to the position of Allan Hancock College superintendent/president on May 21.

Rebecca Alarcio, a spokesperson for the college, said the trustees weren’t ready to say why they think Walthers is the best candidate, because there are those lingering “due diligence” steps to take in the hiring process.

“Until May 21, which is when they take a vote to put him into place, it’s an unsettled issue,” Alarcio explained. “I think there is the expectation that it will go through, or they wouldn’t have made it this far.”

That being said, Walthers was top pick of the final three applicants the board interviewed during the week of April 29. He told the Sun he was looking forward to the site visit on May 13 and was excited to show off what’s happening at Las Positas.

“If you picked up Las Positas College and put it on the Central Coast, you’d have Allan Hancock,” Walthers said.

Although his current school is smaller than Hancock, it has similar programs such as agriculture and viticulture, and Walthers said the community is also similar to the Santa Maria area. He said his big accomplishments at Las Positas are restoring relationships with the community and a fundraising program called Foundation 55, which raises money for classes when budgets prompt colleges to cut classes.

Walthers said for every $5,500 the college raised, officials were able to add a “critical” class back to the schedule. He said Las Positas added seven such classes in fall 2012, and has enough money to add at least 10 more at the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

Being able to spearhead a fundraising effort such as Foundation 55 is one of the things Walthers loves about his job. Although he was once a teacher, he said as an administrator he gets to work both with teachers and students to further student ambitions, and that makes the work fun.

After teaching high school in Texas, Walthers worked with the Utah State Board of Regents starting in 1999 and has worked in higher education ever since. After serving in a joint position with the West Virginia Community and Technical College System and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, he moved to California and started his current job at Las Positas.

For him, moving to the Santa Maria area would be a natural transition as he said it was an area he “fell in love with” in 2007, after he visited with a friend.

“I was sort of looking to be a superintendent/president somewhere else in the state, and the job at Allan Hancock turned out to be fortuitous,” Walthers said. “When the offer came from Allan Hancock, I withdrew from anything else.”