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    Ventura County Community College District Announces Ventura College President Finalists

    Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) Chancellor Greg Gillespie is pleased to announce that after a nationwide search, five finalists will move forward in the Ventura College President search process.

    Listed below are candidate biographies and campus forums information. College faculty, staff, administration, and community members are invited to attend.

    Ventura College President Finalist Forums

    Monday, April 15, 2019

    2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

    Ventura College Performing Arts Center

    4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, California


    2 p.m. Damon Bell, Ed.D.
    2:40 p.m. Krista Johns, J.D.
    3:20 p.m. Scott Thayer, Ed.D.
    4 p.m. Kimberly Hoffmans, Ed.D.
    4:40 p.m.            Wei Zhou, Ph.D.


    “The forums are an important part of the search process. They provide an opportunity for students, campus constituents, and the community to meet and hear from the candidates,” stated Gillespie. Final interviews will take place the following day.

    The next Ventura College president will fill the position vacated by Chancellor Gillespie when he was appointed VCCCD Chancellor in 2017. Two interims have filled the position since that time. “We are excited to meet the finalists and look forward to working and collaborating with the new Ventura College president to ensure student success. The Ventura College Classified Senate appreciates being part of this process,” offered Sebastian Szczebiot, Ventura College Classified Senate President.

    The forums are organized through the Ventura College Academic Senate. ”Finalists will address the campus community and answer questions on important campus concerns,” stated Lydia Morales, Ventura College Academic Senate President. “We are hoping for a great turn out and we are looking forward to hearing from our prospective new college president” added Morales.

    Brief background statements of each candidate are as follows:


    Damon Bell

    Damon Bell

    Dr. Bell currently serves as Ventura College Interim President with nearly 30 years of combined higher education experience in the community college and California State University systems. He was the Vice President for Student Services at Olympic College (Bremerton, WA); San Bernardino Valley, and San Diego Mesa colleges.

    Dr. Bell is a Rotarian and a life member of the NAACP. He served on the Kitsap Community Resources and Olympic College Foundation boards. He spent four years serving on various leadership positions including president for the Washington State Student Services Commission. He also served on multiple statewide committees and taskforces in Washington. He served as a Guided Pathways Change Facilitator for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

    Dr. Bell holds an associate degree from Los Angeles Harbor College; a bachelor’s in Philosophy from UC San Diego; a master’s in Student Personnel in Higher Education from University of Georgia; and a doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Community College Leadership from CSU Fullerton.


    Kim Hoffmans

    Kim Hoffmans

    Dr. Hoffmans has served the Ventura County Community College District for the last 25 years as a nursing faculty, coordinator/department chair, dean, and currently as Ventura College Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dr. Hoffmans holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas; a master’s degree in nursing administration from Texas Woman’s University; and a doctorate degree in higher education from California Lutheran University. 

    Dr. Hoffmann’s background includes leadership of academic programs, student services areas, career technical educational, accreditation, curriculum, Guided Pathways and enrollment management. She has served on statewide boards for the California Community College (CCC) Chief Instructional Officers, CCC Athletics Association, CCC Workforce & Economic Development Performance Advisory Board, and others. Locally, she serves as a member of the Ventura College Foundation Board of Directors, a member of California Lutheran University Advisory Committee for the Graduate School, Ventura College of Education’s Doctorate Program, and a member of South Central Coast Regional Consortium for career education.


    Krista Johns

    Krista Johns

    Ms. Johns currently serves as Guided Pathways Regional Coordinator, Bay Area with the State Chancellor’s Office. Prior to taking that assignment, she served as Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Student Success at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. Dr. Johns has worked in higher education for more than 25 years, serving as faculty member, curriculum and program director, academic dean, vice president of instruction, and interim college president. She also worked as vice president at WASC-ACCJC, the accrediting commission for community colleges. Ms. Johns holds a Juris Doctor degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and a B.A. Degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside. She also completed a fellowship with the California Community College Leadership Development Institute.


    Scott Thayer


    Dr. Thayer has more than 20 years of experience in higher education in the California Community College system. He has served in various leadership positions (Vice President, Dean, Assistant Dean, Director) during his career at San Bernardino Valley College, Cuyamaca College, Pasadena City College and Los Angeles Southwest College. He has been active in several community organizations including serving on the board of directors for two nonprofit organizations Have Faith, Be Strong, a nonprofit organization for childhood cancer awareness, and the African-American Male Education Network and Development. Dr. Thayer received his doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from the University of Southern California; Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance degree from Point Loma Nazarene University; Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Rollins College in Florida; and an Associate of Arts degree from Normandale Community College in Minnesota.


    Wei Zhou

    Wei Zhou

    Dr. Zhou is a graduate of the California Community College CEO Leadership Academy and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin specializing in community college education and leadership. Zhou has extensive California community college administrative experience in multi-college districts serving as Dean of Math, Science and Engineering at Evergreen Valley College, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Copper Mountain College, Vice President of Instruction and Interim President at Cuyamaca College, and President of Crafton Hills College. He has comprehensive experience and supporting credit, non-credit and not-for-credit instruction and student services, library and learning support, technology and facilities management, institutional and program accreditation, research, strategic planning and institutional effectiveness, budget development and resource allocation, faculty and staff development, participatory governance and collective bargaining. Dr. Zhou has served on a number of local, county, regional, state and national boards and committees, and led statewide teams to help California community colleges with accreditation, integrated planning, enrollment management and instructional and student support program development.


    About Ventura College

    Established in 1925, Ventura College is an accredited two-year institution of higher education located approximately 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara in Ventura, California. Ventura College offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Sciences degrees in 33 majors and Certificates of Completion and Proficiency Awards in 61 areas of study. The institution has an enrollment of approximately 14,500 students and has Transfer Guarantee Agreements with California State University (CSU), Channel Islands, CSU, Northridge, University of California (UC), Davis, UC, Santa Barbara and UC, Santa Cruz. 


    About Ventura County Community College District

    The Ventura County Community College District is a member of the 115-campus California Community College system, and serves more than 32,000 students annually. The District’s three colleges- Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura- offer programs in general education for degrees and certificates, transfer to four-year colleges and universities, career technical education, and provide opportunities to engage in co-curricular campus activities. For more information, please visit

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