San Antonio’s two largest community colleges need new presidents

The two largest community colleges in the Alamo Colleges District need new presidents. Northwest Vista’s Ric Baser is retiring at the end of May and San Antonio College’s Robert Vela is leaving in June to become president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Many Texas colleges are currently undergoing leadership changes, but Alamo Colleges District Chancellor Mike Flores said he isn’t concerned that increased competition could make it harder to hire two new presidents.

Instead, he said the main challenge will be finding the right candidates.

“We are fortunate that each of the institutions and the faculty, staff and community are really attractive places. It’s an exciting time to be either at Northwest Vista or at SAC and Alamo,” said Flores, noting that San Antonio College won the 2021 Aspen Award for Community College Excellence and Northwest Vista was invited to compete for the award in 2023.

“I think we’ll have ultra-competitive pools and a lot of people want to come and be part of Alamo colleges,” Flores said.

The search is already underway for the next president of Northwest Vista as Baser announced his retirement in January. The search committee will interview the semi-finalists in early June and Flores will interview the finalists later in the month. He plans to recommend a candidate for the position to the board in July or August, aiming to have the next president in place by September 1.

The search for San Antonio College’s next president is expected to begin in September, with an ideal start date of January 2.

Flores said Northwest Vista College will be led jointly by the college’s three vice presidents over the summer. San Antonio College’s Dean of Performance Excellence, Frank Solis, will serve as interim president of the SAC for the next six months.

Flores said he is looking for candidates who are “spectacular leaders” who can also work in teams and are willing to support and follow others.

“Someone who honors the legacy of each institution, the legacy of their predecessor, and what has been established in each college, across Alamo, and in the community, but someone who is also willing to leave their own mark and to take and lead the institution forward for the next chapter,” said Flores.

“I think COVID has provided and exposed a number of challenges that exist within our community, and we’re going to be counting on them to be part of the team to help us provide those solutions.”

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