Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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Finalists for CoA President unveiled

Community questions accepted until midnight tonight
The+search+for+a+permanent+president+of+the+College+of+Alameda+is+down+to+three+candidates.+William+%E2%80%9CTerry%E2%80%9D+Brown+%28left%29%2C+Melanie+Dixon+%28middle%29%2C+and+Rebecca+%E2%80%9CBecky%E2%80%9D+Opsata+will+respond+to+community+questions+at+public+forums+on+Thursday.+%28Photo+courtesy%3A+PCCD%29
The search for a permanent president of the College of Alameda is down to three candidates. William “Terry” Brown (left), Melanie Dixon (middle), and Rebecca “Becky” Opsata will respond to community questions at public forums on Thursday. (Photo courtesy: PCCD)

The Peralta Community College District (PCCD) has named three finalists in the search for a permanent College of Alameda (CoA) President. Public forums for the candidates are set for Thursday; the deadline to submit questions for the forum is midnight tonight. 

The three finalists are William “Terry” Brown, the current Associate Vice President for Strategic Operations and Partnership Development at Connecticut State Community College; Melanie Dixon, executive director of Project Attain and former president of American River College; and Rebecca “Becky” Opsata, the current Vice President of Instruction at Laney College.

William Brown’s educational background is in Psychology. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Delaware and has held fellowships at the Yale School of Medicine. Brown began his career in higher education in 2004 at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut, and since then has held an array of teaching and administrative positions.

Melanie Dixon is the executive director at Project Attain, a nonprofit aimed at helping working adult students succeed in education. She began her career in education teaching women’s studies and college readiness. Dixon has worked in a number community college districts across the Sacramento area, with experience in student services and instruction.

Before coming to Laney College, Rebecca Opsata worked at Diablo Valley College for 15 years, serving as the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation before her departure. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.

PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson announced the finalists via email on May 10. The announcement, addressed to “COA and Peralta Colleagues,” appears to have not been sent to CoA students. Four students enrolled at CoA confirmed with The Citizen that they did not receive the May 10 announcement. 

Three of those students received an email at 2:02 p.m. today with a copy of the announcement. One CoA student received neither email at time of writing. 

The role is currently filled by Pamela Luster, the Acting College President for CoA. She began her term on March 18, after former Acting President Diana Bajrami stepped down from the role.

Public forums will be held on Thursday, May 16, in which each finalist will have an equal portion of time to respond to questions posed by a moderator. 

Questions for the forum will be sourced from the community. CoA is accepting submissions for potential forum questions until midnight tonight. 

The forums will be held from 12:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the College of Alameda in Room H153/154, with an option to attend virtually on Zoom. 

After the forum concludes, the district will seek out feedback from community members regarding each candidate using an online form, which will be made available between May 16 through May 21. Gilkerson will then review “internal and external community feedback” and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who will vote on the appointment. 

More information about the search and the finalists is available online.


Ian Waters contributed reporting.

About the Contributor
Desmond Meagley
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer
Desmond Meagley (any/all) got hir start in journalism at the YR Media newsroom (formerly known as Youth Radio) in 2015, writing about public health, education, and gender until hir departure in 2019. Hir work has appeared in The SF Chronicle, The Daily Cal, Teen Vogue, KQED, KCBS and more. Xe has also been honored with awards from The Society of Professional Journalists NorCal, Public Radio News Directors Inc., and The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (of which Desmond is a proud member.) Through hir work at The Citizen Desmond hopes to tell compelling stories about students, as well as to increase transparency and student participation throughout the Peralta Community College District. When outside of class, xe is usually drawing, cooking, or herding their numerous household pets.
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