Jill Stearns, Modesto Junior College president since 2012, has been named Cuesta College's new president, the school announced Friday after a months-long search that recently came down to five finalists
The Cuesta College Board of Trustees will formally approve Stearns at its April 11 meeting; Stearns is expected to start July 1 and takes over for outgoing President Gil Stork , retiring after more than five decades in education.
"I was just absolutely elated," Stearns said of her reaction to learning the news March 2.
Stearns said her new job is a homecoming for her; both she and her husband, as well as their two sons, are Cal Poly alumni and they've lived in four different cities in the county.
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"Our forever home is in San Luis Obispo," she said.
Stearns takes over at a challenging time for the college. Cuesta faces a $551,000 budget deficit and is locked in a pay dispute with the faculty union.
Attempts Friday to reach the Yosemite Community College District, which oversees the Modesto school and Columbia College, were unsuccessful.