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College Of The Desert announces forums featuring superintendent candidates

From Left to Right: Dr. Martha Garcia, Dr. Monica Flores Pactol, and Dr. Annebelle Nery
From Left to Right: Dr. Martha Garcia, Dr. Monica Flores Pactol, and Dr. Annebelle Nery

A trio of women vying for the open superintendent/president job at College of the Desert will be featured during a series of live forums next month as part of the interview process, it was announced today.

"Our new president will need to be a dynamic leader who understands our college and our diverse community,'' said Mark Zacovic, the college's interim vice president of human resources. "The forums will provide an important opportunity for members of our community, including our students, faculty and staff, to meet and hear from the final candidates before the final selection."

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Each candidate will be featured between 9 a.m. and noon on July 6 at the Pollock Theatre on the college's Palm Desert Campus. Each candidate will be featured for 45 minutes, where brief introductions will be given, followed by question-and-answer sessions.    

Dr. Martha Garcia will appear first, followed by Dr. Annebelle Nery and Dr. Monica Flores Pactol.

Garcia is currently the superintendent and president for Imperial Valley College in Imperial County.

Dr. Martha Garcia

Nery currently works at College of the Desert, where she is the vice president of instruction and acting vice president of student services.    

Dr. Annebelle Nery

Pactol grew up in Palm Desert. She is now the vice president of instruction at Folsom Lake College in Northern California.    

Dr. Monica Flores Pactol

Anyone who desires to submit questions for the forum must email them to by June 30.

All in-person attendees must wear face masks and submit to a COVID-19 medical questionnaire. The event also will be livestreamed on the college's YouTube page.

Former Superintendent and President Joel Kinnamon retired March 31. He cited his desire to focus on family concerns related to his parents.    

Jeff Baker, vice president of student services, took up the position of interim superintendent and president until a permanent replacement is found. By taking the interim position, Baker will not be eligible for the permanent post, according to college officials.    

Officials said they plan to announce a permanent replacement by July 15.    

Kinnamon joined the college in 2012 and has worked within multiple community college systems for more than 30 years. During Kinnamon's tenure, full-time student enrollment shot up by 50%, according to the college. COD has additionally celebrated its largest graduating class in history in each of the last six years, the college said.

COD has expanded its Coachella Valley footprint since Kinnamon's tenure began more eight years ago with the opening and expansion of satellite campuses in Indio, Mecca and Desert Hot Springs.

A new campus is set to open in Palm Springs in the future, and the Indio campus is set to be expanded, officials said.

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