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MJC presidential search continues
College district restarts hiring process

The Yosemite Community College District announced Thursday that it is reopening the position for president of Modesto Junior College.

The search began in March to replace Jill Stearns, who served as MJC President since 2012. Stearns left to take the position of president at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

In April, the Modesto Junior College Presidential Search Committee announced the selection of two finalists to become the next MJC President — Albert Alt and Kimberlee Messina.

Alt was most recently the Vice President of College and Administrative Services at Modesto Junior College. Messina was most recently the Interim Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Planning at San Mateo Community College District in San Mateo, California.

Open forums for the finalists were held June 18 with each finalist given an opportunity to discuss their preparation for the position, their education and leadership philosophy, concluding with a time to respond to questions from the forum attendees.

The college district did not give a reason for the restart of the presidential search process, set to begin in fall.

According to Chancellor Henry Chiong Vui Yong, he is actively considering individuals for the short-term appointment and expects to name an interim President as soon as possible, with the expectation that the individual could be available to the campus in planning for the fall semester start-up.

In May, YCCD appointed a new president of Columbia College, Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay.

Bandyopadhyay succeeds Columbia College President Dr. Angela Fairchilds, who is retiring after 38 years in higher education.

In 2017, YCCD had two rounds of candidate searches for the position of Chancellor. In May 2017, the District appointed Yong to fill the position. He took over from Interim Chancellor Jane Harmon. Harmon had led the District for six months, following the retirement of Chancellor Emeritus Joan Smith.