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Rocklin, Calif.- The Sierra College Board of Trustees today appointed William Duncan as the next President of Sierra College. Mr. Duncan currently serves as President of Taft College, located in California’s central valley. He becomes only the sixth President in the 75-year history of Sierra College.

After being informed of Dr. Chavez’ decision to retire, the Board of Trustees undertook a nationwide search to find a new President, and appointed a 23-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, which included community members, trustees, President’s Office staff, faculty, classified staff and administration at the college.

Subsequent to its evaluation of 45 applicants, the Advisory Committee forwarded six candidates to the Board, who interviewed all six on Tuesday, May 3. Following deliberations, trustees instructed the Board President to negotiate a contract with Mr. Duncan, which was approved unanimously by the Board (6-0 vote) in closed session moments ago.

“The Board of Trustees is confident it has found a new President of energy, ideas and innovation in William Duncan,” said Aaron Klein, Board President. “Leo Chavez has led this college with incredible vision for the last five years, and he is leaving enormous shoes to fill. We are confident that our new President is up to the task of leading this institution in a time of tremendous change and innovation in higher education.”

Mr. Duncan brings extensive experience in educational leadership, having spent 14 years in progressively senior leadership positions at Taft College, most recently as President and CEO. He has been particularly active in alternative resource development, with wide-ranging accomplishments such as:

  • Securing the largest grant in the entire country for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education ($5 million), and leading a groundbreaking effort to build a STEM pathway from Kindergarten all the way through college
  • Building a national consortium to fund a college program to help students with autism and intellectual disabilities transition into independent living ($5 million)
  • Supporting an entrepreneurial partnership between faculty and local business to build an iPad application useful for teaching statistics in the classroom, potentially creating a brand new entrepreneurial revenue source to offset other funding cuts

“I am deeply honored to be appointed to serve as the next President of Sierra College. I would like to thank the Board of Trustees and the selection committee for giving me this extraordinary opportunity,” said Mr. Duncan. “I join Sierra College with incredible respect for the work that the faculty, staff and administration have done to develop it into one of the finest community colleges in the country. Sierra’s outstanding record of academic excellence and student success is something to be very proud of. I am energized by this opportunity and can’t wait to get started.

“I am excited and extremely pleased with the choice of Mr. Duncan as my successor at Sierra College,” said current President, Dr. Leo E. Chavez. “He has the skills, experience and enthusiasm to move the college forward.”

Mr. Duncan will take office on July 1, 2011.

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