CCC president one of five finalists for state department

CNJ staff

SANTA FE — Clovis Community College President Beverlee McClure is one of five finalists to lead the newly created Higher Education Department, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The other four finalists for Higher Education Secretary position are:

• James Fries, former president, College of Santa Fe

• Carmen Gonzales, vice provost, New Mexico State University

• Ana Guzman, president of Palo Alto College, San Antonio

• Lillian Montoya Rael, community relations director, Los Alamos National Lab.

Gov. Bill Richardson will interview five finalists.

“I will hire a Higher Education Secretary as soon as possible so we can move forward on our ambitious agenda for New Mexico’s universities and colleges,” Richardson said.

The Higher Education Department, directed by the Cabinet Secretary, is responsible for increasing access to state colleges and universities and improving success once a student has enrolled. The Secretary will develop and implement a comprehensive statewide agenda for higher education, one that ties together a common commitment among state colleges and universities to not only enroll more New Mexicans but to increase the number of graduates.

The Cabinet Secretary will work closely with the institutions of higher education to help build a highly trained workforce and high-wage economy.