Norco College decides on its new president

Starting in July, Dale Paul Parnell Jr. will be replacing Debbie DiThomas, who is the current interim president of Norco College.

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By Sean Maulding / Staff Writer

By Sean Maulding / Staff Writer

Starting in July, Dale Paul Parnell Jr. will be replacing Debbie DiThomas, who is the current interim president of Norco College.

This decision came after a four month candidate search conducted by an 11 member committee of student, faculty, and community representatives.

After the search committee narrowed down the candidates, the Board of Trustees gave their opinions.

“Parnell has lots of experience with diverse college students, and that’s most important,” said Janet Green, president of the Board of Trustees. “He has experience working with faculty.”

These qualifications correspond with the criterion set forth by the Norco College Presidential Search Prospectus.

In this prospectus, it is listed that the president shall work “to provide leadership and effectively work within a shared governance environment,” and “to recruit and retain a qualified, diverse full-time and part-time faculty and staff.”

Before Norco College, Parnell was the vice president of Academic Affairs at Rio Hondo College in Whittier.

As the vice president, he supervised several hundred full time faculty, administrators, and staff.

Besides supervising staff, the duties of Parnell will include identifying and managing sources of private and public funding to serve the organization.

Green noted Parnell’s experience in bond campaigning.

A bond is a financial asset issued by governments to institutions, including schools, to assist with funding.

She was also impressed with his ability to negotiate for the use of these funds.

“Another thing he is good in is negotiations,” Green said. “With no money coming to the colleges; it’s going to be really super important to have somebody who has experiences in negotiating with our faculty.”

Recently, Norco College was awarded a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for use in establishing training in warehouse and distribution-center supply chains.

This will not be Parnell’s first experience with bonds.

At Rio Hondo College, Parnell monitored $245 million in bond construction projects.

He also cochaired a successful $219 million bond campaign as the dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga.

One more important duty of the Norco College president is to communicate and work with other colleges in the Riverside Community College District.

Parnell already has plans to establish this connection.

Parnell plans for the three college presidents to “get together this spring to talk about each college and the issues, the district and how (they) can work together.”

From his start as a director for academic programs for the Community College of the Air Force in the 1980s, to the present day, Parnell has been working in the community college system for many years.

Now he is bringing all of that experience to Norco College.

“I’ve been working (in community colleges) for dozens of years now, and I’m totally infatuated with the good that is coming from them and how much fun it is to watch students succeed,” Parnell said. “They’re a great opportunity.”

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