Mesalands board names president finalists

Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

The names of five finalists — all from outside New Mexico — were revealed Tuesday for Mesalands Community College’s top spot.

Jim Streetman, trustee and presidential screening committee chairman, revealed the committees recommendation of five candidates following an executive session.

The trustees reconvened in regular session and voted to approve the five candidates for Skype interviews during a special meeting scheduled for Saturday.

The candidates are Eunice Bellinger of Batavia, N.Y., Kris Jamsa of Prescott, Ariz., Paul Kraft of Ontario, Ore., Thomas Newsom of McKinney, Texas, and Mark VanDenHende of Eugene, Ore.

Streetman said there were nine total candidates who applied for the presidential vacancy. He said three were eliminated for failing to complete the application process and one took another job prior to the finalist selection.

The board will choose two questions each from a list approved by their attorney to ask the five candidates during Saturday’s interviews.

From those five, the board will decide on Monday during a special meeting which candidates to invite to the college for additional questioning and interviewing, said J Bronson Moore, trustee chair.

Currently Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs, and Aaron Kennedy, vice president of student affairs, share oversight of the college’s daily operations.

Gillard and Kennedy have been co-managing Mesalands since Oct. 31, when the board of trustees unanimously voted to fire president Mildred Lovato. The decision followed an executive session held during a special meeting on Oct. 31.

The board has never given a cause for Lovato’s termination.

Other items before trustees:

•Recognition and adoption of New Mexico House Bill 021 into the college’s open meetings policy. Providing public meeting agenda’s 72 hours in advance that goes into effect Friday.

• Contract confirmations of Simone Klutzny, science curriculum specialist, Forrest Kaatz, director of institutional research and development, Matthew Garcia, recruiter and John Bauler, director of distance education.

• Review of communications report by Kimberly Hanna, director public relations.

• New Mexico State University Articulations Agreements with Mesalands.

• Fee proposal and letter agreement with Parkhill, Smith and Cooper engineer firm for design and work on Mesalands’ five year master plan and proposed Go Bond Project improvements at the college.

• Approved Tuition and fee changes and changes/revisions to the administrative services handbook and personnel handbook.

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