Merced College head finalist for Fresno job

FRESNO -- A search committee has named Benjamin Duran, superintendent and president at the Merced Community College District, as one of three finalists for the top job at the State Center Community College District.

The other finalists are Adriana Barrera, deputy chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District; and Deborah Blue, vice chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District.

One of the three will replace Chancellor Tom Crow, who is retiring June 30. State Center is one of the largest community college districts in California, enrolling about 40,000 students last fall and covering more than 5,500 square miles in Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings counties.

The State Center board of trustees is expected to make an appointment in late April. All three finalists are scheduled to appear in a series of public forums April 13.

Duran has served as superintendent and president of the Merced College district since 1998. He began work there in August 1991 as vice president of district administrative services. Before that, he was district superintendent of Le Grand High School. Duran also has served for two decades as an educational leader within the California Community Colleges system.