The West Hills Community College District has announced new leaders.
Stu Van Horn, who oversees West Hills College Coalinga, has been named chancellor for the public community college district, which has campuses in Lemoore and Coalinga. Brenda Thames, a vice president at Modesto Junior College, will serve as president of West Hills College Coalinga, where Van Horn has been serving as interim president.
Van Horn was selected by the district’s board of trustees earlier this week out of four final candidates, following a nationwide search. He will officially replace current chancellor Frank Gornick in July. Gornick is retiring after working for the district for 23 years.
Van Horn has more than 30 years of experience in community college administration and has worked as dean of instruction at Folsom Lake College and as an associate commissioner of the Community College League of California’s Commission on Athletics.
“West Hills is a remarkable place and I am truly honored to be selected as district chancellor,” Van Horn said in a statement. “This is a district of doers and high achievers who are collectively dedicated to student success. I look forward to continuing our relentless pursuit of student success and am grateful to our elected board and our college community for their support and confidence in me.”
Thames will take over the Coalinga campus in February, and has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, including stints at American River College and Los Rios Community College.
“WHCC has a long history of providing access, educational opportunity and academic excellence to the communities on the West Side of the Valley. Students are the central focus of the college and this core value is the very heart of our work,” Thames said in a statement. “I look forward to becoming part of the community and joining with the exceptional faculty and staff of WHCC in the relentless pursuit of student success.”