Cuesta College narrows presidential search to three

October 6, 2011

Three men, including one who lacks a Ph.D. or Ed.D., have been named as the finalists for the Cuesta College superintendent/president position.

The three candidates will be featured in a public forum on Tuesday, Oct. 11 from noon to 3 p.m. in Room 5401 of the Student Center. Each of the finalists will have 50 minutes to introduce themselves, answer a series of pre-determined questions, and respond to other questions from the audience.

The candidates will also be interviewed by the Cuesta Board of Trustees on Oct. 12.

The three finalists are:

Ed Knudson has worked in the California Community College System since 1993 after earning his master’s degree (He has no degree above a master’s). Knudsen has served as full-time faculty, department chair, faculty president, division director, dean, vice president of Academic Affairs and executive vice president. He has served on a variety of college governance committees, has written successful grants and served on the boards of college Foundations. He is also a veteran of the United States Army.

Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen earned two master’s degrees in exercise science and counseling from Purdue University and a doctorate in education from UCLA. He has 32 years of professional experience working in higher education, including 27 years working in the California Community College system. After working for five years as a counselor/academic advisor at Purdue University, he worked as a counselor at Antelope Valley College. Lewallen has since served as a faculty member, dean, vice president of Students Services, and since 2007, has served as president of West Hills College.

Dr. Gilbert H. Stork has been serving as Cuesta College’s interim superintendent/president since January 2010. He has a longstanding relationship with Cuesta College dating back to 1967. At Cuesta College, Stork has served as an assistant football coach, mathematics instructor, division chair, associate dean, dean, and assistant superintendent/vice president of student services. He earned his master’s degree in mathematics from Cal Poly and his doctorate in educational administration from Brigham Young University. Additionally, Stork has served on the board of directors and volunteered for numerous local, non-profit organizations.

Originally, the selection committee had come back with four candidates after being instructed to select three to five options for the position. However, one stepped down before the presentation of the names to the Board of Trustees earlier this week.

A new president is expected to be announced by early December.



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Starting a college presidency at 70, really? Seems the time to be ending a career. I am certain that Dr. Stork has served Cuesta College well during his years there and it appears he is a “favorite son” and has friends in “high places” at the college. However, sentimentality has no place in this type of decision. No one can predict how long someone will stick around. One candidate (Lewallen) has longevity during his career at colleges. Check out his resume and bio at, pretty impressive. What has Stork done beyond his service at Cuesta College? Good luck finding any info on that on the college web site. Couldn’t find any more info on the other candidate either. Wish Cuesta would post more info about the candidates so you don’t have dig around to try and find it. A paragraph hardly seems enough.

Lastly, bad form whoever wrote this article. There is no reason to dwell on the fact that one candidate has no doctorate. He must have met the requirements that were sought to end up a finalist. The comments smack of elitism.

Gil Stork has proven himself to be dedicated to Cuesta College. He deserves this job and is the only candidate who can be counted on to stick around for more than a short period.

This is a no brainer – GIL STORK for president.

I agree that Stork appears to be a good leader, but it would be nice to have a person that will perform this job for many years. I believe Stork is about 70, and his years of service will be short, assuming he will retire in the near future.