Messina makes her case to be next president of Diablo Valley College


Kimberlee Messina addresses faculty and staff on Nov. 14th in the Diablo Room. Messina is one of four candidates for the open DVC president position.

Shannon Richey, Staff member

School has always been a sanctuary for Kimberlee Messina, which is why she has dedicated the last 26 years of her life to working for community colleges in California.

Messina, one of four candidates applying to be Diablo Valley College’s next president, presented herself to faculty and staff on Nov. 14 during a public forum in the Diablo room.

She started out as a Spanish instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College, simultaneously earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership from UC Davis. Currently, she is interim vice chancellor of educational services and planning for the San Mateo Community College District.

She is up against three other experienced candidates, but feels her student-first ethos and expertise in implementing guided pathways, a new model of education DVC will be transitioning to over the next five years, makes her the best fit for the job.

Messina recognizes DVC as one of the best community colleges in the nation for both instruction and transfer rates. However she explained that with her prowess for analyzing data to create effective programming, she can find and implement the most effective solutions for DVC’s challenges.

One of the challenges she would like to tackle at DVC is streamlining the organization of degrees and certificates to make it easier for students to register, map their schedules and matriculate in a timely fashion. Part of this will be ensuring there are enough full-time faculty to teach subjects in high demand.

Messina also sees an opportunity in addressing the achievement gap saying, “there are a lot of students who cannot attend college during our regular hours, whether it’s because of children, family responsibility or work.”

According to Messina, many of these students will resort to taking online classes and historically, the success rate for students who take classes online tends to be much lower than those who take classes in-person. But, by encouraging instructors in the San Mateo Community College District to practice teaching online, they essentially eliminated the achievement gap between online and in-person education.

When asked what she will do to foster diversity and inclusion at DVC she said, “We do it by example, we do it through our hiring. We need to take the time to hire in a mindful way and reach out to the most diverse pool possible.”

Funding was another focal point of the meeting.

In order to continue to thrive, in good financial times and bad, faculty made it clear that DVC needs a leader adept at fundraising.

Messina noted that, “we often think about fundraising as hanging out with donors and having them give us checks, which is nice, but it doesn’t work like that all the time.”

She is more focused on growing and diversifying fundraising efforts by forging partnerships with community organizations and businesses.

She pointed out that as interim president at Foothill College, she and the local rotary club were able to raise $250,000 for a new veteran’s center on campus.

Faculty who were asked, declined to comment on Messina or any of the other candidates.

For more coverage of the other three candidates click the links below.