Dear Members of the Pacific Oaks Community,
It is with profound enthusiasm that I write to share the news that our half-year search to find the next president of Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School has reached a conclusion. I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees this week approved the appointment of Dr. Ezat Parnia as our institution’s new leader.
An academic, educator, administrator, father, and husband, Ezat brings to Pacific Oaks more than 30 years of experience in higher education, first as a college professor at the University of Hartford, and then as a dean and administrator at Cambridge College in Cambridge, Mass. There he was among the chief architects of a success story that saw the school rise in enrollment from 200 students in 1989 to more than 9,000 when he left in 2007. More recently, Ezat served as provost and executive vice president at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., and will be leaving a CEO post at Education Advisory Group, LLC for the Pacific Oaks presidency.
I spoke to Ezat and he is thrilled and honored to be invited to join Pacific Oaks. If you attended his campus presentation last month you heard him talk about his niece, a graduate of Pacific Oaks College, and how our school changed her life. He looks forward to being here to see firsthand this transformative effect carried on to others.
Speaking on behalf of the board, we thank all of you—the students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends—for your participation throughout the search. From the beginning of this process we sought to make our work to find a new president as transparent and engaged as possible. We offer special thanks to the representative members of the Search Committee for their effort and support in helping us interview and evaluate the finalists. We read all of the comments, watched the community forums, reviewed the references, and spent our own one-on-one time with the candidates. In the end it was a challenging decision, one that rested on our strategic priorities of reaching more students, reinforcing our financial bearings, strengthening the bridge between the college and children’s school, becoming recognized as a national leader for our approach to education, and providing an experience to our students that continues to exceed their expectations. We saw Dr. Parnia being able to leverage his experience and knowledge to lead us on all fronts.
Many of you met with Ezat during his campus visit last month. We will have the added honor of welcoming his family later this year to the Pasadena community. His wife, Lisa Boucher, is an executive at Financial Engines, a financial retirement company. His son, Max, is a junior in high school and his daughter, Yasmin, is in second grade. Together they have strong family and friend ties in Southern California. Dr. Parnia completed his doctoral work at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif., where he studied leadership and management under the guidance of Peter Drucker. He is looking forward to returning to this area where he spent the beginning of a life in education as a research and teaching assistant.
Regarding transition, the board extends sincere gratitude to Interim President Michael Horowitz for his outstanding service to Pacific Oaks while this project was underway. Dr. Horowitz is returning to Chicago later this month to again serve full time in his post as president and CEO of TCS Education System. Under Dr. Horowitz’s watch, Pacific Oaks College had its most successful fall start in years and made strides on each of its strategic plan initiatives. He remains a Pacific Oaks trustee and will continue supporting Dr. Parnia throughout this semester. Ezat is excited to begin his work and will be on campus starting next week. Look for an email from Dr. Horowitz on more transition details.
The board thanks all of you for your support and feedback throughout this process. It took a community effort to find an individual who matched each of the qualities we sought to lead Pacific Oaks. I hope you will join my colleagues and me in welcoming Ezat Parnia and his family to the Pacific Oaks community.
Pacific Oaks Board of Trustees
Co-Chair, Pacific Oaks President Search Committee