Staff Report

Hancock College has appointed has filled six key management positions to replace three retirees and other administrators who were promoted or accepted higher-level positions at other colleges.

Jon Hooten, Ph.D., was named executive director of college advancement. He joins Hancock after serving as director of strategic engagement and communications at Dunn School in Los Olivos. Prior to joining Dunn School, Hooten was self-employed as an organizational and brand consultant and worked as vice president for education and associate vice president for institutional relations at Claremont Lincoln University.

Eric D. Smith will join Hancock as the new associate superintendent/vice president for finance and administration. He has been an intervention specialist with the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) firm and was deputy superintendent and chief business officer at Santa Barbara Unified School District, Berkeley Unified School District and the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education.

Ruben Ramirez is the new director of human resources. He joins the college from San Diego State University Foundation, where he served as associate director and human resources manager of talent and systems.

Prior to his tenure at San Diego, he served as the human resources technology manager at Desert Community College District in Palm Desert.

Lauren Milbourne will be the new director of public affairs and communications. She is currently media relations coordinator/public information officer at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Prior to joining Cuesta, she worked for the West Valley Mission College District in Saratoga. She began her career as a news producer at KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo.

Holly Nolan-Chavez is the director and deputy sector navigator for agriculture, water and environmental technology. She has served as the interim director since October 2016 and has been employed at Hancock since 2005.

Jim Harvey is interim director of facilities, replacing Rex Van Den Berg, who retired Sept. 30. Harvey has been employed at Hancock since 1999, most recently serving as maintenance supervisor. He is a graduate of Hancock, with an associate in science degree in maintenance machining.

Nolan-Chavez and Harvey began their assignments in October and Smith, Ramirez, Hooten and Milbourne will begin in November, joining newly appointed Hancock Police Chief Cathy Farley as part of the management team. Farley was appointed in September.

“It’s an exciting time on our campus,” said Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers.

“We want to acknowledge the important promotions of key staff, as well as welcome Ruben, Eric, Lauren, Jon and Cathy to the Hancock team. I look forward to working closely with them as we shape the future of the college and continue our strong initiatives for student success.”