Greenfield Community College to interview 4 finalists for president

Four finalists for the position of president at Greenfield Community College have been announced by the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee. That announcement was made by the school Thursday.

The four candidates selected from a field of 11 original applicants will visit the campus beginning Monday.

The finalists are vying to replace 18-year President Robert Pura, who announced he will retire at the end of this academic year.

Chris Gilmer is currently the Executive Director of the Vicksburg campus of Alcorn State University in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Alcorn State Univerity is the oldest public land-grant Historically Black University in the country.

Gilmer said he is the child of sharecroppers and the first of his family to attend college. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi.

In addition to his academic career, Gilmer also serves as the volunteer Vice President for Academic and Sponsored Programs at Innovative Behavioral Services, Inc., A Mississippi based non-profit consulting agency.

Gilmer will visit the Greenfield Campus Monday, April 23.

Carla Oleska currently serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement for Elms College in Chicopee. Prior to that position, she served as the Chief Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts for eight years, and before that was an administrator and teacher at the Elms College for 22 years.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island at Kingston.

Oleska serves on a number of boards and committees addressing the needs of underserved populations, including the Board of Directors of Girls Scouts, Community Action for Franklin and Hampshire Counties, the Hampden County Literacy Cabinet, Girls, Inc. Holyoke and the Treehouse Foundation.

She was one of 100 women chosen as a charter delegate for the Vision 2020, a national initiative to create leadership parity.

She will visit the Greenfield campus May 2.

Arlene Rodriguez serves as the Senior Academic Affairs Advisor to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, where she works on initiatives to boost college completion rates and close achievement gaps for underserved populations. She is a co-leader of 100 Males to College to create a college-bound culture among low-income males and young men of color.

Rodriguez started her academic career as an English professor at Springfield Technical Community College. She later served as academic dean, then Vice President of Academic Affairs at the school.

A member of the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Rodriguez also sits on the Board of Directors for the Springfield YWCA, WGBY’s Board of Tribunes, and the Latino Scholarship Fund of Western Massachusetts.
She received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She will visit the Greenfield campus April 25.

Yves Salomon-Fernandez is the President of Cumberland County College in Vineland, New Jersey. Prior to that, she served as the interim President of Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley Hills.
Salomon-Fernandez began her academic career as an adjunct professor and worked in various roles in two and four-year, public and private colleges. Salomon-Fernandez said she is passionate about the potential impact community colleges can have on individuals, families and full communities. She worked with faculty, staff and the external community on initiatives to address food and housing insecurity, provide child care and address transportation barriers to higher education.
She has worked to broaden access to STEM education opportunities and in Massachusetts served as co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Council’s College & Career Readiness Committee.
Salomon-Fernandez received her PH.D. from Boston College. She will make her campus visit on April 27.