New chancellor selected

The Contra Costa Community College District will have another familiar face in charge when longtime Chancellor Dr. Helen Benjamin steps down in December. The District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Nov. 4 to select Dr. Fred Wood as Benjamin’s replacement.
Wood grew up in the East Bay and the first-generation college graduate started his college career at Diablo Valley College, where he was both a student and later an instructor.
“He has walked the paths many of our students are working to do,” trustee Greg Enholm told the East Bay Times.
Wood comes to CCCCD from University of Minnesota Crookston, where has served as chancellor since 2012.
He oversaw a period of expansion at the college, adding a 36,000 square foot wellness center and a multi-million dollar remodel of the century-old electrical infrastructure.
Wood said his time as a student at DVC gives him key insights into the needs of the district’s students.
“My DVC experience changed my life, and I am living proof of the power and impact community colleges can make,” he said in a statement.
Wood is taking over for the outgoing Benjamin, who surprised many when she announced her retirement this May. Benjamin has worked within the district since 1990, when she was the dean of dean of Language Arts and Humanistic Studies and Related Occupation here at Los Medanos. She was eventually named chancellor in 2005.
Contract negotiations for Wood are ongoing and the district said they hope to finalize it at their Dec. 14 meeting.
Wood comes in at a time of relative flux for the district, as the longest serving trustee John Nejedly unexpectedly died in his hotel room Oct. 9 while attending the annual convention of the Association of Community College Trustees. The district is currently accepting candidates for his Ward 4 seat. A list will be announced sometime in December.