Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh announced Wednesday that he will be leaving his post effective January 2021.
Abu-Ghazaleh joined the El Cajon-based community college in 2015, coming from West Los Angeles College.
In a letter to colleagues shared Wednesday, Abu-Ghazaleh said he submitted his letter of resignation to Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Chancellor Lynn Neault on Monday resigning as of Jan. 4, and noting that he would continue to serve through the fall semester.
“I am leaving my post after 31 years of service in the California Community Colleges to spend more quality time with my wife,” he wrote. “As we have spent more time together working from home in the past six months, we have revisited forgotten plans. Long before I left the classroom in 1999 to become an administrator, we envisioned living simply and retiring early to travel and pursue a more active lifestyle.”
His wife, Rita Gonzales, is an associate professor in the performing/communication arts at Pasadena City College.
Abu-Ghazaleh will leave the college much changed from his start there 5 1/2 years ago. During his time as president, Grossmont College has been recognized twice as eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges, that placed it among the top 150 community colleges nationwide.
In his resignation letter, Abu-Ghazaleh acknowledged external support and partnerships with faculty members, classified staff and administrators “daring to buck tradition” during his five years at Grossmont. He said he had a few conversations with close colleagues before taking his announcement public.
He said it has been fulfilling to watch as community colleges have become “a fully acknowledged branch of higher education in California.”
Neault said the district will announce plans in the coming weeks for an interim president and the presidential search process.