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Daniel Peck Selected as New President of Mission College

Daniel Peck, interim president of Mission College, has been selected as the college’s next president after approval of his 3-year contract January 21 by the West Valley-Mission Community College District Board of Trustees.

Peck, who has served as interim president since September 2013, was selected from among three finalists after a nationwide search conducted by an external search firm. The other finalists interviewed by the 13-member hiring committee were Joi Lin Blake, vice president of student services at Skyline College, and Betty Inclan, who is currently consulting for City College of San Francisco.

“Daniel brought many strengths to his candidacy,” said WVMCCD Chancellor Patrick Schmitt. “He had wide experience in administration, some garnered as both interim VP of instruction and interim president at Mission. He knows California and the California community college system. His expertise in research means that he knows both the over and the under of Mission College and its situation vis-a-vis the Valley and other colleges. It’s also been clear that Daniel is, instinctively, an expert at building relationships, both internally and externally. This is an absolute must for a college president nowadays.

“I see Daniel as president working with faculty, staff and students to forge a clear and powerful identity for Mission College. I look to him to bring the college together to make great strides in improving student success, creating a strong participatory and shared government for the school, and rebuilding the physical environment of the college by deploying our bond money wisely and well. I am deeply convinced that he and the college will be tremendously successful over the foreseeable future.” 

As interim president, Peck focused primarily on preparing for the college’s upcoming accreditation site visit as well as financial and facilities planning, and moving forward with implementation of the statewide Student Success Act. Peck said he will continue to focus on those areas as president, particularly over the next six months. During that time, he also plans to emphasize meeting with and listening to constituents both at the college and in the greater Santa Clara community. From there, Peck said, he will develop a vision for Mission College that reflects the input he’s gathered.

“I am deeply honored and truly humbled with the support I have received over the past several months, and the faith that is being placed in me for the next several years,” Peck said. “I can think of no greater privilege than to have the opportunity to lead and foster this amazing institution and the wonderful people that make Mission what it is. Mission College is home to the most dedicated and student-focused classified staff anywhere, the most innovative and inspiring faculty I have ever known, and the hardest-working administrative team I have ever had the good fortune with which to work. Mission is supported by talented and collaborative partners in the District and West Valley College, enriched by our dynamic and exciting community and business partners, and led by an effective and thoughtful Chancellor and Board of Trustees. I firmly believe that there is no place more exciting to be right now than at Mission College.”

Prior to being appointed interim president, Peck had served for six months as interim vice president of instruction at MC, overseeing preparations for the accreditation site visit, the hiring of nearly a dozen new fulltime faculty and the ongoing development of curriculum and degrees. He had also served as MC’s research director for about three years and brings that wealth of experience in institutional, education and policy research with him to the role of president.

Wael Abdeljabbar, faculty in computer science and information technology, and president of the Academic Senate, said Peck’s experience and background make him an excellent choice for the college.

“We are thrilled to have Daniel take over as president,” Abdeljabbar said. “He has over 12 years of experience in education and nonprofit leadership, including project management, research, fundraising, community outreach, planning and institutional effectiveness. Additionally, he has experience in accreditation, strategic goals and enrollment management. He is able to build relationships and he has excellent public speaking and presentation skills.” 

Peck began working in institutional research at the University of South Alabama, served four years as research analyst at Mission College, and later supervised institutional research for Foothill College before returning to MC. Prior to working in institutional research, Peck guided applied research for the United Way of Southwest Alabama, including policy evaluation, community scans, community surveys and grants management. Peck has been an active member and presenter with professional organizations throughout his career. 

Sarah Randle, who works in the Office of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness and serves as president of the Classified Senate, said Peck’s research background will serve him well in his new role as president. 

“Mission sure is lucky to have Daniel as our president,” Randle said. “He brings not only passion but years of experience in making data-driven decisions to improve student success. His background in research – where I’ve worked with him – uniquely prepares him for the job.” 

Penny Johnson, vice president of student services, said Peck did an outstanding job during his time as interim president. Johnson said Peck stands out among the college presidents she has worked with at various colleges and pointed to his communication skills and leadership abilities, among other attributes. 

“Peck’s ability to lead shared governance groups, solicit information, listen carefully and respond to their issues or concerns is exemplary,” Johnson said. “His responsiveness to his fellow managers, faculty and staff has been quite noteworthy. In his interim assignment, he gave the college a sense of stability and a strong leadership presence at the helm.” 

Peck holds a master’s degree in sociology from Indiana University, where he also worked within the Institute for Survey Research and taught both topic and statistics classes. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and English.