The trustees of Southwestern College named a new superintendent on October 12. The selection of Melinda Nish came as a surprise to some who felt that interim superintendent Denise Whittaker was a shoo-in for the position
In her brief stint at the college, Whittaker was instrumental in rectifying a number of problems, including assisting in getting the college removed from probationary accreditation status. Board president Tim Nader said Whittaker had done much to “heal” the campus.
However, others at Southwestern had expressed concern that Whittaker would be another short-timer, as she indicated during candidate forums that she would only be available for two years.
Nish comes from Orange Coast College, where she has served as vice president of instruction since 2005. One criticism of former Southwestern superintendent Raj Chopra, whose contract was bought out last November, was that he had no experience at the college level.
Patricia Flores-Charter, a Southwestern learning disability specialist, said she is enthusiastic about the appointment of Nish. Flores-Charter said she attended all of the candidate forums and was impressed with Nish’s “interest in working at a place which values the students as well as all the employees.”
Flores-Charter also remarked on the efficiency and collegial interaction of the board since the election of two new members. “The campus atmosphere is like night and day since this time last year.”
Photo of Melinda Nish from orangecoastcollege.edu