Presidential Search 2021

Presidential Search 2021

On behalf of the College of the Desert Board of Trustees we are pleased to announce the finalists for the position of Superintendent/President of College of the Desert! 

Thank You COD Search Committee

We first want to thank the members who served on the COD Superintendent/President Search Committee. The committee was composed of 16 representatives appointed by a cross-section of stakeholders throughout the entire college community. They worked diligently over the past five months to guide and support a comprehensive recruitment process, screen over 24 eligible applications, select and interview all first-round candidates and make their recommendation for finalists to be advanced for interviews with the Board of Trustees. 

COD Superintendent/President Finalists

The candidates highlighted here have been accepted by the Board of Trustees as finalists and will now advance to individual interviews with the full Board of Trustees. The finalist interviews are set for the afternoon of July 6, 2021, with the intent to appoint/announce the new Superintendent/President for College of the Desert at the Board's regularly scheduled summer meeting on Thursday, July 15, 2021. 

Use the links below to jump directly to the finalist's bio information.

OPEN FORUMS: Finalist Introductions to the College Community

As a professional courtesy to the College and district-wide community, each finalist will be further introduced to the public through participation in an Open Forum to be conducted the morning of July 6, 2021. The Open Forum times for each finalist are listed following their bio's below.  

The district plans to offer these forums live and in-person. The forums will also be livestreamed for online access as well. The forums are scheduled to be held in the Pollock Theatre on the campus of College of the Desert. All district COVID safety protocols will be followed including the following: 

  1. All attendees must complete a safety questionnaire as they enter campus.
    These will be provided by college staff as visitors come through the Fred Waring entrance. 

  2. Masks will be required to attend.

  3. Social distancing will be observed for seating.

  4. Overflow rooms will be available.

If you would like to submit questions to be considered for presentation to the finalists during the Open Forums please email your questions to CCSS Consultant Stan Carrizosa Sr. at stan.carrizosa@ccss.solutions no later than June 30, 2021.


Dr. Monica Flores Pactol

Dr. Monica Flores Pactol Headshot

Bio information (return to top)

Dr. Monica Flores Pactol is a native of the Coachella Valley. Growing up in Palm Desert she attended both Indio High School and College of the Desert (COD). She transferred to New Mexico State University to earn BA and MA degrees in Communication Studies with a focus on intercultural and organizational communication.  Years later she completed a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from Colorado State University.

Dr. Flores Pactol has 29 +years of experience in community colleges.  She was an adjunct faculty member in Speech Communication at COD and a full time tenured faculty member in Communication Studies at West Valley College (WVC).  At WVC and Folsom Lake College (FLC) she served in leadership roles including Directors of Cultural Diversity, the Bay Area Faculty Diversity Internship Project, Instructional Outreach, and as Dean of Instruction.  For the last 6+ years she has served as Vice President of Instruction at FLC.  

Dr. Flores Pactol’s commitment to community colleges stems from her early life experiences at COD as several family members attended and worked at the college.  Her strengths include collaborative leadership, strategic vision, and a lifelong commitment to diversity.  She has both breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding of the culture, policies, and practices related to community colleges, including participatory governance, curriculum and instruction, student services, human resources, finance, construction, and contract negotiation/law. She works collaboratively with stakeholders to advocate for the needs of students at the local and state level. Her professional interests include organizational change/ development and multi-generational communication. 

Open Forum Presentation

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.


Dr. Martha Garcia

Dr. Martha Garcia Headshot

Bio information (return to top)

Dr. Martha Garcia has been serving as a community college Superintendent/President since 2018. She previously served as Vice President for Student Services and Acting Vice President for Academic Services.  Moreover, Dr. Garcia has developed a multitude of categorically funded programs that focused on serving underrepresented students. Through her successful grant writing competence, she has secured over 20 million dollars to support the creation of innovative programs and services.   She has been employed in a California community college since 1999 and has held several positions under Student Services and Academic Services.  

Dr. Garcia earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University, a Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling from National University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from San Diego State University and an Associate’s Degree in General Major from Imperial Valley College.

Dr. Garcia is committed to making a difference for students and the community she serves.  She was honored as one of the 56th California Assembly District’s “2018 Woman of the Year,” and received the Outstanding President/Chancellor Award from California Community College Council for Staff Development in March 2020. Dr. Garcia is commended for her commitment, tenacity, and leadership to improve her community through continuous leadership efforts.

Open Forum Presentation

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.


Dr. Annebelle Nery

Dr. Annebell Nery Headshot

Bio information (return to top)

Dr. Annebelle Nery is Vice-President of Instruction and Acting Vice-President of Student Services at College of the Desert; working successfully with colleagues to serve the Coachella Valley for over 14 years in multiple capacities in student services, instruction, and institutional effectiveness and planning. She has been an integral part of higher education for 23 years: California community colleges for 17, administration for 13, executive-level management for 8, and a faculty member for 10.

Supported by Dr. Nery, COD has received state and national recognition in recent years. Under her leadership, many innovative and effective programs were founded including the college’s highly acclaimed EDGE/plEDGE Program which is widely recognized as a best practice.

Accolades include two state student success awards, 2018 Bellwether Award, 2019 American Association of Community Colleges Awards of Excellence finalist for student success and advancing diversity, and 2019 Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation. She was named the 2019 California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Officer of the Year. Most recently, COD received an $18 million donation from the MacKenzie Scott Foundation recognizing the significant impact the EDGE/plEDGE program has had on equity.

She earned her Ph.D. in sociology with emphases in statistics and organization and race, class, and gender studies at the University of California, Riverside. A first generation college student with Spanish as her first language, Dr. Nery is an equity advocate with significant work in social justice. Her guiding principle is to ensure student success is at the center of all decision-making.

Open Forum Presentation

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.