From left to right, Kerry Levett, Rachel Solemsaas and Chemene Crawford. (Everett Community College)

From left to right, Kerry Levett, Rachel Solemsaas and Chemene Crawford. (Everett Community College)

EvCC narrows president search to 3 finalists

After a long search, the college’s board of trustees is interviewing Chemene Crawford, Kerry Levett and Rachel Solemsaas.

EVERETT — Three finalists have emerged to be the next president of Everett Community College.

All are women.

Chemene Crawford is president and CEO of North Seattle College. Kerry Levett is a vice president at Cascadia College in Bothell. Rachel Solemsaas is chancellor of Hawaii Community College, which is part of the University of Hawaii system.

“EvCC conducted an extensive nationwide search for the college’s next leader,” Everett Community College board chairperson Toraya Miller said in a news release. “The three highly qualified finalists are accomplished leaders whose skills and experience best match the college’s future challenges and opportunities.”

Whoever is selected and takes on the position at Everett Community College will oversee around 15,000 students a year and over 800 employees.

Community college enrollment across the country declined during the pandemic, The New York Times reported last year. That’s been true for Everett Community College, which enrolled over 6,600 students in fall 2021, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. That figure does not include students in adult basic education, continuing education or corporate education, or in College in the High School or Running Start, college spokesperson Jenny Marin wrote in an email.

The finalists are set to meet with faculty, staff, students and others during public forums Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. People in the audience can ask questions.

Darrell Cain has been the interim president since March 2022 on a contract with a salary over $248,000 that lasts through Aug. 31. He is not among the finalists.

Crawford has a long career in higher education administration, most recently as CEO and president of North Seattle College since June 2021. She also served the prior year as interim president at the school that enrolled over 4,800 students in fall 2021.

Chemene Crawford (Everett Community College)

Chemene Crawford (Everett Community College)

Before that, she was in administration positions at the then-named Dallas County Community College District and in the California Community College system.

Crawford got a doctorate of education from Nova Southeastern University, a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of San Francisco.

Levett’s higher education career has taken her to Arizona, New York, Oregon and Bothell since 2018 as the vice president for student learning and success at Cascadia College. The Bothell college enrolled just under 2,000 students last fall.

Previously, Levett was the executive dean of student affairs at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, for five years, associate vice president for student affairs at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York, and worked for Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York, and Cook College and Theological School in Tempe, Arizona.

Kerry Levett (Everett Community College)

Kerry Levett (Everett Community College)

Levett has a doctorate of education from Arizona State University, a master’s in arts in education from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s of arts in Christian education from Westminster College.

Solemsaas was appointed as chancellor of Hawaii Community College in 2016. The school enrolled over 2,200 students in fall 2021.

Before then, she was a business and finance officer at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada, Bellevue College and Edmonds College.

She also worked in finance and health and human services departments at King and Snohomish counties.

Rachel Solemsaas (Everett Community College)

Rachel Solemsaas (Everett Community College)

Solemsaas has a doctorate of education from Washington State University and a master’s degree from the University of Washington. She earned a bachelor of science in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila, in the Philippines.

A national search was conducted by a 17-member committee and a consulting firm. Board members Betty Cobbs and Jerry Martin led the committee, which reviewed applications, interviewed candidates and chose finalists, according to the college.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037;; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

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