Portland Community College’s presidential search effort produced a group of four finalists.
The candidates under consideration are Adrien Bennings, Naydeen Gonzalez-De Jesus, Craig Herndon and Shouan Pan. They were selected from a group of eight semi-finalists selected from more than 40 applicants from across the country.
Confirmed in-person finalist visits are scheduled for Monday, March 21; Tuesday March 22; Wednesday, March 23; and Thursday, March 24. Each nominee will participate in two open forums as part of their visits, to allow the college community and general public who attended to meet the finalists and ask questions.
The forums will be in person and simultaneously livestreamed. On each of the days listed above, forums will be held from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at the Event Center, Building 9, Rock Creek Campus (17705 NW Springville Road) and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. auditorium, Terrell Hall at the Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.).
To attend virtually, visit the Presidential Search webpage or on the college’s YouTube channel.
The next president will be the CPC’s eighth since the college was founded in 1961. The announcement of the next CPC president is expected to take place in April. The new president will replace Mark Mitsui, who is retiring from the CCP at the end of this academic year, in June.
Here is general information about each of the finalists, in the order of their visits:
Monday, March 21: Naydeen Gonzalez-De Jesus
Gonzalez-De Jesus is executive vice president of student success at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in Wisconsin. During her tenure at MATC, she led the collaborative strategic implementation of initiatives to improve student support and the college’s commitment to the Guided Pathways framework, which brings together academics and student services.
Under his leadership, the college’s multi-year academic plan and strategic enrollment management plan were developed and adopted by the college’s board of directors. She sets the vision for programs and services to promote retention and completion with an equity lens, while engaging internal and external partners across four campuses and education centers, serving more than 30,000 students. In his previous role as head of public diplomacy for the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, Gonzalez-De Jesus expanded partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and Argentina, including setting up implementation of a memorandum of understanding on education between the two countries. This was accomplished at the G20 World Summit and created a more diverse cohort of participants in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program.
A member of the National Community College Hispanic Council, Gonzalez-De Jesus holds a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology from Northcentral University in Arizona, a master’s degree in student personnel services from Rowan University of New Jersey, and a a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Pennsylvania State University.
Tuesday, March 22: Craig Herndon
Herndon has over 20 years of professional experience in higher education, with roles in student support, academic affairs, and extensive community college leadership for workforce development, advocacy interests and administration. Since 2018, he has served as senior vice chancellor for administration, finance, and technology for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), which serves the education and workforce development needs of nearly 250,000 people in 23 community colleges on 40 campuses across the Commonwealth. Herndon is responsible for collaborative and strategic leadership for all operational aspects of the community college system, including finance, government relations, human resources, procurement, real estate, facilities management, capital projects and information technology. All efforts are directed toward generating and aligning resources to further the mission of Virginia Community Colleges.
Previously, Herndon served as the System’s Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development for eight years, where he led statewide policy and strategy to strengthen Virginia’s economic health through workforce training programs and services. This included implementing the nation’s first pay-for-performance funding system that creates and sustains a demand-driven supply of skilled workers who meet business needs. He also worked as a Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System and led transfer initiatives, K12 partnerships, and fostered economic development. Prior to joining the VCCS, he supported the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, where he served as policy advisor to the council and legislators on student learning assessment policy, college transfer policy, and university research policy.
He was selected as a Fellow of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education right after earning a doctorate in educational policy from Virginia Tech University. He also holds a master’s degree in curriculum and teaching and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Radford University in Virginia.
Wednesday, March 23: Adrien Bennings
Bennings is president of Kellogg Community College, one of Michigan’s 28 community colleges. In this capacity, she oversees a multi-campus institution in a three-county service area. She is also president of the Kellogg Community College Foundation and a voting member of the foundation board. In this role, she leads the foundation’s strategic planning and fundraising activities, advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion.
Bennings has taught courses in human resource development, academic development and retention, and small business development. She has held increasingly senior positions in higher education for over 15 years. Prior to joining KCC, Bennings was Vice President of Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Clovis Community College in New Mexico. Prior to that, she served as Regional Director of Small Business Development at Texas Tech University, where she advanced economic development initiatives spanning a 16-county region. She has extensive higher education experience in the areas of teaching, academic development and retention, strategic planning, personnel management, professional development, accounting and finance, mentoring, entrepreneurship, crisis preparedness and community relations. Additionally, she is a Certified Examiner for the Higher Learning Commission.
Bennings’ background includes a bachelor’s degree in agricultural development from Texas A&M University; a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources from Wayland Baptist University; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from Texas Tech University.
Thursday, March 24: Shouan Pan
Pan has served as Chancellor of Seattle Colleges since 2016 and has 30 years of experience promoting student, institutional and community success. Previous administrative roles include President of Mesa Community College; provost of Broward College-South Campus (Pembroke Pines, Fla.); executive dean of instruction and student services at Florida State College in Jacksonville; Dean of Student Life at Community College of Philadelphia; and Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology and Recruitment and Retention Administrator at Northern Arizona University.
He is actively engaged at the local, state and national levels, serving on the Board of Directors for the League of Innovation in the Community College, Higher Educational Research and Development Institute, National Asian Pacific Islander Council, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, King County Workforce Development Council, King County United Way, Washington Technology University, etc. Pan is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate Award, Benedictine Values Award, Paul Elsner International Excellence in Leadership Award, Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction from the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Veora E. Johnson Spirit of Unity MLK Award.
Born and raised in mainland China, Pan immigrated to the United States in 1985. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in higher education from Iowa State University; a master’s degree in student personnel education from Colorado State University; and a BA in English from Hefei Polytechnic University, China.
About Portland Community College
Portland Community College is Oregon’s largest post-secondary institution and offers education, diplomas and certificates, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full-time and part-time students. partial in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas and Columbia counties.
PCC has four full campuses, eight serviced teaching centers or areas, and approximately 200 community locations in the Portland metro area. The PCC District encompasses a 1,500 square mile area in northwestern Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, preschool courses, -academics and lifelong learning.