AACC Trustees Name Finalists in Presidential Search

The chairwoman of the college's Board of Trustees said a final decision on the new president will come soon.

The three finalists in (AACC)’s presidential search were announced Wednesday.

The Board of Trustees has entered the final phase of to replace Martha Smith, who is set to retire in August. Smith has been the president for 18 years, the longest tenure of the five presidents since the college's founding in 1961.

The finalists are:

  • Andreea Serban, interim vice chancellor of educational services at Coast Community College District in Costa Mesa, CA
  • Dawn Lindsay, president of Glendale Community College in Glendale, CA
  • Peter Katopes, vice president for academic affairs at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, NY

The three candidates were narrowed down from a national search that included 120 applicants. 

Throughout this week, the candidates will tour the Arnold campus and be interviewed again before the board makes its final determination, said AACC Board of Trustees Chairwoman Victoria Fretwell.

“These meetings will be an extension of what has been a very rigorous search process,” Fretwell said in an email. “The board will make its decision very soon after these meetings based on who they believe will bring the best experience and leadership to AACC.”

The following information on the candidates comes from a press release issued Wednesday by AACC officials:

Dr. Andreea Serban 
Dr. Serban currently serves as Interim Vice Chancellor of Educational Services for Coast Community College District in Costa Mesa, California. She has more than two decades of experience in the leadership of colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. The Pacific Coast Business Times, a California business publication, recently named Dr. Serban as one of the top 50 businesswomen in the Santa Barbara area for the third consecutive year, and the National Association of Professional Women named Dr. Serban a Professional Business Woman of the Year. Dr. Serban received a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from University at Albany, State University of New York and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from University of Bucharest.

Dr. Dawn Lindsay 
Dr. Lindsay currently serves as President of Glendale Community College in Glendale, California. She has dedicated more than 25 years to the community college system. Dr. Lindsay was awarded Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s “Woman of the Year” and named “One of the Top 20 Female Leaders of Los Angeles” by Business Life Magazine. She also serves as a Commissioner for the American Association of Community Colleges. Dr. Lindsay holds a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, a Master’s in Educational Counseling, a BA in Psychology, and a BSW in Social Work from McDaniel College.

Dr. Peter Katopes 
Dr. Katopes currently serves as LaGuardia Community College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs.  He has more than 30 years higher education faculty and administration experience. Dr. Katopes’ varied publications include fiction, poetry, and scholarly writing about adult education, the Vietnam War and the Harlem Renaissance, as well as essays on issues in higher education. Born and raised in Astoria, New York, Dr. Katopes is a decorated combat veteran whose military service included one year in Vietnam. He holds a B.A. from St. John’s University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from SUNY Stony Brook.


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