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Trustees Hire Firm to Find Next SMC President

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Hector Gonzalez
Staff Writer

April 28, 2015 -- A nationwide search for Santa Monica College’s next president has intensified with the hiring of a professional recruiting firm to find the right candidate.

SMC’s Board of Trustees this past week selected Ralph Andersen and Associates of Rockdale in Northern California to head up the search, which is expected to take the rest of this year, said SMC spokeswoman Lisa Rose.

Trustees heard from two other firms competing for the consulting contract at a special meeting but selected Ralph Andersen and Associates as the most competitive of the three bids, she said.

“Ralph Andersen and Associates’ stellar reputation in California and throughout the nation made choosing them easy,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Rob Rader.

Among the 1,200 executive and management consulting services the firm has performed for the public sector, it helped fill executive positions at Pasadena City College, the Sierra Community College District and College of Marin, said Rose.

Rose did not disclose the amount of the contract the college district awarded to Ralph Andersen and Associates.

A team from the consulting firm headed by Stan Arterberry, retired chancellor of West Valley Community College District, and Dr. Nicki Harrington, former chancellor of the Yuba Community College District, will lead the recruiting effort, Rose said.

SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang in February announced he will retire after nine years heading the Santa Monica Community College District. Tsang is scheduled to leave in June.

After successfully guiding the district through the recession and severe budget cuts from the state, Tsang said it was time “for someone with new vision and energy” to lead the 33,000-student college (Santa Monica College President to Retire, February 5, 2015).

Last month, the Board of Trustees selected SMC Vice President Jeff Shimizu to serve as interim superintendent-president until a permanent replacement is hired.

Officials hope to have a new superintendent-president selected by the beginning of next year, Rose said.

Although officials have not said how much the new superintendent-president will earn, Tsang earned $337,000 a year in his post, plus an additional $47,822 in benefits, according to

Rose said the college now will create an internal search committee to help Ralph Andersen and Associates recruit and vet qualified candidates.

“The consulting team will work closely with a SMC search committee, still to be established, in developing a president profile and recruitment materials, identifying prospective candidates throughout the nation, doing detailed background reports on top candidates, conducting extensive reference checks, and more,” said Rose.

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