Mark Mitsui, former president of North Seattle College, is one of three finalists to become chancellor of the Seattle community-college system.

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A former president of North Seattle College is one of three finalists for the job of chancellor of Seattle Colleges, the city’s four-campus community-college system.

The finalists are Mark Mitsui, who was president of North Seattle College until August 2013, when he became deputy assistant secretary for community colleges in the U.S. Department of Education; Shouan Pan, president of Mesa Community College in Arizona; and Gale Gibson Gayle, president of Essex County College in Newark, N.J.

All three candidates will participate in open forums on the Seattle college campuses in the coming weeks, and the five-member board of trustees may also make visits to the candidates’ campuses. The trustees will select the chancellor from the finalists in April.

Mitsui began his career at Renton Technical College, where he won an outstanding- faculty award in 1994, and later led the student-services division at South Seattle College. During his tenure at North Seattle, the school was one of 12 selected to participate in a national program on successful institutions. Also during his tenure, the college began offering a baccalaureate of applied science degree, established an evening-degree program and increased international student enrollment.

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Gibson Gayle has been president of Essex County College since 2013, and also served as its interim president. During her tenure, the college has been awarded $24 million in state and federal grants to fund initiatives to increase student retention and graduation, expand the campus and offer new certificate and degree programs. She previously served as senior vice president for academic affairs, and chief academic officer. She has been at the Newark college since 2011.

Pan, who has been president of Mesa Community College since March 2008, has also worked at colleges in Florida and Philadelphia, and has 25 years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education.

Jill Wakefield, who has been chancellor of Seattle’s community-college system, announced in August that she would retire this June. She has been chancellor since 2009, and when she retires, she will have been the longest-serving chancellor in the district’s history.

Seattle Colleges includes four campuses: North, Central and South Seattle colleges, and the Seattle Vocational Institute.