Want to be NVC prez? Spanish fluency a plus

College hopes to have a president by summer
2013-01-23T19:20:00Z 2013-01-23T19:21:03Z Want to be NVC prez? Spanish fluency a plusISABELLE DILLS Napa Valley Register
January 23, 2013 7:20 pm  • 

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.

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(7) Comments

  1. publiusa
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    publiusa - January 23, 2013 7:51 pm
    The student population at NVUSD is predominantly Hispanic, but almost none of the teachers can communicate with Latinos. There are no Latino assistant supervisors.
  2. ninjaplease
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    ninjaplease - January 24, 2013 8:26 am
    This comment is ridiculous. This is America. We speak English. It's not that the teachers can't communicate with Latinos, it's that Latinos apparently aren't learning the language of the country in which they reside. Even if the school were completely staffed with Latinos they should speak english.
  3. glenroy
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    glenroy - January 24, 2013 8:49 am
    The only effective President will have to be able to take on the various public employee unions to be effective…they had one for a while but she realized the way things are ran around here is dictated by union contracts not by the needs of the tax payers.

  4. fmmt47
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    fmmt47 - January 24, 2013 9:04 am
    "Among the college’s list of desirable qualifications are candidates who are fluent in both English and Spanish" Why not just fluent in English?
  5. napa1957
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    napa1957 - January 24, 2013 11:18 am
    I truly don't get it. By the time one is an adult and taking college level courses, one should be able to communicate in the language of the country they have adopted!!! While having a Spanish speaking President would be a nice "add-on" so we will look more fulfilled while being an "Hispanic Serving Institution", I would hope that this criteria wouldn't hinder the process of finding someone who would be supremely suitable for the job, even if not bi-lingual.
    I keep feeling like we are the supreme definition of "co-dependent" and "enablers". I believe we are hindering the progress of our hispanic students if we don't give them a reason to become proficient in the language of this country.
  6. shantz
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    shantz - January 24, 2013 1:11 pm
    I serve as one of three student representatives on the presidential search committee.

    Several community forums were hosted at the college to gather input from the campus and community to help shape these desirable qualifications.

    At each of these forums, several students expressed a desire for a bilingual president with fluency in Spanish. We have a large a Spanish speaking student population and many students want a president who can communicate with this student demographic.

    In our increasingly diverse and global society, being bilingual is a useful skillset. It provides students with a competitive advantage when they enter the workforce.

    Many countries in the world have multiple official languages. I think slowly but surely this is the direction we are heading. And, I say the sooner the better.
  7. love-napa-valley
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    love-napa-valley - January 24, 2013 7:47 pm
    First to shantz: I agree with you .. The less we accept it the less we grow .. We all are evolving .. We shouldn't fight it is like going backwards .. And to publiusa: my friend just if you didnt know America is a continent with many countries, and therefore different languages .. To South America; Spanish, Portuguese, Central America also Spanish and don't forget hundred dialects ..... And North America which is from Mexico to Canada .. If you mean United States of America English speaking I agree all who come should do an effort to learn the language for their on seek .. But let's face it it won't hurt learning another language besides English and provide multi-language services that will makes us be the difference . Peace to all
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