COD President Martha Garcia is one of five finalists for Mt. San Antonio College job

COD President Martha Garcia Finalist in Walnut

Martha Garcia

Less than two years after Martha Garcia was hired to lead College of the Desert, she is one of five finalists to become the next president of the state’s largest single campus community college district in Walnut, Mt. San Antonio.

According to a news release from the college, the candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Dr. Erika Endrijonas, Superintendent/President, Pasadena City College
  • Dr. Nicole Esposito, Chief Executive Officer, Manchester Community College, Manchester, Conn.
  • Dr. Martha Garcia, Superintendent/President, College of the Desert
  • Dr. Kimberlee Messina, President, Spokane Falls Community College, Washington
  • Dr. Katrina VanderWoude, Vice Chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District

The final five candidates were selected from a group of 12 semifinalists who were interviewed Feb. 23, Feb. 24 and Feb. 27. In total, Mt. SAC received 37 applications from throughout the country.  Twenty-nine candidates were forwarded to the screening committee.

The five finalists will have the opportunity to introduce themselves to the Mt. SAC community at a public forum on March 6, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Sophia B. Clarke Theater.

One month before Kinnamon, an outspoken critic of Garcia, was elected to the Board of Trustees, the Board of voted 3-2 to extend Garcia’s contract — and give her a hefty pay hike.

The increase boosted Garcia’s annual base salary to more than $397,000 per year, about a 12% increase to her current salary. Her term was extended one year through June 2025, and her severance pay will increase from 12 to 18 months of salary.

News of Garcia being a finalist for another job comes less a month after Area 4 Trustee Joel Kinnamon fired a series of shots across her bow, including not the least of which was lying about a Feasibility Study and Needs Assessment regarding the Palm Springs Campus.

Dr. Garcia, in mid-December of 2021, told the media that a feasibility study and needs assessment had not been performed by the previous administration as required by law, Kinnamon said at the time. Two days later, Dr. Garcia reversed her statement saying that she had discovered the feasibility study on the college’s website.  She further blasted staff in those comments for not providing the information to her after several requests.

If that had occurred as she stated, it would be right for her to condemn staff for their lack of action, Kinnamon said.

Uken Report has obtained emails that provide some proof of what Kinnamon said.

In July 2021, Dr. Martha Garcia was offered the position of Superintendent/President at College of the Desert following a national search and community listening sessions.

She replaced Kinnamon who announced his retirement in December 2020. She was one of three female finalists.


Image Sources

  • Mt. San Antonio College: Mt. San Antonio College