Superintendent/President Dr. Anthony E. Beebe to Retire
By Robert Miller,
President, on behalf of the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees
On February 7, Dr. Beebe called a special meeting of the Board of Trustees to inform them of serious health concerns that required his full attention. Dr. Beebe, therefore, informed the Board of Trustees of his decision to retire this summer. The Board expressed unanimous support for Dr. Beebe in leading the College. We have full confidence in him and wanted him to continue as Superintendent/President for several more years. However, we respect the decision he has made and strongly encouraged him to prioritize his health.
On behalf of the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees, we wish to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Anthony Beebe for his outstanding service to the College and our community.
When Dr. Beebe came to City College he was immediately faced with exceptionally difficult circumstances due to a projected $9 Million deficit. It is remarkable that he was able to pull the College together to address our financial challenges and help the College emerge with a positive financial outlook in a very short period of time.
Our college and community faced tremendous adversity with the Thomas Fire and Montecito Debris Flow tragedies. These back-to-back disasters were incredibly trying on our community, our staff, faculty and students. The College took a role in hosting first responders, opening up our facilities to the American Red Cross, and hosting Montecito Union School. Dr. Beebe’s leadership during these disasters was exemplary.
When the Board considered a new Superintendent/President in 2015 and 2016, Dr. Beebe emerged as the top candidate due to many reasons, including his commitment to strengthening the relationship between the College and the Community. From his first day on the job, he has worked tirelessly to accomplish this goal. Among several initiatives, he spearheaded the expansion of tuition-free Adult Education classes with the establishment of the School of Extended Learning. The School’s expansion was a significant and positive change for our community. The School is thriving and will only continue to grow.
We recognize that the last three years have not always been easy. Our College has faced, and continues to face, very difficult conversations and challenging issues. We have complete confidence that Dr. Beebe is moving the College in the right direction and putting into place positive change.
After an exemplary 31 years of service to the State of California and Community Colleges, we wish Dr. Beebe all the best in his retirement and thank him for his leadership of Santa Barbara City College. Given the timeline necessary for a robust executive recruitment, the Board will appoint an interim Superintendent/President.
By Anthony E. Beebe, PhD, EdD
After 31 years in education, I have decided to retire this summer, after serving SBCC for three years. This was not planned, but as many of you know, I have been struggling with significant health-related issues, including cancer and heart problems. Not addressing these issues has caught up with me, and I now need to focus on my health.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Santa Barbara City College community for permitting me the incredible experience, opportunity, and honor to serve as your Superintendent/President. I also want to thank the SBCC Board of Trustees for its consistent and unwavering support. This is an incredible group of dedicated volunteers for the college. While my time here has been challenging, we have had many memorable experiences and several accomplishments of which to be proud.
This college faculty, staff, administrators, and students have pulled together in unprecedented ways, whether it was launching Guided Pathways, establishing the new School of Extended Learning (adult education), promoting the SBCC Promise, creating the new Equity and Social Justice and Umoja Centers, advocating for our Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, or crafting a new college Vision Statement.
Certainly, I will never forget coming in as a new President faced with a significant budget deficit. The college launched an amazing effort to rally around reducing the structural budget deficit with the Supplemental Early Retirement Program (SERP), the Budget Resource Allocation Committee (BRAC), and the Workforce Reduction Attrition Plan (WRAP). This was a tremendous effort and allowed the College to emerge with a stronger financial footing.
Over the last few years we have been able to hire several faculty, classified staff, and administrators in new or replacement positions in critically needed areas. An additional cohort of hiring is coming this spring. I am also proud to have made significant progress towards increasing the median salaries of all faculty, classified staff, and administrators by 7% in recent negotiations. Any raise beyond COLA hadn’t happened for more than a decade – and it was certainly well deserved. My hope is that this progress will continue.
One of our greatest efforts has been working with the community, telling the SBCC story and connecting people to the college. I have had the opportunity and joy of speaking to hundreds of community groups, reaching thousands of community members. Being the Board President of Partners in Education was certainly exciting and helpful in making community connections. I am particularly proud of the relationship we have built with the SBCC Foundation leadership and the wonderfully supportive Foundation Board members.
Of course, we all remember the horrific Montecito debris flows and opening an American Red Cross Evacuation Center in our Campus Center and Sports Pavilion. Certainly, we were being the best neighbors possible when we opened our doors to the children of Montecito Union School when they were unable to access their own school.
The above is just a small sample of the efforts of the college over the last few years. I see the heart of our college every day in our dedicated staff, administration, and faculty, and how deeply you all care about our students and our mission here at SBCC. I have witnessed first-hand during my classroom visits the exceptional teaching and learning for which SBCC is known. For all of these reasons, while we always have work to do, I feel good about the progress we are have made at the college.
I want to leave you with this poem I wrote awhile back about SBCC:
Listen closely to the winds and the waves,
And you will hear ancient Chumash members,
Singing about Dark Water crossings,
To the Islands under light from a fine moon.
Songs about brave tribal men,
But also about a brave Lone Woman, on an island.
The sun rises, and morning fires cast gentle wafts of smoke
Along the coastline and warm Chumash families,
As they prepare for a busy day.
Tribal members teach their children
And care and love each other, learning the important,
Precious things of life.
Franciscans bring new dynamics and change,
Not all in good ways.
Proven traditions of a thousand years, overlooked,
Focusing on water and land production,
Harnessing the free-spirited mountain water,
Turning golden fields, green.
An education center is born on the mesa,
Extending high school and the potential of all students.
Rich and poor, far and near, young and old,
Black, brown, and white, ready or not –
All students come, and are forever changed and, in turn –