February 23, 2015

Contact: Paul Feist
Office: 916.327.5353
Cell: 209.670.6240
Office E-mail:

Newly Appointed City College of San Francisco Special Trustee to Guide Return of

Control to Locally Elected Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees could assume full duties in July 2015

San Francisco – California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris today appointed Dr. Guy Lease to serve as the new special trustee who will guide the transition of governance back to the locally elected board of trustees, a transfer of authority scheduled to be completed in the next several months.

“Based on the progress that the college has made in the past two years and the commitment of the board of trustees to sustain that improvement, we envision that the local board will assume full responsibility in July 2015. The college is now in compliance with 90 percent of the accreditation standards and local board involvement in completing the recovery is in everyone’s best interest.”
Joining Harris and Lease, a former longtime Superintendent/President of Lake Tahoe Community College District, were City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman, City College of San Francisco Chancellor Arthur Tyler, and other college leaders.

“Today is an exciting day as it marks acceleration in the College’s progress back to local control,” said Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman. “There remain many challenges ahead, but I believe our board is up to the task. We look forward to working with Dr. Lease and the Chancellor Harris to shore up and strengthen this great institution.”

In July 2013, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors took the rare step of appointing a special trustee to assume the duties of the elected board as the college faced financial insolvency and the threat of closure by accreditors. In January, special trustee Robert Agrella announced his plans to retire after successfully guiding the college to stability and a two-year extension for coming into compliance with accreditation standards.
Harris said Lease long and distinguished leadership in California community colleges makes him well suited to ensure a successful transition.

“Dr. Lease has served as the chief executive of several colleges and college districts for more than 20 years, and over his career he has demonstrated success in issues relating to fiscal management, collective bargaining and accreditation,” Harris said. “He is well qualified to support the board of trustees as they assume governance responsibilities.”

The board of trustees is already participating in meetings, receiving training and briefings about the college’s finances, academics and operations. Under an updated transition plan, it will assume authority for student services and academic programs in March and by July will have responsibility for all functions, including finance.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit