Chances are “slim to none” that City College of San Francisco will find a permanent replacement for Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb by the time she leaves this summer, a top administrator said last week.
College officials on the hunt for a new chancellor were already trying to meet a tight deadline before Lamb announced late Thursday night that she would leave the college in June.
SEE RELATED: Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb to leave CCSF
But her announcement was even more reason for Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Dianna Gonzales to ask the Board of Trustees for an extension of the chancellor search, she told the trustees early Friday morning.
The board unanimously voted to extend the deadline to apply after Gonzales said she had concerns with the “sufficiency of the pool” of applicants.
As of the prior deadline Friday, 15 people had applied for the opportunity to lead the college, which was until recently under fire from its accreditor and has lost roughly a third of its students since 2012.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean we have 15 qualified applicants,” Gonzales told the trustees, noting that the applications had not been reviewed.
While the accreditation crisis may have contributed to the size of the applicant pool for CCSF, Gonzales said the appearance that Lamb was in the running for the job may have had something to do with it.
“Whenever you’ve got an incumbent, that’s pretty tough competition,” Gonzales said. “[With] someone who is an incumbent that has done such a phenomenal job, I think that did have an impact on the folks that were applying.”
Lamb said she decided not to apply for personal reasons.
Trustee Tom Temprano also said applicants could have been discouraged from applying because an incumbent “who really led this college well” appeared to be in the running.
“There certainly would be folks who would see that and not apply,” Temprano said in an interview Monday.
Nonetheless, the number is small in comparison to other high-profile job searches recently underway in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Unified School District fielded 27 potential candidates for the role of superintendent by February.
The Police Commission considered more than 60 candidates before the mayor hired Police Chief William “Bill” Scott in December.
The applicants were — and still are in the case of SFUSD Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh — up against incumbents in both races.
“You only need one good applicant, but of course more is generally better than fewer,” Trustee Rafael Mandelman said in a text message. “I also believe that additional strong candidates will apply now that it is clear that the appointed interim will not be applying and the search is real.”
The trustees voted to extend the deadline to apply indefinitely, keeping the chancellor search ongoing until the position is filled while also giving priority to applications filed by April 21.
If a chancellor is not selected, the board will choose a new acting chancellor to replace Lamb come July 1.
Temprano said the delay is not necessarily to the college’s detriment.
“At the end of the day, giving us the opportunity to field an even broader pool is a good thing,” Temprano said. “I feel this is a good opportunity for City College to get the leader who is going to take us into this new era.”
In January, the college’s accreditation was renewed for another seven years. Then, in February, city leaders reached a deal that will make CCSF tuition free for most San Francisco residents.
“We are coming out of crisis but with that comes really strong opportunities,” Temprano said. “We’ll see how the process plays out.”