The Renegade Rip

Teacher breaks news of chancellor’s move

Jarrod M. Graham

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A Bakersfield College English instructor’s Internet search discovered that the chancellor of the Kern Community College District has taken a job elsewhere.

Professor Kate Pluta came across a news release announcing the appointment of Chancellor Dr. Walter Packard as president of McHenry County College in Illinois during an Internet search after hearing rumors that he would be leaving.

The news produced a range of reaction among employees on campus, including shock that the chancellor is leaving during the budget crisis. Packard said these things happen “on their own time,” and that his family, who live in the Chicago area, was a factor in his decision.

“People can assume what they like, but the job was available,” he said. “They came to me and recruited me. I had a choice to make — either say yes to something that will get me back to my family, or reject it. And that part was an easy choice.”

Packard will step down as chancellor of the district in mid-May to accept the job at McHenry County College.

Pluta said that the chancellor’s departure leaves an open door to reorganize how the district operates, which was a sentiment that other faculty members shared.

“My immediate reaction was that we have a different kind of opportunity to reform the district,” she said.

In the weeks ahead, Packard said, several ideas for reorganization will surface, but he declined to offer his views on what should be done.

“We’re going to have to — as carefully as we can in the short time that we’ve got — evaluate them, but it would be inappropriate for me to say now, ‘Oh, that one’s good,’ or ‘That one’s no good,’ because we’re in the data-gathering stage and people are going to make the case for each of these things, and I’m hoping that we’ll have good data and analysis available to us that will help us make the decision as wisely as possible,” he said.

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The news site of Bakersfield College
Teacher breaks news of chancellor’s move