San Diego Community College District names Carlos O Cortez as chancellor

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The president of the San Diego College of Continuing Education was Tuesday named the chancellor of the San Diego Community College District.

The San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees announced that Carlos O. Cortez was chosen following a national search to replace Constance M. Carroll, the longest-serving chancellor in the district’s history, who is retiring after 17 years of service.

“I love this district and I am honored to be appointed as chancellor,” Cortez said. “Chancellor Carroll has established the SDCCD as national leader in student equity and outcomes. I am committed to working with our student leaders, faculty, classified professionals and administrators to move the district to the next level of success.”

As chancellor, he will oversee San Diego City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, as well as the San Diego College of Continuing Education.

Cortez has taught for the past 23 years, served as an administrator for 16 years and as CEO for 11 years. He’s been the San Diego College of Continuing Education president since 2015 and is an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, New York University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Cortez also previously worked as acting vice president of instruction at Berkeley City College, and as director of Education Extension at UCLA. He began his education career as a Teach for America Corps member.

His research interests center on the role of educators and administrators of color in the historical development of American social welfare and education policy, according to an SDCCD statement.

He is scheduled to begin his tenure as chancellor on July 1, pending final approval of his employment contract at a future Board of Trustees meeting.

“In conducting its search, the Board of Trustees prioritized selecting an individual with the skills and experience to lead the district’s strategic planning and action to meet the current and future challenges confronting its students and communities,” said SDCCD board President Maria Nieto Senour.

“These challenges include safely reopening the district’s campuses and engaging students to increase enrollment as we move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, which has deeply affected each of the district’s students and employees,” she said. “The Board of Trustees has confidence that Dr. Cortez will be able to assist the district in emerging from this crisis even stronger than before. He is exactly the type of leader that is needed at this moment in the district’s history.”

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