Butte’s Acebo also on the go

PACKING IT IN Butte College President Sandy Acebo has announced that she will retire next June.

PACKING IT IN Butte College President Sandy Acebo has announced that she will retire next June.

At age 58, with 32 years of work in community colleges behind her, Butte College President Sandy Acebo is now finding intrigue in her 2-year-old grandson, Max, and, perhaps, “learning to play the piano well enough so that I can play in a band.”

Figuring why wait until she’s 60, Acebo has decided she will retire at the end of this school year, June 2003. “You only have one life. You need to pack as much in it as possible.”

She told faculty and staff members of her decision at an Aug. 21 campus event. She expects a committee will be formed, a search firm hired and a new superintendent/president selected by February or March 2003.

Acebo was hired in 1998, replacing retiring President Betty Dean. She is known as a leader who is out in the community a lot and enjoys it. She’s been spotted at Chico Heat games, getting ice cream at Shubert’s and otherwise being a normal Chico resident.

“The more open you are, the less manipulative, the clearer and more consistent you are in whatever conversation you may find yourself, the better,” she assessed.

It is Acebo who is largely credited with rallying the community to support Measure A, the $85 million bond that passed last November. People “set what many thought was an impossible goal and accomplished it.”

She has always been an advocate for two-year community colleges, valuing their accessibility and the diversity of the student body.

Acebo said she hopes to teach a bit at Butte, probably English composition. She’s already agreed to be part of the League of Innovation in the Community Colleges’ team teaching “presidential wannabes” nationwide what it’s like to do the job. She has also applied to participate in the League of Women Voters.

She’d also like to master her telescope, join or start a book club—"kind of a literary Ya-Ya Sisterhood"—and “finally determine whether I am really too uncoordinated to play golf.”

Before coming to Butte College, Acebo was vice president of instruction at DeAnza College in Cupertino.

Acebo said she won’t be heading back to the Bay Area. "We had never planned to just light temporarily," said Acebo, who, like her husband, Frank, retired from parks and recreation work, enjoys the outdoors. "The first thing we noticed when we moved here is the clerks in the grocery store smile at you."