College of the Siskiyous is preparing for another superintendent/president search following Scotty Thomason’s announcement that he will retire effective June 30, 2017.
Thomason was hired for the position in July 2014 at the end of a search that took more than a year.
His decision to retire came as no surprise. COS board of trustee Area 4 candidates Barry Ohlund (who was reelected to the position in November) and Sharon Swingle both stated in October that hiring a new president would be one of the important upcoming issues for the board.
The search announcement for a new superintendent/president is expected to be published in January, according to a COS press release. To assist in the search, the college says it has hired PPL Incorporated, a firm used by several community colleges to drive advertising and promotion of senior level administrative positions.
The goal is for the 12th COS superintendent/president to begin serving on July 1, 2017.
Ohlund praised Thomason. He states in the press release, “The Board knew of Scotty Thomason’s abilities before he became president and recognized that he would be the guiding light and future direction for our community college. We knew he had the experience of working in the education system and that he knew how to make the necessary changes to make our college grow and become much stronger. The Trustees and I will miss President Thomason and his wife, Sharie. He came to the college at precisely the right time, and he has worked hard to get us on track and where we need to be. He is also leaving us with some huge shoes to fill!”
Thomason, according to the press release, “brought to COS a strong belief and commitment to student success. Under his leadership enrollment has increased; new programs are in development; college processes and procedures have been streamlined; and, the college is recognized as a student-centered institution with strong connections to the community.
Prior to becoming superintendent/president, Thomason served two years as interim vice president of Administrative Services. Before that, he was vice president of Administrative Services at Reedley College and at College of the Redwoods. He is also a former chief business officer for Ohlone College.
“I have not only been the president of the college these past two years, I have also served as member of the College Foundation Board of Directors. The Foundation is crucial to the college as members of the Foundation are a direct connection to the community and potential donors,” states Thomason in the press release.
“The pursuit and success in raising funds and creating partnerships within the community is critical as funding from the state of California and the federal government is rapidly dissipating. Of the many projects and programs the COS Foundation has supported over the years, none have had quite the impact on our community and our students as the new Siskiyou Promise Scholarship Program. This new activity is directly supporting our local students by paying for required tuition for recent high school graduates who attend COS following their high school graduation,” added Thomason.
He sees student enrollment and the ability to keep pace with the demands of the market as keys to the college’s future.
“One of the goals I set when I became president was to increase enrollment. For several years, the college had been on a decline, but due to the many efforts of everyone on campus, enrollment is once again growing. The growth is being accomplished through outreach and recruitment at our local high schools and being better connected with the community, as well as our Instructional Service Agreements.” said Thomason. “We also have a number of new programs and opportunities just getting underway.”
Thomason is a member of Weed Rotary Club, served on the Siskiyou Community Services Council, the Board of Siskiyou Economic Development Commission, the Coordinating Council of the North Far North Career and Technical Education efforts, and the Crystal Geyser Advisory Board. He also participated in the updating of the City of Weed Master Plan and the Resilience Weed efforts.
Following his retirement, the Thomasons plan to move to Eureka, where they have a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
The District, as stated in the press release, “will be seeking a visionary leader with an understanding of and demonstrated commitment to community college philosophy, and who showcases an inclusive and open leadership style that will continue the tradition of outstanding service to the residents of Siskiyou County and beyond.”
The position of COS president/superintendent will be open until filled with an initial review date of applications on March 10.