Search for next UCC president comes to an end

Published by Savannah Peterson on

Ryan Melton, Rachel Pokrandt, and Teresa Rivenes are the final three UCC presidential candidates.
Photo provided by Tiffany Coleman

Search for next UCC president comes to an end

Three presidential candidates remain as UCC’s Board of Education’s months of searching comes to an end. Current UCC President, Debra Thatcher is retiring June 30. To fill her position, UCC’s Board of Education will soon select one of three possible candidates: Ryan Melton, Rachel Pokrandt and Teresa Rivenes.

“The candidates were recommended by a search committee comprised of students, college employees, community members, and selected representatives from the UCC Board of Education,” public information officer Tiffany Coleman said in a news release. “The committee was chaired by UCC Board of Education Chair Steve Loosley.”

UCC students were represented by Jesika Barnes, current ASUCC student body president, during this process.

“This was my favorite part of the process. I have had more fun getting to know the candidate and checking references, even though we have spent hours on it,” Loosley said. “Every single candidate is a really good person and highly relational.”

“We worked together as a team: putting in a lot of hours, coming to a collective consensus out of each candidate profile and looking for somebody that is a strong team player and highly relational,” Loosley said. “(We looked for candidates) who can really serve the college and carry us into the future being mindful of the needs of the community, K12, businesses and students need employment opportunities.”

Loosley said that each candidate offers qualities that would be a good fit for UCC. “They are all highly accomplished. Everyone has given their lives to help students. Anyone who does that I think is highly respectable,” Loosley said.

The final candidates were introduced to the public through Presidential Town Hall meetings hosted April 6 through April 8. Each meeting introduced one new candidate, along with their introduction about themselves, and spectators had the opportunity to ask questions.

Ryan Melton has a passion for leadership and his hometown.
Photo provided by Tiffany Coleman

At the beginning of each Presidential Town Hall meeting, Loosley introduced the candidates by giving their background, achievements, education and current employment. Melton is currently working at Bushnell University as the dean of psychology and counseling; Pokrandt is currently working at Colorado Mountain College as vice president and campus dean; and Rivenes is currently working at Tillamook Bay Community College as chief academic officer and vice president. 

Melton grew up in Douglas County and later settled here. Thus, he already has community based relationships. He is currently the president of the Rotary Club, involves himself in roadside trash pickup and raises money for mental health. He says his two passions are leadership and his hometown. For these reasons, Melton wants to work at UCC. Melton anticipates serving 20 years in this position. His goal is to make people proud to be involved at UCC.

Rachel Pokrandt understands the importance of having group connections.
Photo provided by Tiffany Coleman

Pokrandt says she looks for group connections where she and the UCC community can grow and learn together each day. These led to her love for higher education and community colleges settings. Pokrandt has found that community partnerships are a student benefit. Her goal is to elevate dual enrollments and create diverse bridges; she feels that this is done by creating strong relationships with the K12 schools. 

Teresa Rivenes stresses the importance of having team building.
Photo provided by Tiffany Coleman

Rivenes says she wants to focus on team building and culture development, prioritizing in the community, partnerships and impacts. She has developed a passion for creating strong leadership environments. Her other passion is to expand beyond the college’s needs by enhancing partnerships with K12 and meeting the community needs. Her own life journey with community college makes her passionate for student success at UCC.

The Board of Education’s decision on the final candidate, UCC’s next president, will be announced after a final vote on Wednesday, Apr. 14. This meeting can be observed online through a Facebook livestream on UCC’s Facebook page.

“We are going to come to a consensus about who we want to offer the position to. We will sit down with the candidate and we will offer them the job. We will then offer a public formal position,” Loosley said.

According to Coleman, the selected candidate will take office just as summer term 2021 begins: “The anticipated start date for the successful candidate is July 1.”

Loosley says, “I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in this and get to know the candidates and learn from everybody. It has been incredibly satisfying.” 

Contact me at:

For more articles by Savannah Peterson please click here.