Board of trustees welcomes new superintendent and president of ECC

Brenda Thames was approved as the new superintendent and president at El Camino College during the Monday, May 17 board of trustees Zoom meeting.

Thames, who has over 23 years of experience in California community colleges begins her new position at El Camino College (ECC) on July 1, followed by Dena Maloney’s retirement from her position as superintendent and president. Thames is currently the president of West Hills College Coalinga.

Thames was one of four finalists during the ECC presidential candidacy and had a public forum on Zoom that allowed the ECC community to get to know the presidential candidates.

During her specific Presidential Candidate Forum on Zoom, Thames said she was interested in taking the leadership role in ECC because of the community-driven work that goes into the college like sports and student success.

“I’m asking my friends and colleagues about [the college] and not one person had a bad thing to say about El Camino,” Thames said in the Forum. “They say [ECC has] a culture that appreciates students and will appreciate faculty and staff. [The faculty] are highly respected and regarded for the work that you are doing around student success and [their] commitment to students in their communities.”

In her closing statement during her forum, she said she appreciates community college for the people that she involved herself with, acknowledging that she wouldn’t be as successful without community colleges.

“I love our colleges, I love our students, and I love what we do. We create opportunity. The fact that I’m sitting here with you is [proof of] the type of opportunity that we create,” Thames said.

During the Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, the six BOT members in the Zoom meeting moved to discuss agenda item 12.3, the approval of the agreement to employ Thames into the El Camino Community College District as superintendent and president.

In their discussion, members of the board acknowledge Thames’ accomplishments in the education spectrum.

“I’m very impressed with everything that you have already done in your career and I feel that we’re so fortunate to be able to work with you, so I’m really excited,” Board Vice President Trisha Murakawa said during the meeting.

Multiple board members, like Board Member Katherine Steinbroner Maschler, were excited to have Thames as the president of ECC.

“Dr. Maloney, we will miss her terribly, but I think we’re in good hands,” Maschler said in the meeting.

Thames participated in the meeting to see the vote in action and said a few words on the unanimous decision.

“My family and I are so excited to be joining the ECC family. We can’t wait to meet those of you [faculty] that we have not had a chance to meet and we are equally as excited to continue to get to know those of you that we have met,” Thames said in the meeting.