Westfield State University appoints committee to aid in presidential search

Westfield State University has launched the search for its 21st president, recently announcing the search committee and partnering with global executive search firm WittKieffer.

“In the coming months, we will work diligently to define the qualities and qualifications that Westfield State desires in its next leader, as well as to build and evaluate a strong pool of candidates,” said Trustee and search committee chair Dr. Robert Martin.

Search Committee Membership Named

The following individuals were appointed to the presidential search committee by Westfield State’s Board of Trustees:

Melissa Alvarado, alumni trustee (Class of 1999), assistant vice president in enterprise risk management at Mass Mutual Financial Group, Westfield State Alumni Association representative, and vice chair of the Westfield State Presidential Search Committee;
Claudia Ciano-Boyce, Ed.D., professor of psychology, president of the Westfield Chapter of Massachusetts State Colleges Association (MSCA), and faculty/Westfield MSCA representative;
Junior Delgado, director of the Westfield State University Career Center and employer relations, administrator/Westfield Association of Professional Administrators (APA) representative;
George Flevotomos, principal at Demayo Properties, second vice chair of the Westfield State University Foundation, and WSU Foundation representative;
Brian Jennings, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, and faculty/Westfield MSCA representative;
Ron’na J’Q Lytle, administrative assistant to the Westfield State’s Departments of Ethnic and Gender Studies, Language and Culture Studies, and Sociology; and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Unit 1 Steward, Westfield AFSCME representative;
Robert Martin, Ph.D., Westfield State trustee, retired former vice president for academic affairs and interim president at Framingham State University; and chair of the Westfield State Presidential Search Committee;

Lydia Martinez-Alvarez, Westfield State trustee and assistant superintendent of Springfield Public Schools;

Juline Mills, Ph.D., dean of Westfield State’s College of Education, Health, and Human Services, and representative of the University’s academic administration;

Thalita Neves, student trustee (Class of 2021) and representative of the Westfield State Student Government Association;

Ali Salehi, president of Columbia Manufacturing and representative of the greater Westfield community;

Thomas Simard, deputy commissioner for administration and finance at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE); and Massachusetts Board of Higher Education/DHE representative;

Stephen Taksar, vice president for administration and finance at Westfield State and Cabinet representative;

Gloria Williams, Ed.D., Westfield State trustee, educational consultant, and former principal in Springfield Public Schools;

Non-voting staff to the committee:

Jalisa Williams, L.P.D., associate vice president for Westfield State’s Office of Human Resources, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (OHRIDE); and affirmative action officer; and

Jean Beal, secretary to the Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee. 

Global Search Firm Selected

WittKieffer was appointed earlier this summer by the Board of Trustees to assist the committee and Westfield State community in the search. 

“WittKieffer’s understanding of the higher education landscape in New England and Massachusetts is strong,” said Kevin Queenin ’70, chair of the Westfield State University Board of Trustees. “It has been successful in the state system and offers the best opportunity to assist in the selection of a dynamic leader who will help bring the campus community together and lead the University. We are excited to work with such a qualified partner with a strong record of success.”

WittKieffer is a leader in executive recruitment for higher education with experience in the Massachusetts marketplace, having recently completed presidential searches for Western New England University, Endicott College, and Providence College, among others.

Dr. Martin has sought input and candidate nominations from the Westfield State community to aid in the search process. Information and updates will be posted to the presidential search website.

Currently, veteran educator Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D., is serving as Westfield State’s interim president for the 2020-21 academic year.

Finalists for the position will be interviewed in the spring, and a new president is expected to start next summer.