SMC Presidential Candidate Rachel Rosenthal

Rachel Rosenthal was the third of four candidates for Superintendent/President of Santa Monica College to conduct an open house Q&A at noon on Friday at the main stage of the theater arts building. The current president of Folsom Lake College in Folsom, California, Dr. Rosenthal brought a clear-headed and empirical approach to the position, while always striving to keep an open mind on how to solve problems. She stressed her belief in collaboration and consensus building in order to find the best answer for the most people. “We are fundamentally democratic in our approach," said Rosenthal as she explained how she thought she would fit in with SMC’s current approach to decision making. “We are here to hear all of the voices and support those that need our support. I do believe the best decisions are made when all the stakeholders weigh in."

Originally a math professor, Rosenthal stated that she would be open to pursue any possible educational model to improve the lagging test scores the SMC student body has been achieving in the math and physical science departments. Rosenthal said, “People should love math, I'm just tellin' ya, you know?”

In her prior experience as vice president and superintendent of Sierra College in Rocklin, California, Rosenthal found a higher ratio of full-time faculty to part-time than SMC currently has, and was open to exploring hiring for full time faculty.

Rosenthal presented a strong belief in quantitative, evidence based approaches to problem solving. More than willing to admit that she was unfamiliar with a number of issues specific to SMC, Rosenthal more than made up for the lack of local knowledge with a willingness to learn and to involve herself with student life. "We need that student voice in governance. There's not a clean feedback mechanism where we understand how we did as an educational institution,“ said Rosenthal. “Having a student's voice and hearing directly from you as to where you see the important issues, needs to have a place."

Overall, she made for an upbeat and savvy candidate with a positive mindset ready to tackle the challenges that becoming the Superintendent President of SMC might contain, stressing a belief that this was in a large part due to how she had struggled and achieved throughout life through a combination or resilience and help from others.

“To me it's paying it forward - paying it backward, however you look at it - to help students achieve their dreams whatever those are,“ said Rosenthal about why she sought the much desired position. “I had people helping me, and it’s my job to help others."