Flight risk or fearless leader?

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By Desiree Perez

By Desiree Perez

Betrayed. That’s how I felt when I first found out that Daniel Castro, president here at Riverside City College, had applied for the presidency at Long Beach City College.

Later, when the news came that Castro did not get the job at LBCC, it seemed as though RCC was his fall back. It gave the impression that RCC was only “good enough.”

From the bits and pieces of information I had collected before I started my article, this negative impression of Castro seemed to fit. No doubt, many other students shared those feelings.

Fortunately, I had an opportunity to speak to Castro face to face. From that interview, I was able to clear up my misconceptions of the situation.

Yes, Castro applied for a job at LBCC. What I didn’t know was that he was recruited, which is a common practice. He was approached by a headhunter who recommended the position based on qualifications he possessed. Basically, they were looking for a president with a strong background and a vision for the future. Castro fit the profile.

As soon as I heard that, I knew that the article I had planned to write, criticizing Castro for LBCC, had to be scrapped. You can’t blame him for being well qualified.

Castro didn’t apply for the position because he was looking to escape or abandon RCC. The man was just trying to fulfill his own potential. Honestly, he’s had a few obstacles reaching his goals at this school.

As part of his ambitions for RCC, Castro has implemented programs such as eight week courses available in fall and spring, and early morning and weekend classes for working students. These new options cater to the busy lives of students, while making it easier for them to transfer sooner.

Still, while trying to move this school into the future, Castro is experiencing some resistance. He expressed frustration in dealing with all the hindrances. “We’re not growing right now; we’re in a rut,” Castro said.

Part of the appeal of the presidency at LBCC is the fact that the president of the campus is in charge. There would be less resistance to the changes that are so vital in preparing for the future.

Here at RCC, since we are in the process of having our three campuses accredited, the authority is given to the chancellor. Castro likened the situation to living at home versus living alone; a scenario most college students are familiar with.

Living alone, a college student would have the freedom they do not have while living with their parents. Similarly, at LBCC, Castro would have the freedom that he does not have here at RCC.

Yet Castro continues to speak optimistically about RCC’s potential. “There are going to be a lot of changes,” Castro said.

When asked why change was so vital, Castro replied “We are trying to meet the needs of students.” He continued, “We’re in a different day. What used to work for us isn’t working anymore.”

Even though things may be difficult right now, Castro believes that RCC’s future is bright. “We’ve had a glorious past, and I want to continue that,” Castro said. Given his ability to see the big picture and to plan for the future, we are lucky to have him.

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