Peralta makes 'Wise' decision for interim Chancellor

By Reginald James Editor

Trustees at the Peralta Colleges voted Tuesday to appoint Dr. Wise Allen as interim Chancellor. Allen, currently Peralta’s Interim Vice Chancellor of Education Services will replace Chancellor Elihu Harris whose contract expires July 1.

"Vice Chancellor Allen brings the unique combination of being a respected academic and a veteran administrator who can shepherd the District through these difficult budget times," Board President Abel Guillen said. "He has integrity and is respected throughout the State.

Allen, who retired from the district in 2001, has the unique distinction of having been an administrator at each of the four Peralta Colleges.

In 2007, he was the Interim President at Berkeley City College after serving as the interim vice president of instruction that spring. In 2005-06, Allen filled in for Dr. Jeanette Jackson as Vice-President of Instruction during her deployment to Iraq.

The former Merritt College President even once served as both the college president and district vice chancellor simultaneously.

Dr. Wise Allen

Ph.D. Social and clinical psychology Wright Institute
M.S.W. Howard University
BA Psychology San Francisco State

Interim Chancellor
Effective July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, or until position filled
$240,000 annual salary

Previous Experience
Interim Vice-Chancellor of Education Services
Interim Berkeley City College (BCC) President
Interim COA Vice-President of Instruction
Merritt College President

Allen was appointed as district Vice Chancellor in the late ‘80s when Peralta was under state receivership. It is expected that he will use his relationships and credibility with members of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to prevent a state takeover of Peralta and maintain the colleges' accreditation.

"I am confident he will be able to lead us through our reaccredidation and make sure we continue to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for the thousands of students we serve," Guillen said.

Replacing outgoing Chancellor
The Board voted 6-1 during closed session to appoint Allen. Trustee Linda Handy (Area 3 – San Antonio) was the lone dissenting vote against the decision. Handy could not be reached for comment.

When Harris was appointed as the district’s permanent chancellor, Handy – who along with Trustee Bill Riley were the only trustees that are still on the board – initially did not plan to vote for Harris as Chancellor, according to the Oakland Tribune. Harris eventually got her vote.

In January, trustees opted not to renew Harris' contract as Chancellor.

Interim Chancellor's compensation
"Vice Chancellor Allen brings the unique combination of being a respected academic and a veteran administrator who can shepherd the District through these difficult budget times. He has integrity and is respected throughout the state."
Abel Guillen
Peralta Board President
Allen’s annual salary is $240,000, likely much higher than his starting salary as a sociology professor at COA nearly forty years ago. It is unclear how much compensation Allen still receives as a retiree. Until 2004, Peralta officials received lifetime health benefits upon retirement.

Allen’s contract ends June 30, 2011, or until the position is filled. Trustees received presentations from three Executive Search firms April 13, but after three separate motions, the Board failed to select one to advance the process of selecting a permanent chancellor. Board members were instructed by President Abel Guillen to rank their top choices and submit them to the Board clerk. Guillen announced on his Facebook fan page that the Board selected Commnity College Search Services to assist the district in the search for a permanent chancellor.

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