Former Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia didn't stay out of Colorado politics long. He is the sole finalist to become the next president of the Colorado Community College System.
The system said April 11 that Garcia, who's served as the president of Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs and Colorado State University-Pueblo, was picked after "a rigorous nationwide search process that began last fall."
Under state law, there is a two-week waiting period before finalists for certain state positions can be hired.
Garcia would replace Nancy J. McCallin, who has led the Community College System for 14 years. Before that, she served on Gov. Bill Owens' Cabinet as budget director.
McCallin will stay on to work with Garcia on the transition, the Community College System said. She earns $406,509 a year.
Garcia announced in November 2015 he would step down as Gov. John Hickenlooper's second-in-command to become president of the Boulder-based Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education to guide and support colleges and universities in 16 states.
His resignation as lieutenant governor led to the appointment of then-Kasier Permanente executive Donna Lynne, who took office in May 2016. She has been running for governor.
Garcia is expected to get the job offer this month and start in July, according to the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, which oversees the system that educates about 137,000 students each year at 13 colleges at 39 campuses and other locations.
"Garcia brings demonstrated leadership and commitment to advancing higher education initiatives and access through various roles in both the public sector and in higher education," the Community College System said in a statement. "His background and experience align perfectly with the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education's mission of providing accessible and affordable education and training opportunities to all who aspire to enrich their lives."
While serving as lieutenant governor for five years, Garcia held the dual role of executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
Garcia also served as former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer's executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. He held that job until 1999 when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be the U.S. Department of Housing and Development's regional director for the Rocky Mountain states.
He also was a partner in the Denver law firm Holme Roberts and Owen, which merged with St. Louis-based firm Bryan Cave in 2011. Garcia specialized in public education law.