Walker Named Interim College District Chancellor


James W. Walker, who stepped in to run Ventura County’s three community colleges following the sudden death in November of Chancellor Thomas G. Lakin, was officially named interim chancellor late Wednesday.

The Moorpark College president, who has divided time at his campus and the district office for the past six weeks, was selected from 13 administrators who applied for the position over the past month.

Of the 13 applicants, Walker was the lone candidate currently employed by the Ventura County Community College District. An acting Moorpark College president will probably be named in the weeks ahead.

Walker will serve as interim chancellor through Aug. 1 or as long as it takes members of the governing board to find a permanent successor to Lakin, who died Nov. 27 of a bacterial infection.


“He knows this district very well,” trustee John D. Tallman said of the interim chief. “He’s been here for a few years now, and he’s a careful student of all three colleges.

“Just in the month or so he’s been aboard, he’s done an outstanding job,” Tallman said.

Trustees unanimously named Walker interim chief late Wednesday, following lengthy closed-door interviews with two finalists. A screening committee earlier this month whittled the 13 applicants down to three contenders, but one of the finalists removed himself from consideration earlier this week. Trustees also interviewed Richard Charles, who founded the International College of California in Irvine and spent nine years as vice president of Foothill College.

Walker will receive the same salary as Lakin--about $120,000, trustees said.


“We face enough uncertainties besides having to be uncertain of our leader,” board President Timothy D. Hirschberg said. “He’ll keep the ship together and head it in the right direction.”

Walker, 56, was hired as Moorpark College president in June, 1992.

Despite the promotion, Walker said he is not sure he will apply for the permanent job of chancellor of the district, which administers campuses in Moorpark, Ventura and Oxnard.

A permanent chancellor will probably not be named until late this year.


“The trustees know that I thoroughly enjoy being the president of Moorpark College and that’s my first love,” he said. “But I have an allegiance to this district, and I’m happy to step in and do whatever I can to help.”

Walker said his first priorities will be to maintain a balanced budget and complete a long-range district strategy that Lakin was developing in the months before his death.