Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 22, 2013

Navarro College names new leader

Dr. Barbara Kavalier chosen to replace retiring Sanchez

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — After a nationwide search that started last summer, the Navarro College Board of Trustees named a new president for the college Thursday.

Trustees unanimously approved the selection of Dr. Barbara Kavalier, president of San Jose City College in California, as its new district president.

Kavalier will replace Dr. Richard Sanchez, who will wrap up a 15-year run as Navarro College’s leader in August.

Kavalier was one of three finalists that were interviewed by trustees in a series of meetings held in Corsicana in February, and was the unanimous pick of the board Thursday.

“She’s a very good fit for Navarro College,” said Trustee Buster Atkeisson. “All of the report we gathered were excellent.”

Trustee Faith Holt echoed the board’s excitement on the selection.

“Dr. Kavalier stood out above everybody,” she said.

Dr. James Price headed up the search committee. He was part of a team of trustees that visited Kavalier’s campus in California.

“It’s obvious the best candidate comes forward,” he said. “She’s very energetic ... we’re excited about the leadership she’ll provide for the college.”

“We’re very impressed with her,” said Trustee Todd McGraw on the board’s choice. “We’re excited to have her.”

Trustee Dick Aldama was also on the search committee, and also felt Kavalier was a good pick.

“In the interview process she was high above everyone else,” Aldama said. “I believe the entire search committee felt she was above the others.”

“Dr. Kavalier is a wonderful person,” said trustee Phil Judson. “She’s excited about coming to Texas, and that’s a big part of it.”

Board Chairman Lloyd Huffman said the selection of a president is the most important function of the college trustees.

“By the time we got to the end of the process, everybody was on board with the choice,” he said. “I think she’s really excited to come back to Texas.”

Kavalier, reached by telephone following Thursday’s vote, said she is ready for the challenge of leading Navarro College.

“Obviously, I’m thrilled,” she said. “I am a native Texan and have very fond memories of growing up there.”

Kavalier said she recalled as a child traveling to Corsicana with her mother each year in November to buy fruitcakes for the holiday season.

“As you can imagine, those childhood memories are very powerful ... I feel a profound connection.”

She also is pleased that she’ll be close to her father and a brother that live nearby.

Kavalier said she “kept an eye” on what Navarro College was doing when she worked for Dallas County Community College District, and knew it was a strong institution.

In looking at becoming the college’s new leader, Kavalier praised the leadership and progress Navarro College has seen under Sanchez.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity for me,” she said. “The board of trustees have embraced the mission of the comprehensive community college and they’ve done outstanding service to the counties served by the college.

“I think its a very exciting time.”

Kavalier will finish up her duties in California, and then transition in the summer to her new role in Texas.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com