Southwestern College has narrowed the search for its new superintendent/president to three final applicants. The search committee chose the final three from a pool of 28 applicants and invited the finalists to participate in an open forum on campus. Each applicant presented their qualifications and experience, plus took questions from the campus community. The Governing Board will conduct final interviews with each finalist in a closed session on Dec. 5.
Below are candidate-submitted biographies that were presented at each forum, along with an evaluation sheet for each candidate. To view the archived live stream of each forum, click here.
Dr. Kindred Murillo
Dr. Kindred Murillo is a passionate college educator serving for twenty years in the California Community College System. Serving for the past five years as the Superintendent/President of Lake Tahoe Community College, Kindred has worked with the campus and the local community to financially stabilize the college through Measure F, transparent and accountable budgets, and a focus on scheduling for “student access and success.” Before arriving in Tahoe, she served as the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services for Contra Costa Community College District. Kindred also served as the Vice President of Administrative Services at Pasadena
Area Community College District. She was promoted to Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services when Copper Mountain Community College became a separate district. Kindred was hired as an adjunct faculty at Desert Community College District in 1996, served as a full-time faculty member, and moved into college administration in 2000. She brings a unique background to community college with 13 years of business and six years of governmental relations experience.
Kindred is a product of the community college system, graduating from Barstow College with a liberal arts degree. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Redlands University and earned a Master of Science in Organization Development and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine University.
Kindred enjoys spending time with her family riding bikes, hiking, and paddle boarding. She loves to read and is an avid seeker of knowledge.
Dr. Reagan F. Romali
Dr. Reagan Romali is currently in her sixth year serving as the President of Harry S Truman College. Truman College serves 20,000 credit, adult education and continuing education students on the north side of Chicago and is one of the seven colleges of the City Colleges of Chicago.
During Dr. Romali’s tenure, the college increased its federal IPEDS graduation rate and saw a dramatic increase in the number of degrees awarded. Truman College’s IPEDS graduation rate increased 300% and the number of degrees awarded rose 129%. The number of certificates
awarded rose 288% and the rate of transfer of students to four-year universities rose from 30% to 46%. The number of students advancing to college level coursework from adult education more than doubled during her tenure and students requiring developmental coursework improved their academic success as well. Romali credits the dedicated work of the faculty, staff, and administrators to these successes.
Prior to her tenure in Chicago, Dr. Romali served in various leadership capacities within community colleges in California including serving as Vice President of Business Services at Moreno Valley College, where she helped the college obtain accredited status as the 111th community college in California. She also served as an Associate Vice President and Vice President of Administrative Services at Los Angeles City College.
Dr. Romali serves on the Board of Directors for Tenet Healthcare – Weiss Memorial Hospital and Uptown United, and formerly the Chicago Sinfonietta. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from Walden University, an M.B.A. from the University of San Diego and a B.A. in English from Rutgers University. She also served as an adjunct instructor at Southwestern Community College and National University.
Dr. Angelica Suarez
An educational leader for over 20 years, committed to the transformational power of the community colleges, Dr. Suarez serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs for the Southwestern Community College District. In this role, she is responsible for the leadership of the District’s student support services and programs serving approximately 20,000 students each semester in five locations. Additional administrative experience includes serving Southwestern College as Acting Superintendent/President; Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs; Academic Dean for the Higher Education Centers in Otay Mesa and San Ysidro, as well as Academic Dean at Wright College in Chicago. Dr. Suarez has also held faculty positions in counseling at Wright College, and Southwestern College.
Dr. Suarez is recognized as a collaborative and inspiring leader focused on creating equitable and accessible pathways to higher education for all students. As past president of the California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Officers, she has championed statewide reform focused on the implementation of an innovative, responsive and equitable Student Success Initiative designed to close student educational achievement gaps. As chair of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chief Student Services Officers, she led efforts to strengthen the pathway for students to local transfer universities through the implementation of SB 1440 (Associate Degrees for Transfer). At Southwestern College, her steadfast commitment to increasing access, and success for students has resulted in the intentional realignment of support services to provide “just in time” support along the students educational journey inside and outside of the classroom, such as a First Year Experience Program, new learning communities and the Student Veterans Resource Center.
Dr. Suarez’ collective community college experience has provided her with multiple perspectives as a former student, classified staff member, faculty member, and now administrator. Her educational background includes a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies from Loyola University Chicago, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from California State University at Long Beach, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University at Long Beach, and an associate degree in liberal studies from East Los Angeles College. As a first-generation college student, immigrant, and eldest of six children, Dr. Suarez serves as a true testament to the powerful impact community colleges play in transforming the lives of students, families, and diverse communities.