When Santa Monica College President Chui Tsang steps down after nearly a decade later this year, the college’s executive vice president will take the reins.

The College Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to appoint Jeff Shimizu to the position of interim president.

Under the agreement Shimizu, who was recently appointed to the post of executive vice president, will steer the 33,000-student college with a $149 million annual operating budget until the position is filled or until the end of the year.

Shimizu will start at the same base salary as Tsang, who was paid $337,000 in 2013, according to watchdog group Transparent California, which files public records requests to determine the salaries of public employees.

Tsang announced last month that he’ll retire at the end of this school year, on July 1.

Shimizu joined the college as a member of the counseling department in 1985. From there he worked as the dean of counseling, athletic director, and dean of instruction. His longest role was as Vice President of Academic Affairs, which he held for a decade until he was appointed to his current position in September.

“As Vice President of Academic Affairs, Shimizu provided leadership for the college’s 21 instructional departments,” SMC officials said in a release. “His responsibilities ranged from curriculum, distance education and continuing education to managing SMC’s five satellite campuses — from Emeritus College in downtown Santa Monica to the Bundy Campus next to the Santa Monica Airport, which houses SMC’s Health Sciences department and its Career Technical Education arm. Shimizu was also largely responsible for the SMC summer instruction program at Compton College in 2006, which helped restore that college’s accreditation status.”

Tsang and Shimizu worked closely together while Shimizu was executive vice president. Shimizu called Tsang “innovative and a stabilizing influence.”

“Being here for many years has given me a chance to really learn and respect the inner workings of the college, its faculty, staff and students,” Shimizu said of his three-decade tenure.

On Tuesday, the board also considered developing a request for a consultant to help the college find a new president.

“I echo the entire board’s sentiment when I say that we were all counting on Jeff Shimizu to provide direction for the college at this crucial time,” SMC Board Chair Rob Rader said.

Shimizu has coached football and baseball and volunteered with slew of programs aimed at supporting urban youth who play baseball.

“Jeff has always been an advocate for faculty, and a bridge that facilitates dialogue between SMC’s various constituencies,” said SMC Academic Senate President Eve Adler. “Our college is fortunate to have his leadership during this important transition.”

Shimizu told the board that he’s looking forward to collaborating on the “exciting programs” the college has in the works.

He also said he’s happy he’ll have a chance to be around the student body.

“That’s one thing I’ve missed out on all these years as a vice president,” he said.


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