Three Finalists Named for Norco College President Post
Three finalists named for Norco College president post
Norco College will host three candidate forums to give the college community an opportunity to provide input on the presidential finalists. The three candidates are Virginia Parras, Craig Follins and Bryan Reece, all experienced community college leaders.
Norco College is seeking a permanent president to replace Paul Parnell, who served as the college president from 2012 until January 2016, when he accepted a position as chancellor for the State Center Community College District.
The candidate forums are free and open to the public and will be held at Norco College in the Center for Student Success, Room 217 on the following dates:
- Virginia Parras, Thursday, November 3, 12:50 – 1:50 pm
- Craig Follins, Thursday, November 10, 12:50 – 1:50 pm
- Bryan Reece, Tuesday, November 15, 12:50 – 1:50 pm
Overview – Candidate experience and education as follows:
- Virginia Parras, DBA, founder of Parras Grande & Associates, LLC was the president of campus and centers of City College of San Francisco. Previously she held administrative positions at Houston Community College and several leadership positions in Florida and Texas in the National Association of Chartered Associations. Parras earned her doctorate degree in Business Administration (DBA) from Walden University, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from Regis University.
- Craig Follins, Ph.D., is currently serving as special assistant to the Alamo Colleges Chancellor. His project involves visiting outstanding two- and four- year educational institutions and publishing national research on best practices in distance education and competency based education/credit for prior learning. Previously he held administrative positons at Northeast Lakeview College, Olive-Harvey College, Cuyahoga Community College, Victoria College and Houston Community College system. Follins earned his doctorate degree in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his master’s in Clinical Sociology from Texas Southern University and a baccalaureate degree in Sociology from Brooklyn College.
- Bryan Reece, Ph.D., is the vice president of instruction at Crafton Hills College. In this role, he has developed the Crafton Hills’ education master plan and related strategic initiatives embraced by the campus community. Previously, he held administrative and faculty positions at Cerritos College. Reece earned his doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Political Science from the University of Southern California and has over 26 years of community college experience.
Expanded Candidate Bios
Virginia Parras, DBA
Virginia Parras founder of Parras Grande & Associates, LLC was the president of campus and centers of City College of San Francisco. She was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the college’s main campus and eight major centers, which served more than 75,000 students annually, with more than 1,200 international students from over 75 countries. In addition to the deans who reported to her, she also supervised the managers responsible for student outreach and recruitment, student activities and government, student health, facilities maintenance, bookstore and police operations.
Prior to CCSF, Parras held three positions of increasing responsibility at Houston Community College. As the college operations officer for HCC Northwest College, she was responsible for student support, finance and budget, facilities, administrative and business offices, HR, police and security, emergency operations and planning for the College’s four campuses. Parras managed operations and resources totaling more than $50 million in construction and maintenance efforts of about $15 million annually. Additionally, she was responsible for coordinating over $75 million in capital bond projects. She was a member of the District Operations Council, Planning and Budget Committee, and Bond Facilities Committee. She also participated in two successful tax district annexation campaigns that brought more than $30 million into the district annually and a successful $425 million capital bond campaign approved by the voters in 2012.
Parras also served as executive director, financial and budgetary control and was responsible for financial planning, budgets and auxiliary services for the HCC system with the responsibility of managing budgets of more than $290 million annually and auxiliary operations that netted $15 million annually. Prior to this, Parras was the director of building operations and was responsible for system wide construction project planning, maintenance operations and janitorial services for over four million square feet at 22 operating locations for six colleges throughout the greater Houston area.
Prior to joining HCC, Parras held several leadership positions in Florida and Texas in the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chartered Associations. As the chief executive officer of two of these statewide associations, she led and motivated others to improve operations. During her career with NAR Parras garnered several designations related to the real estate industry in topics such as international affairs, real estate contracts, leadership and diversity.
Parras is an experienced leader with expertise in finance, accounting, education and legislative advocacy. She is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers, as well as the Texas Association of Community College Business Officers. She is bilingual in both Spanish and English. She earned her doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from Walden University, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from Regis University.
Craig T. Follins, Ph.D.
Craig Follins is a higher education senior executive and lifelong educator with deep experience in leading community colleges. A big picture thinker with a combined management and operations mindset, his organizational, communication, and people skills, and his ability to develop programs and best practices have all contributed to his successful career as a community college leader.
Most recently serving as special assistant to the Alamo Colleges Chancellor for special projects, Follins’ major project involved visiting outstanding two- and four- year educational institutions and publishing national research on best practices in distance education and competency based education/credit for prior learning. Follins is an award-winning educator who has taught all modalities of instruction at such institutions as Lonestar College, Walden University, Kaplan University, Capella University and The University of Phoenix. Follins is also a published author, his book Persistence and Perseverance, was published in 2015 and talks about the power of persistence and education.
Previously, Follins served as president for the Northeast Lakeview College (part of the Alamo College District) in Texas, where he oversaw the planning, managed and directed all operational areas of the College. He led the NLC team to the first-ever successful SACSCOC accreditation candidacy application leading to a successful subsequent visit. He and his team more than doubled the number of graduates in one year, and, obtaining ongoing community feedback, responded to community needs by designing, developing and implementing a K-12 partnership aimed to develop a college-going culture with two independent school districts, impacting 4,000 students. In 2015, U.S. News and World Report recognized the on campus early college as one of the best.
In 2014, before joining NHLK, Follins was president of Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, IL, with an enrollment of 13,500 students. In this capacity, he increased graduation rates by 20%, enhanced success opportunities for students by developing partnerships with employers that resulted in increased student employment opportunities, and enhanced pre-K-20 partnerships that led to clear and seamless pathways for students. As the president of OHC, Follins participated in roundtable discussion with U.S. Second Lady Jill Biden during her 2012 community college listening tour.
From 2010 to 2014, Follins was president and CEO of Follins Workforce Strategies, a workforce and economic development consulting practice.
Earlier Follins served as the executive vice president of workforce and economic development at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. In his role he provided divisional leadership for the successful 2009 college levy (bond referendum) that secured five-year public funding for college operations, increased enrollment, and delivered solutions for employers and students by developing programs that met specific employer labor and student needs for gainful employment. Follins received national and local grants in support of these programs.
Before joining Cuyahoga, he was vice president of workforce and economic development at Victoria College in Texas, where he assisted in developing programs to support employer and student needs for labor and employment, engaging the College in statewide workforce conversations, and obtained grants to provide skill training for 300 plus individuals. He also served as interim vice president of arts and sciences during the College’s search for a permanent vice president.
From 2001 to 2005, Follins was system director, business development and outreach services for the Houston Community College system, served as administrative intern to vice chancellor for finance and administration, and in various other capacities for the College.
Follins earned his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and was honored as a distinguished graduate by the community college leadership program in 2012. He earned his master’s in Clinical Sociology from Texas Southern University, and his baccalaureate degree in Sociology from Brooklyn College. He also attended New York City Community College. He has received numerous awards, including the Blue Stone award from the City of Euclid, in recognition of the Regional Transportation Institute Development (2009), and is an active member in community organizations.
Follins served honorably in the U.S. Army in Europe where he was awarded a letter of commendation for his military bearing. As a veteran, Follins is a strong supporter of serving veterans seeking educational and employment opportunities.
Follins has family throughout the state of California and has enjoyed his frequent visits. He values and celebrates diversity being born and raised in New York City. Follins and his bride, Millicent, have four grown daughters and enjoy traveling, cooking, reading, writing, entertaining, making new friends and adding value to the lives of others.
Bryan Reece, Ph.D.
Bryan Reece is vice president of instruction at Crafton Hills College. As VPI, he is responsible for the leading the academic programs, schedule development, faculty training, learning resources, education master planning and other matters related to the academic life of faculty and students.
Reece holds a Ph.D., MA and BA in Political Science from USC and has over 26 years of community college experience with teaching expertise and a broad range of administrative/leadership experience. He has a strong record of grant writing and fundraising, is an awarded teacher, a published author and a frequent speaker/presenter with particular expertise in the intersection of technology, teaching and operations. Prior to his VPI position, he held two dean positions, served as academic senate president and taught political science at Cerritos College.
In his role as VP of instruction, Reece has been instrumental in the development of Crafton Hills’ education master plan and related strategic initiatives embraced by the campus community. He has helped raise the college from an Inland Empire/regional institution to one of the higher performing and more prestigious colleges statewide. A number of measures have risen to substantiate this, including enrollm
ent, degree/certificate completions and more. Among the most impressive have been the College’s performance with regard to course retention/success and program completion. These rates have risen to the highest levels in the region and are now among the highest in the state.
If selected as the next president for Norco College, Reece will bring day-one readiness and expertise in critical areas for the College:
- Student success— he has a strong track record for fostering student success across community colleges by aligning resources in manners that elicit greater course success, degree progress and program completion.
- College operations— he brings experience with major campus construction projects, national hiring campaigns, FTES growth and integrated planning.
- Regional partnerships— he has a strong record of developing community partnerships that create resources and solve problems in creative ways for all parties involved.
- Legislative advocacy— he is a successful advocate to support community colleges and higher education in Sacramento and Washington, DC. His work in this area will help secure resources for the College from both capitols.
- Community— he has a reputation for fostering work environments that are collaborative, civil, smart, trusting and highly effective.
Referencing his own experience as an undergraduate, Reece recently wrote,
“I was once a first-generation student struggling to discover what I have to offer the world; what the world has to offer me. A handful of people came beside me, looking past my worn clothes and broken car. They worked with me, worked on me, worked for me and changed my life. I remember every single one of them. I often think about them during my commute or at home in those quiet moments when everyone has gone to bed. Educators touch student lives in permanent, soulful ways—in ways that change the trajectory of our lives. I have spent my entire career trying to be part of this collective effort and look forward to continuing this with the students, faculty, staff, managers and community members of Norco College.“