“Dr. Beatriz Espinoza aligned with the responsibilities and expectations we were looking for in our new president,” said Paul Jaure, Coastal Bend College Board of Trustees Chair. The board made the decision to select Espinoza in closed session during a March 22 board meeting. The finalist was announced less than 30 minutes later. “We look forward to her leadership.”
Espinoza comes to CBC from Yuba Community College District in Marysville, Calif. where she served as Vice Chancellor for Educational Planning and Services. She is an experienced educator and college administrator with 25 years in higher education. She holds a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Psychology and Educational Psychology and a Masters in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison; and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.
“I think the board made an outstanding choice,” said CBC Interim President Dr. Jimmy Goodson. “Dr. Espinoza’s visit to the college was very important in the selection process.”
Goodson said “she related very well to the Coastal Bend College community.” He found that she was well-prepared intellectually and experientially for the interview. “She completely understands the mission and role of a community college.”
She was selected from five finalists. Daylong visits by each candidate for the position included public forums, receptions and interviews with various college populations.
“On behalf of the faculty of Coastal Bend College, I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for providing an opportunity for active faculty participation in the selection process for the next college president,” Donna Atkins, CBC Faculty Senate President, told the board. Representatives from the faculty senate, staff association, student body and administrative leadership interviewed each candidate during the selection process.
The candidates remained in Beeville, but spoke with representatives from Alice, Kingsville and Pleasanton through live video feed. Each participant, whether he or she attended the forums, interviewed the candidates, or watched the online coverage, was given the opportunity to comment on each visitor. These comments were reviewed by the board.
“Every evaluation was looked at,” Jaure said. “We valued the comments and every one of them was considered in determining the best candidate for the job.”
Some comments remarked on Espinoza’s “passion for higher education,” “demonstrated knowledge of our college,” and “experience with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).” She was referred to as “energetic” and “experienced.”
Someone noted that he or she was impressed with Dr. Espinoza because “this is the first time she went out for a job as president and she was selected as a finalist for both El Paso Community College and Coastal Bend College.”
Someone wrote that “she is an excellent fit for a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).” Dr. Espinoza has a background with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and is experienced in working with minority student populations in diverse communities. CBC is a designated HSI with a Hispanic population of approximately 70 percent.
Dr. Espinoza started her college path with the assistance of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) scholarship after 18 years as an agricultural farm-worker. She attributes her college success largely to the support of her family and other people who “cared enough to remove barriers, build bridges and track new paths for a first generation college student.”
Her transition into community college administration culminated 13 years ago as she completed a post-doctorate in the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Since then, she has served in various administrative roles, including Vice President for Workforce Learning Services at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz. She also worked in Dallas, Galveston, Tempe and Chicago as part of her 25 years in higher education.
The late Dr. Grady C. Hogue was president of Coastal Bend College from its inception in 1965 to 1984. He was followed by Dr. Norman E. Wallace from 1984 to 1999 and Dr. John M. Brockman from 1999 to 2007. Dr. Thomas B. Baynum headed the college from 2007 to 2011, followed by Interim President Dr. Jimmy Goodson, who will step down in June.
Espinoza is slated to start work the first week of June. She will be accompanied to Beeville by her husband and six-year-old daughter.