System Presidential Search


Hispanic male sitting in chairApril 30, 2018 (Denver, CO) – The State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education Chair, Dr. Russell Meyer, announced today that Joe Garcia, J.D. has been appointed as president of the Colorado Community College System.

Garcia will succeed Dr. Nancy J. McCallin in mid-July. Dr. McCallin plans to retire on July 31st after 14 years as president.

Garcia brings demonstrated leadership and commitment to advancing higher education initiatives and access through various roles in both the public sector and in higher education.

Currently, Garcia serves as President of The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, an interstate compact created to provide access to, and improve the quality of, higher education opportunities for residents of the western United States.

From 2011-2016, he served as the Lt. Governor of Colorado and as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. During his time as Lt. Governor, Garcia focused on increasing equity in outcomes for all students. Garcia also served as President of Pikes Peak Community College and President of Colorado State University-Pueblo. His previous public service positions included serving as a member of the Cabinet of Governor Roy Romer and as a White House appointee under President Bill Clinton. He also was a partner at the Denver-based law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen where he focused on public education law.

Dr. Meyer called Garcia the ideal person to lead the Colorado Community College System into the next stage of its history.

“I could not be more pleased with this decision,” said Dr. Meyer. “Joe Garcia has demonstrated throughout his distinguished career the type of strong, effective and transformational leadership that will ensure CCCS has a worthy successor to Dr. Nancy J. McCallin.”

Dr. Meyer added that the committee provided a comprehensive and exhaustive search over the past several months, and the result is someone the entire CCCS community can be proud of for his scholarly vision and executive leadership.

Garcia has expressed his eagerness to listen and learn more from the students, faculty, staff and the greater CCCS community.

“It is an honor to be selected as the finalist,” said Garcia. “During my career in higher education, I have learned so much from the students who come to our colleges with big dreams, but often limited resources. With dedicated faculty and staff, we can help them reach their goals, support their families, and give back to their communities. I am excited to play a role in that process.”

About the Search

The Board convened a search committee consisting of all Board members and student, faculty and staff representatives. The Board charged the search committee to bring highly qualified candidates to the Board on consideration. The search committee was guided in its work by Dr. John Trefny who formerly served as president for the Colorado School of Mines and chaired the SBCCOE. The Search committee conducted it’s first meeting on November 8, 2018. At this meeting the committee developed and adopted protocols for the search. The search committee’s agendas were posted at SBCCOE SCHEDULE prior to meeting.

Committee Members

Presley F. Askew
Dr. Linda Bowman
Candace Garrod
Rollie Heath
Dr. Byron McClenney
Richard E. Martinez Jr.
Dr. Russ Meyer
Jim Johnson

Kelly O’Dell
Theresa Peña
Leah Porter
Dr. John Trefny, Administrative Chair
Daniel Villanueva
Maria-Vittoria Carminati
Jean White
Ken Weil
Rachel Zinna

DHR International, a global executive search firm, assisted the Board and search committee in conducting this national search. Inquiries and nominations were invited.

About Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving more than 137,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. CCCS’s open access mission ensures that all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. CCCS students save time and money with affordable tuition and fees, concurrent enrollment and guaranteed transfer to any public university in Colorado. Online courses are available via Colorado Community Colleges Online. CCCS also oversees career and technical programs in its 13 colleges, more than 160 school districts and 6 other post-secondary institutions. By partnering with business and industry, CCCS helps employers meet workforce needs and prepares students for direct entry to their chosen career pathway. The vast majority of CCCS students are Colorado residents and, after graduation, 97% of CCCS students stay in state becoming the workforce that powers the Colorado economy and the heart of its neighborhoods, businesses and communities.