Dr. Ernest “Ernie” Lara, who has served as president of Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) for nearly 12 years, announced his retirement in February. Dr. Lara was appointed president on July 1, 2007, and will retire with over 37 years of exceptional leadership in higher education while providing devoted service and tireless commitment to EMCC students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Lara prides himself on being a product of the very community college district in which he ends his successful career. He received an associate degree from Glendale Community College. Dr. Lara received all of his additional degrees from Arizona State University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, a Master of Guidance and Counseling, a Master of Counseling, and a Ph.D. from the Higher and Adult Education Program with an emphasis in Student Development.
Dr. Lara's extensive career reflects a strong commitment to student development and the community college mission. His post-secondary experience includes working at Arizona State University and three of the Maricopa Community Colleges as a faculty member, student services program director, division chair, and dean of student services.
Dr. Lara is a committed and beloved community member and serves on several local boards, including West Valley Hospital Board of Directors, West Valley Think Tank, and Valle del Sol. Other community service includes the Hispanic Leadership Forum del Oeste Advisory Board, Estrella Rotary, Leadership West, and Luke Air Force - Honorary Commanders Program.
Dr. Lara will remain in his current role until a successful candidate is identified and a start date confirmed. Gold Hill Associates (GHA), an independent search firm with comprehensive expertise in the recruitment of community college presidents, has been retained to conduct this national search effort. GHA hosted three internal discovery forums to assist in developing a profile which has been leveraged during the search process. Public forums for final candidates for the president position were hosted by Maricopa Community Colleges at EMCC on Monday, May 6, 2019. To learn more about EMCC’s president search, visit: https://www.maricopa.edu/about/careers/emcc-president