Finalists named for Mesa president


SDCCD Office of Communications

“I am humbled to be selected for the presidency of the very college I have called home for more than 14 years,” Dr. Ashanti Hands said.

Mesa Press Staff, Staff Writer

*Editor’s Note: A quote from Dr. Whalen was added to the story on May 6. The story was also updated on May 9 to indicate Kim’s withdrawal from consideration.

In a district-wide email on May 5, the SDCCD announced that three finalists have been named to fill the position of president of San Diego Mesa College.

The three finalists are:

  • Dr. Kristina Whalen, Vice President of Academic Services, Las Positas College
  • Dr. Jeannie Kim, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Strategic Planning, Riverside Community College District
  • Dr. Ashanti Hands, Vice President of Student Services, San Diego Mesa College

Hands previously served as the Dean of Student Affairs at Mesa before assuming her current position at the college in 2016. She has both a doctorate and master’s degree from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego.

Whalen was the Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Instructional Support Services at City College of San Francisco before starting her current job at Las Positas College in 2019. She earned her doctorate and master’s degrees from Florida State University and a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University.

“I am energized by the opportunity to serve students at San Diego Mesa College. The leadership team in the district sets the bar for student-focused best practices, especially around equity-advancing work. I feel honored that two levels of review concluded my demonstrated leadership aligns with those traditions,” Whalen said. 

Kim, the current Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Strategic Planning at Riverside Community College District, had to withdraw her name from consideration on May 9 for undisclosed reasons.

Public forums for each candidate will take place on May 9 from 1-5 p.m. in Room MC-211 and will also be streamed on Zoom. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The person selected to replace Mesa’s current president, Dr. Pamela Luster, is expected to begin in July.