The College of the Canyons’ governing board Wednesday selected Jerry Danielsen to fill the seat vacated by the recent death of longtime 4th District Trustee Michele Jenkins.
The board took four rounds of voting after nearly two hours of interviews with 11 of the candidates who met the qualifications as a registered voter who resides within the district’s boundaries.
Board members Edel Alonso, Chuck Lyon and Joan MacGregor asked the candidates seven questions they were given ahead of time on topics that included their thoughts on the college’s purpose, the major challenges facing the district and what they felt would be their biggest contribution to the board.
Board member Sebastian Cazares was absent from Wednesday’s meeting.
“It means a lot to me,” Danielsen said after the motion passed, and Alonso conducted his swearing in directly afterward. “Like I said in my opening statement, this was not a fleeting or sudden aspiration. It’s something that I had sought two times previously.”
Danielsen was the only applicant who had run for the seat previously, having lost to Jenkins in 2016 and 2020, with his loss in the latter election by a margin of about 200 votes.
After the interviews, board members selected their top-four choices and compared their lists, and then from those selections made their top-three choices, and then their top two until a consensus was formed.
The first round of voting resulted in Danielsen ahead with 8 points, then Sharlene Johnson and student trustee Jesse McClure tied for second place with 6, and a tie for fourth between Edgar Perez and Frank Rodriguez.
After the second round, Danielsen, who was endorsed by the faculty union, remained in first, followed by McClure (5) and then Johnson (4).
The third round, in which the three board members selected their top-two choices, resulted in a three-way tie between Danielsen, Johnson and McClure. Then the board members selected their top candidates, which resulted in Danielsen winning by one point over McClure.
There were initially 12 candidates, but one, Ashley Guardino, declined to attend the meeting.
MacGregor, who’s been on the board since 1993, noted it was her fourth time going through the appointment process.
She said Wednesday part of the reason the board chose to appoint versus hold an election was that it would take nearly a year to get a board member seated through a vote and the college was facing a lot of important decisions in the next six months.
Danielsen said he had been regularly attending board meetings for College of the Canyons, but took a brief break after the last election.
Now he’s going to get back to it, he said.
“But I’m going to get up to date and be able to view the agenda, which is coming in a couple of weeks, and wrap my head around what’s coming up,” he said, gesturing to the current meeting’s agenda, which was still showing on a giant digital display behind him. “So, I’ve got a lot of work to do.”