Finalists named for Rockland Community College president's post

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The Technology Center on Rockland Community College's main campus is Ramapo. Contributed photo

Rockland Community College has narrowed its search for a new leader down to four finalists to serve as the two-year college's eighth president since its founding in 1959.

The finalists are:

  • Viviana Abreu-Hernandez, vice president for external affairs at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass.;
  • David Potash, president of Wilbur Wright College in Chicago;
  • Lester Edgardo Sandres Rápalo, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bronx Community College;
  • and Matthew Reed, who's serving as senior executive officer for the New Jersey Council of County Colleges while on sabbatical from his job as vice president for academic affairs at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, N.J.

Three of the four RCC finalists — Potash, Sandres Rápalo and Reed — are finalists for the same job at Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y. All four are scheduled to visit the RCC campus during the first and second week of March for in-person and virtual forums with faculty, staff and students. Details on the candidates and an opportunity to ask them questions is available on RCC's website

Salary range for the position starts at $220,000, according to the job posting on the national search firm Isaacson, Miller’s website. The college has an annual budget of about $72 million, according to the job posting.

RCC began the search last summer following the departure of Michael A. Baston, who took the president's post at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. Baston became RCC’s president in 2017.

The SUNY school’s enrollment of about 5,637 full- and part-time students includes 52 international students and more than 1,184 students over 25 years old. RCC is also home to about 70 veteran students each year, according to its website. It employs over 500 faculty and 400 staff, according to Isaacson, Miller. 

Besides its main campus off College Road in Ramapo, the school has a Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center in Nyack, the Herbert Kurz Automotive Technology Center in Orangeburg, and an extension center in the Village of Haverstraw.

Joseph Rand, an RCC Board of Trustees member since 2013 and current vice chair, is chairing the search committee. Rand, chief creative officer for Howard Hanna | Rand Realty and also a Nyack village trustee, chaired RCC’s 2016 presidential search that culminated with Baston’s hiring.

Three RCC trustees are on the search committee: Grant Valentine, Elana Yeger, and student Trustee Rafhilene Frias-Sanchez.

The college's provost and executive vice president, Susan Deer, was appointed as officer in charge during the search process. Katherine Lynch, an associate English professor at RCC, was named officer in charge of Academic Affairs. They will serve until a new president assumes office, which is expected to occur on or before July 2023.

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