New Valley community college chancellor has big plans

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new leader is heading up the State Center of Community Colleges District.

Leaders hope 2016 will be a big year for the district and the person there to help lead students and staff through it is new chancellor Paul Parnell.

"I'm happy to be here my wife and I are looking forward to getting to know the community," Parnell

The Oregon-native comes to the Central Valley from Southern California where he was the president of Norco College. Now, Parnell hopes to continue the district's efforts toward improving student success.

Part of that includes helping pass a $485 million bond measure on the ballot this June. The bond will help pay for new police and fire academy buildings, a new math and science building plus a west side campus for Fresno City College.

"I've already met our community members on the west side and it's going to be a great start for our community members out there," Parnell said.

Among the chancellor's top goals is improving the graduation rate and adding more classes to the Clovis campus.

"So, we're going to build a whole new wing that's going to be devoted to the career technical education of today not of yesterday," Parnell exclaimed.

Students at the Clovis campus say they're excited to hear about the future growth.

"I think it's a great idea," Clovis Community College student Michael Diaz said. "I think if it helps more kids graduate, it's all good."

As for improving on the graduation rate for community college students, he says more needs to be done to help prepare students for college.

"I've already met with some of our leaders in the K-12 partnership," Parnell said. "Probably the biggest word is that if we don't partner together, we're not going to be as successful."

Parnell signed a three year contract to serve the SCCCD. He hopes his experience will lead the district into a brighter future.
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