Six finalists for Olympic College president announced

Six out of 100 candidates are finalists to replace Dr. David Mitchell, who retires Dec. 31.

BREMERTON — With only about two months before Olympic College President David Mitchell retires, the OC Board of Trustees has named six finalists for the position.

The six were selected from a pool of about 100 candidates, OC communications director Shawn Devine said. The names were announced Oct. 27.

“The consulting firm we’re working with told us that this is nearly double what they’ve seen in other, similar searches,” Devine said. “That’s exciting for us. We feel like it’s a unique opportunity, and there’s a lot of interest in it, if the amount of applications is any indication.”

The six finalists are, in alphabetical order by last name:

— Dr. Martin (Marty) Cavalluzzi, president, Pierce College, Puyallup.

— Dr. Deborah Casey-Powell, vice president of student services, Green River College, Auburn.

— Dr. Barbara Marie Hanson, former chancellor, Louisiana Delta Community College, Monroe, Louisiana.

— Dr. Kenneth Lawson, vice president of instruction, Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon.

— Dr. Christopher Reber, president, Community College of Beaver County, Monaca, Pennsylvania.

— Dr. Carli Schiffner, vice president of instruction, Wenatchee Valley College.

OC Board of Trustees chairwoman Harriette Bryant described these candidates as having “exceptional experience, track records and reputations.”

In the narrowing process, the board was tasked with considering key characteristics, partially identified by community members from public meetings that took place earlier in the year. Those characteristics included being student-centered; ethical; an authentic, visible leader; inspiring; and dedicated to valuing and advocating for increased student and employee diversity.

Each of the six finalists will participate in a two-day interview process beginning in early November, including visits to the Bremerton, Poulsbo and Shelton campuses of OC; as well as public forums, interviews and meetings with the Board of Trustees. The selected candidate should be announced in early December.

“The Board of Trustees was pleased with the candidate pool,” Devine said, “and I think we’re in a good position to identify a person to carry on the good work that was once done by Dr. Mitchell, while implementing their own vision for Olympic College and its future.”

Mitchell’s final day as president of OC is Dec. 31. Devine said “there will be some form of transition and a transition plan” for the new president, “but whether or not that involves working with Dr. Mitchell” is unclear.

“I think it’s safe to say that after 15 years at the college, I know that he will be [involved],” Devine said. “He’s very interested in the hiring process, though he’s not directly participating. He will be a great ally and more than willing to share any information, knowledge and experience that will help the next president.”


Michelle Beahm is the online editor for the Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at