Board announces retirement

Board announces retirementCERRO COSO COMMUNITY COLLEGE — CCCC President Jill Board announced Aug. 22 that she will retire from her position in June 2020.

The announcement marks a milestone in her more-than-30-year career in higher education in California. When Board became the seventh president of the college in 2010, she was the third woman in a row to serve in that position.

“Kern Community College District has been very good to me and my family in providing career opportunities through this time,” said Board in a letter to KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke.

During her presidency, Board’s achievements included expanding programs and services at all of the college’s campuses, implementing new technologies, advancing equity initiatives, reinstating and developing athletic offerings, executing strategies and grants to reduce costs to students and working toward passage of Measure J to meet facility and conservation goals.

Throughout her tenure she has led the college through financially challenging times in an atmosphere of inclusiveness, mutual respect, open transparent communication, and keeping the college focused on the mission and purpose of serving students first. “They are what keeps us going; they are the shining stars that keep us focused in the midst of many battles,” she once said.

Board has given considerable attention to enhancing organizational effectiveness by committing to improve the student experience and outcomes when the state changed its emphasis from “open access” to “access, student success, and completion.”

To accomplish these improvements, she worked on

• Attending to the quality of the learning environment for students through the expansion of program opportunities and new and renovated facilities

• Obtaining financial support from the community, state, and federal government through donations and grants

• Hiring and retaining the best-qualified faculty and staff

• Supporting business and industry through customized training, internships and work-based training

• Recognizing excellence for faculty, staff and administrators at the state and national level

• Developing and restructuring the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation, resulting in a tremendous increase in the amount of work being accomplished to benefit students, employees and the college.

Her success was verified by the college’s two highly successful accreditations without qualifications by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, a significant achievement, since federal regulations for increased accountability in education have resulted in more closely examining standards related to student learning, assessment, and institutional outcomes.

The college expanded its academic offerings into Tehachapi, high schools and two California prisons to fill critical and growing needs under Board’s presidency. The Tehachapi Education Center became an official campus location of Cerro Coso in spring 2016. In terms of students served, the East Kern campus has become the second largest physical campus of the college (after the main campus in Ridgecrest) due in large part to the outreach, recruitment and development of relationships in Tehachapi. Through the college dual enrollment program, high school students can now accumulate credits prior to entering college so they will be able to graduate from college early and on time.

The success of the Cerro Coso’s Incarcerated Student Education Program (ISEP) and its integration of programs and services like EOPS and PTK have received regional, state and national attention.

Along with serving on many professional boards in various capacities, Board is the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including the Woman of the Year Award given by the Beta Sigma Phi Ridgecrest Chapter and the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction by Phi Theta Kappa International for her outstanding efforts in promoting the goals of the organization.

Before becoming CCCC president, Board served as the college’s vice president of student services. In this capacity, she was responsible for planning, developing and evaluating a college-wide comprehensive student services program and intercollegiate athletic program.

She had fiscal oversight and management responsibilities for state-restricted and unrestricted budget allocations, administered the student conduct process and served as the Title IX coordinator and the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance officer.

Previous positions held by Board at Cerro Coso include dean of student services; dean of student learning; director of admissions and records, matriculation and student activities; and counselor/coordinator for special services.

Board plans to continue to lead the college throughout the academic year, working with the various employee groups to devise a plan that addresses current fiscal issues while planning for a looming recession and that ensures that Cerro Coso will be ready for its new leader to take the reins with new energy and vision that will be inclusive of its more than 18,000 square miles containing “more critters than people,” said Board.

“I look forward to my last productive year and am hopeful that with this amount of notice the right candidate will emerge who will fall in love with the desert, the Eastern Sierra and its people.”

Story First Published: 2019-08-30