Diné College president finalists selected

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON — The search for a new Diné College president has taken another step forward after the three finalists were announced by the College Board of Regents in a press release.


A seven-member Presidential Search Committee comprised of board members, students, and staff, faculty and community members has been reviewing applications for the position.

The three candidates are LeManuel Bitsóí, Henry Fowler and Monty Roessel, according to the press release.

Board President Greg Bigman said the committee has done a lot of work, including vetting the candidates before submitting the nominations for finalists to the board.

The search for a new college president comes after former college President Maggie George was placed on administrative leave and suspended by the board during an Oct. 9, 2015, meeting.

The Daily Times reported George was placed on administrative leave due to a series of disagreements about her management style, according to Moroni Benally, the college’s vice president of governmental affairs and public affairs.

George told the Daily Times she was not provided with an explanation for being placed on leave and that several employees circulated a petition seeking disciplinary action by the board. She resigned from the position in early January to pursue other professional opportunities.

Martín Ahumada, the college’s vice president of academic affairs, was appointed acting president during the Oct. 9, 2015, meeting and was selected as interim president during a Jan. 15 meeting.

The press release includes biographical information on the three candidates.

Bitsóí is the director of student diversity and multicultural affairs at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He also teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Nursing and College of Health Science.

Bitsóí graduated from Harvard University with a master's degree in education and holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in higher education management.

Fowler is currently the Diné College interim provost. He graduated from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif., with a doctorate in education leadership and change.

Roessel is the former director of the Bureau of Indian Education. He graduated from Prescott College in Prescott, Ariz., with a master's degree in journalism and from Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., with a doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

A series of public forums will be hosted with the candidates at the Diné College campuses. The schedule had not been not finalized as of this morning, according to a Diné College spokeswoman. Information regarding the forums will be posted on the college’s website at

No timetable has been set to select a candidate for the president position, Bigman said.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.