Mike Muñoz, left, and Nohemy Ornelas are the two finalists to become Long Beach City College's permanent superintendent-president next month.

The search for a new permanent superintendent-president to lead Long Beach City College is now down to two, the school announced Tuesday.

Current interim superintendent-president Mike Muñoz is among the two finalists and is joined by Nohemy Ornelas, who is currently an associate superintendent/vice president of student services at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, according to the college’s announcement.

LBCC’s announcement noted that there was a third candidate forwarded by the school’s search committee to the board of trustees for final interviews, but that person dropped out, according to the college.

Stacey Toda, associate director of communications and community engagement for LBCC, said she could not identify the third candidate due to candidate confidentiality and declined to provide a specific number of candidates who applied for the position during the nationwide search that the college has conducted over the past year.

Toda said it was a “rich pool of applicants.”

Ornelas has served at Hancock College since 2014 and Muñoz has been at LBCC since 2018 and both are now poised to become the permanent leader of one of the largest community colleges in California.

LBCC has been operating with an interim superintendent-president since March 2020 when the college’s board of trustees voted to fire Reagan Romali, who was hired in March 2017 to lead the college after then-supervisor-president Eloy Oakley became chancellor of the California Community Colleges.

Romali’s firing led to a one-year stint from Lou Anne Bynum as an interim before the board parted ways with her over a contract dispute. Bynum was replaced by Muñoz in March 2021 as the board prepared for its search to find a permanent solution.

The board of trustees is expected to conduct final interviews for the candidates the week of Dec. 6 and could appoint the new permanent superintendent-president by Dec. 15, according to the college. The new superintendent-president will assume office at the start of 2022.

This week the school is asking for the community to submit questions it has for the two finalists through email in advance of a virtual public forum that is planned for Dec. 1 at 9 a.m. The deadline to submit questions is 11 a.m. Monday Nov. 29.

Feedback from the virtual forum will be forwarded to the board of trustees to consider when it makes its decision on which of the final candidates will lead the college starting in 2022.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.