The nationwide search for Austin Community College District’s (ACC) next chancellor has been narrowed down to three finalists. 

The finalists — selected by the Board of Trustees  — are Dr. Robert Garza, Palo Alto College (San Antonio, Texas); Dr. Joyce Ester, Normandale Community College (Bloomington, Minnesota); and Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, Amarillo College (Amarillo, Texas).

As part of the next steps in the Chancellor Search process, each finalist has been invited to visit ACC. They will participate individually in a series of community forums at three ACC campuses — Round Rock, Highland, and South Austin. The forums begin Tuesday, June 27, and end Thursday, June 29. All forums will be held in-person. The schedule is below. More details, including times and locations, are posted HERE.

Tuesday, June 27 | Meet Dr. Robert Garza
Wednesday, June 28 | Meet Dr. Joyce Ester
Thursday, June 29 | Meet Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart

Read more about our three finalists below. 

Dr. Robert Garza

Dr. Robert Garza has served as the president of Alamo Colleges District – Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, since 2018. He initially joined the Alamo Colleges District in 1999 and held several positions during his tenure at Palo Alto College, including dean of community development and partnerships, dean of student success, and vice president of student success.

Dr. Garza holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation focused on Faculty Perspectives in Online Learning, which included a study that utilized Interactive Qualitative Analysis to identify challenges in online education and capture faculty perceptions about online learning.

Read more about Dr. Garza on the Alamo Colleges District-Palo Alto College Office of the President page.

Dr. Garza on LinkedIn

Dr. Joyce Ester

Dr. Joyce Ester was appointed as the president of Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, in 2014. She previously served as the president of City Colleges of Chicago: Kennedy-King College, associate vice president for student services at Bakersfield College, assistant vice president for judicial affairs and division planning at California State University – Fresno, assistant dean of students/judicial affairs at the University of California – Santa Barbara, and an American sign language adjunct professor at Santa Barbara City College.

Dr. Ester received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb and both a master’s degree and doctorate in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Read more about Dr. Ester on the Minnesota State Presidents page under Normandale Community College.

Dr. Ester on LinkedIn

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart has served as president of Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas, since 2014. Dr. Lowery-Hart previously served as vice president of academic affairs for Amarillo College.

Dr. Lowery-Hart received a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and rhetoric from West Texas State University, a master’s degree in communication studies from Texas Tech University, and a doctorate in interpersonal communication (with an emphasis on gender and diversity) from Ohio University.

Read more about Dr. Lowery-Hart on the Amarillo College President’s page.

Dr. Lowery-Hart on LinkedIn

To follow the schedule, visit For more information about the college’s search process, visit