Dr. Pamila Fisher, chancellor of the Yosemite Community College District, will leave her post in August after announcing her retirement yesterday.
Fisher started her career with the district more than 30 years ago as an instructor and administrator. In 1992, she became chancellor of the entire district, serving six counties through Columbia College and Modesto Junior College.
Together, the schools have an enrollment of about 29,000 students, a staff of more than 1,300 and an annual budget of more than $100 million.
When Trustee Joe Mitchell died in a car wreck in May, Fisher mourned with the YCCD board and helped newcomer Pat Dean adjust to the position.
"I feel very fortunate since being selected on the board that I've had the opportunity to work under her tutelage," Dean said in a press release. "She is very bright, intelligent and has been exceptionally helpful to me in the role of trustee."
For the five months leading up to her retirement, Fisher will work to assist the board and colleagues to plan, prepare and address upcoming challenges, such as the continuing state budget problem, an anticipated large number of staff members retiring and a potential districtwide bond measure.
After retirement, Fisher plans to continue teaching and consulting, hoping to encourage leadership skills and diversity and inclusiveness, according to a press release.
"I am discussing opportunities with university doctoral programs and with national associations, as well as working with other community college districts and state systems throughout the country that are committed to these goals," she said.
Fisher will accomplish those goals in the Columbia Gorge area of Oregon, where she and her husband, Charlie, will move to be closer to their daughter's family.
Columbia College President Jim Riggs has no doubt she will succeed.
"She has been a great leader for the district and a great supporter of Columbia College," Riggs said. "We would not have reached the prominence we have without her help and guidance."
The Board of Trustees will discuss plans for starting a national search to replace Fisher at a special meeting Wednesday.
"Pam will leave very big shoes to fill," said Trustee Abe Rojas. "Hopefully, we can find someone to provide the leadership that she did."