Bakersfield College has narrowed its list of applicants for the position of president to four finalists and is inviting the campus and the public to open forums at which the candidates will answer questions.

George Railey Jr. and Kevin Trutna will appear on Wednesday and Pedro Martinez and Sonya Christian will appear Thursday.

The forums are free and open to the public.

"There will be a few prescribed questions to even the playing field, and the audience can ask questions after that," said spokeswoman Amber Chiang.

Whomever is hired will replace Greg Chamberlain, who earlier this year announced he was leaving the post of president to return to teaching.

The candidates come from a diverse range of backgrounds.

* Railey has for the last three years served as vice president of academic services at Chabot College in Hayward, Calif. He's held several administrative posts over the years at schools in Modesto, Sonora, Sacramento and Somerset, Ky. Railey also taught music in a Kentucky school district. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., and an Ed.D. from University of the Pacific in Stockton.

* Trutna has been at Yuba College in Yuba, Calif., in various positions for 10 years, and currently is vice president for academic and student services. He's also held various administrative posts at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz. Trutna has a bachelor of science in mathematics from Loyola University in Chicago, and both a master of science in mathematics and an Ed.D. in adult and higher education from Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont.

* Martinez has for the past three years been a tenured professor in the School of Education and Human Performance, Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling and Professional Studies at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, N.C. He has served in various administrative roles there since 2007, and prior to that held similar posts at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., and Chicago State University. Martinez has taught high school and college courses at various schools in the Chicago area, including GED, ESL classes for Spanish speakers. He earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education and a master in education from University of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn., and a Ph.D. in social foundations from Loyola University in Chicago.

* Christian is executive vice president and chief academic officer at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore. She's held various posts at Lane for 10 years, and before that spent 12 years at Bakersfield College in various teaching and administrative roles. Christian has also taught at colleges in Sacramento and Glendora. She earned a bachelor of science degree from University of Kerala in Kerala, India; a master of science in applied mathematics from University of Southern California; and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from UCLA.

BC's goal is to have the new president in place by Dec. 1, and could extend an offer some time in October or November, Chiang said.