New president offers his vision for Valley College

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

A fresh face has entered the presidency at Valley College and improvements are on the horizon.

By Sarah Best, Staff Writer

Photo by Solomon Smith/The Valley Star

With a warm smile and a colorful bow tie, Valley President Barry Gribbons is taking on the role as the college’s new leader, replacing interim president Denise Nolden. 

Previous President Erika Endrojinas had served Valley for four years before becoming the Superintendent at Pasadena City College, and leaving Denise Nolden as the interim president for the spring semester. 

Gribbons left his seat as deputy chancellor at College of the Canyons (COC) after serving the school for 19 years and took the position at Valley on August 15, according to Valley’s About the President page.

Growing up in Santa Clarita, Gribbons attended Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills and earned his associate’s degree at College of the Canyons in Valencia. He earned his bachelor’s in psychology from CSUN, and his master’s and doctorate in education, both from USC. Having worked at COC for nearly two decades, in several positions including dean and vice president, he attributes his success to his ability to listen carefully. 

“Working hard to surround myself with people who have different viewpoints [other] than my own and carefully listening to their perspectives," said Gribbons, "and by doing that, I’ve developed the most comprehensive understanding of any issue.”

Gribbons was an instructor at USC, focusing on at-risk students while simultaneously teaching a special cohort of Taiwanese educators at Cal State LA. He also worked with a diverse population of students ranging from freshmen to graduates. Not only has he taught at well-respected schools, he was also the senior researcher and project director at UCLA’s Study of Evaluation where he worked to provide assistance to inadequately serviced students by coordinating extensive education reforms. 

Gribbons has been married for 20 years and has 2 kids: 13-year-old Eva and 10-year-old Luke. He prides himself on spending time with his wife and kids. When he is not surfing with his daughter in Ventura on weekends, he enjoys cycling and running as a way of both keeping a clear head and staying in shape. 

 “Anything that allows me to be on the water is wonderful,” said Gribbons, “something about focusing on the ocean and what it's doing is so peaceful.”

He was not looking to leave his post at COC, but when a colleague of his raved about how much she loved working for the Los Angeles Community College District, he thought the position sounded appealing. 

With the staggering cost of tuition and the difficulty of getting into four-year institutions, the president is pleased to be apart of an alternative higher-education option.

“I respect any choice a student makes,” Gribbons said, “whether it is to pursue higher education at either a two-year or four-year institution.” 

The goals he has for Valley are not set in stone but says, “ I want to spend time carefully listening to the entire campus community before collectively forming a plan to move forward.”

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