SONORA — Columbia College President Dennis Gervin was abruptly fired Thursday, and Leslie Buckalew, the college's vice president of student learning, is filling his seat until a permanent replacement is found.
The Yosemite Community College District board announced the actions after a special closed-door session Thursday afternoon, citing performance issues as the reason for removing Gervin mid-contract.
Board President Abe Rojas read a statement as the only comment by trustees on the matter, saying Gervin's contract was terminated, effective April 30.
"The board's decision was the culmination of an extended process of performance evaluation. Reluctantly, the board concluded this decision had to be made for the good of the college," Rojas said.
He said Gervin would have an opportunity to address the board at a future meeting.
Gervin did not immediately return calls for comment, but told The Union Democrat in Sonora earlier this week that he was called to the main district office Friday. There he was told his contract would not be renewed in July 2015, he said. The contract has a base salary of about $190,000.
"They told me I was on paid administrative leave and not to go on campus," Gervin told the newspaper, adding that he was "stunned."
Gervin, 52, took the presidency July 1, 2011, moving up from being Columbia's vice president of student learning. He spent 10 years at Modesto Junior College before switching to the district's foothill campus.
Buckalew, the acting president, moves up from the post of vice president of student learning. She came to Columbia College in February 2012 and holds a doctorate in higher education leadership and a master's degree in public health.
Over the past 12 years, she worked for Siemens, AT&T, Cisco, Adobe and a high-tech start-up. Her expertise includes sales and marketing for vertical industries such as finance, education, health care, government and defense, according to a biographical sheet provided by the YCCD public affairs office.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339, on Twitter, @NanAustin, www.modbee. com/education.