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Sierra College president announces retirement

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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Sierra College President Leo Chavez has announced his resignation. Effective June 30, 2011, Chavez will step down as president of the community college, where he’s led as president for four years. In a letter to the entire college staff, Chavez wrote that there is nothing negative about his decision to retire. “I wish I could give you a simple reason for my decision, but there are many, some simple and some complicated, so all I will say is that it is time,” he wrote. “I told myself a long time ago I would leave when things were going well rather than hang around too long and be pushed out as has happened to far too many of my colleagues nationwide.” Chavez earned his PhD in history from the University of Michigan and later taught history at San Jose City College, served as president of West Valley College in Saratoga and was chancellor of Foothill-De Anza community college in Los Altos Hills. As president of Sierra College, he overseas approximately 22,000 students and 1,500 employees. Trustee Aaron Klein, who serves as the vice president/clerk of the Sierra Joint Community College District Board of Trustees, said that Chavez has been a remarkable leader and his leadership and wisdom will be missed. “He has done everything the board has asked him to do and deserves immense credit for setting Sierra College on a fiscally sustainable path,” Klein said in an e-mail. Sierra College’s annual budget is $92 million, which encompasses campuses not only in Rocklin, but also Roseville, Grass Valley and Truckee. “Our next president will face a number of challenges as we prepare to serve a growing population, replace fiscal facilities and innovate how we deliver education so we can serve more people with the same resources,” Klein said. “I look forward to finding a new president who will continue Sierra College’s tradition of excellence.”