The growing Latino population at Napa Valley College may play a role in the search for a new, permanent college president.
A brochure that provides details of the president position lists about a dozen qualifications — both required and “desirable.” Among the college’s list of desirable qualifications are candidates who are fluent in both English and Spanish.
In Fall 2012, Hispanic students made up approximately 38 percent of Napa Valley College’s full-time student body. Two years ago, in Fall 2010, Hispanic enrollment was at 27 percent.
Because of its high percentage of Hispanic students, Napa Valley College has been designated an “Hispanic Serving Institution” by the U.S. Department of Education. The designation allows for the college to apply for annual grant funding to help support science, technology, engineering and math programs.
Having a bilingual college president always has been a preference in past searches, but it’s now an even more desirable quality due to the changing demographics, said trustee JoAnn Busenbark, who chairs the presidential search committee.
The college began advertising for the open president’s position at the start of the new year, and will be accepting applications through Feb. 27. The college is hoping to have a permanent president assume duties July 1.
The position is expected to attract a diverse, and large, pool of candidates — although applicants who understand the California community college system, along with state laws and regulations, will be preferred, Busenbark said.
Among those who have applied for the position is Ronald Kraft, who has been serving as interim president of Napa Valley College since August of last year.
Kraft said he decided to apply for the permanent position after his first few weeks on the job.
“Napa's deep roots are so similar to the town where I grew up (Lemon Grove, Ca.) where my neighbors were dairy farmers and citrus growers,” Kraft wrote in an email. “We knitted together as a community to get things done, help one another and invest in our future. That's the way I was raised and what's expected of a successful president at the college.”
Kraft recently presented a “financial roadmap” for the recovery and growth of the college titled, “The Way Forward.” The plan, he said, received an “overwhelming and very positive” response from college stakeholders. He said that experience was a “wonderful confirmation” for him as the interim president.
Kraft, who was born and raised in San Diego County, also speaks intermediate level Spanish. For 10 years he taught at Southwestern Community College, which — like Napa Valley College — was designated as an Hispanic Serving Institution.
In March, Busenbark and the search committee will review application materials and identify the top candidates. The committee will conduct interviews in early April, and the finalists will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees.
The board will conduct their own interviews and make the final decision in appointing a new president sometime in May.