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Former Fresnan Leads State's Community Colleges

Associated Press

(Sept. 27, 2012) — A former Fresno City College president has been appointed as the new leader of the nation's largest public college system.

The governing board of California Community Colleges on Thursday named Brice Harris as the next chancellor of the 112-campus system, which serves 2.4 million students annually. He starts the job Nov. 6.

Harris will replace Jack Scott, who retired this month after more than three and a half years in the position.

Harris, 63, previously spent nearly 16 years as chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District, which includes the American River, Cosumnes River, Folsom Lake and Sacramento City colleges.

Before that, he was president of Fresno City College from 1991 to 1996 after working as a faculty member and vice chancellor in the Kansas City, Missouri community college system.

Harris will be inheriting control of a higher education behemoth buffeted by budget cuts and debates about its mission and success rate.

As chancellor, Harris will receive an annual salary of $198,500 plus benefits.

"Brice Harris is the right person at the right time to lead the California Community Colleges," said California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Scott Himelstein in a statement.

He added that Harris "has the vision and leadership skills needed to navigate these tough fiscal times and keep us focused on improving student success."

At Los Rios, Harris led two local bond measures that funded facilities improvements and allowed the district to serve additional students, according to a release from California Community Colleges.

"It is humbling to be asked to lead such a tremendous system of colleges serving the educational needs of California," said Harris, who received his doctorate in education at Nova Southeastern University, in a statement.

"The efforts that retiring Chancellor Jack Scott and the board of governors have begun related to improving student success provide us all a clear road-map to a better future for our colleges and for California," he said.