Lee Lambert Nominated for Chancellor Position at San Diego Community College

By Lanissa Patterson

It is possible that by next fall, Pima Community College will have a new Chancellor.

Current Chancellor Lee Lambert has been nominated for an opportunity at San Diego Community College District. According to a media statement by Pima Community College, Lambert is one of four finalists for the SDCCD Chancellor position..

The other finalists include; Barbara Kavalier, who is currently President of St. Charles Community College in St. Charles, Missouri, Pamela Luster, who is President of San Diego Mesa College in San Diego, California, and Carlos O. Turner Cortez, who is President of San Diego College of Continuing Education in San Diego, California, according to a media statement released by SDCCD. 

The search for a replacement Chancellor began in late July of 2020 following the resignation of current Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, who has served 17 years at San Diego Community College District. 

Caroll has served as Chancellor of the SDCCD since 2004, and in 2019 made an annual salary of $350,525. This is just a hair more than Lambert’s 2020-2021 salary at Pima which is $342,093 according to Pima records. With each year of service at SDCCD, the Chancellor will receive roughly over $1,000 added to their monthly salary.

SDCCD announced that on the week of February 22nd, each candidate will participate in a virtual forum that will be open to the public. The forum will include an introduction of each candidate followed by a statement from the candidate, and concluded with a question and answer session regulated by a moderator.

Lambert said in a statement to PCC that he has been approached by many impressive institutions, but “it was only SDCCD, which to me represents a once-in-a lifetime opportunity, that I felt compelled to explore.” 

The SDCCD serves approximately 100,000 students across three credit colleges and seven campuses of San Diego College of Continuing Education.

“I admire their commitment to academic excellence, world class facilities and the state support for higher education. Regardless of the outcome, I am honored to be considered,” he said.

The process will conclude with board members from SDCCD conducting an on site visit to the first choice candidate’s institution, and in late March the Board of Trustees will announce the new Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District according to the institutions website. 

Lambert is proud of his accomplishments over the past 7 and a half years. 

“Our efforts to become a premier institution centered on student success, community engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion has led Pima to be recognized as a top 150 community college by the Aspen Institute and by Excelencia in Education as the leader in Arizona for graduating Hispanic students,” Lambert said. “As always, I thank you for all you do for each other, for students, and for the community.”

As for the future of Pima, Lambert said in a recent email to PCC staff, “we remain focused on planning to reopen our campuses more fully in the Fall, exploring better access to vaccines for students and others, continuing progress on our Centers of Excellence, and supporting our students and employees at this challenging time.”

Governing Board Chair Demion Clinco guaranteed that Pima College will remain committed to the high standards set by Chancellor Lambert regardless of the outcome, in a statement to PCC.

“The Board remains committed to the direction of PCC and the aspirational vision and future charted and mapped by Chancellor Lambert. Whatever the outcome of this process we are committed to staying the course and continuing the trajectory of building the best community college in the nation for our students and our community,” Clinco said.

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