Jonathan Gueverra, chief executive of the University of the District of Columbia Community College, has been named president of the Florida Keys Community College, that school announced Monday.
Gueverra was recruited from Northern Virginia Community College three years ago to run the District’s first community college, created as a separate entity under the University of the District of Columbia.
Alan Etter, UDC spokesman, confirmed Gueverra’s departure but said his institution had not been officially informed. Gueverra did not immediately reply to an e-mail.
UDC President Allen Sessoms created the separate community college three years ago as a defining move in his attempt to remake UDC as a separate two-year college and four-year university. The institution had previously fulfilled both missions under one academic roof, leading to what Sessoms considered unacceptably low - - typically single-digit - - completion rates.
But the future of the community college has been a sensitive topic among UDC administrators. Some observers have pushed for the university to grant complete independence to the community college. An independent 2009 report urged swift separation of the schools.
Sessoms said he supported that goal, but there were signs of an internal feud. Last summer, Sessoms ordered that the community college should never be referred to as Community College of the District of Columbia, as it was briefly known, but rather as the University of the District of Columbia Community College.
In a report at the time, my colleague Mike DeBonis wrote, “Behind the scenes, Sessoms and the community college’s chief executive officer . . . aren’t getting along, most observers agree, because Gueverra signed on to create a standalone school while Sessoms has sought to slow down the separation process.”
In his new job, Gueverra will replace Larry Tyree, who is retiring as president of the Key West institution.
A release from the Florida college says that under Gueverra’s lead, enrollment tripled at CCDC and more than $10 million in external funds were raised. It’s probably too soon in the life of the new CCDC (or UDC-CC) to know whether the split has benefitted either institution in terms of retention and graduation rates.