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.
"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.