Lizette Navarette, EdD
Dr. Lizette Navarette is a passionate student-centered leader with nearly two decades of experience in higher education and local government. Navarette is responsible for guiding policy and implementation in alignment with the commitments and goals in the Vision for Success and Gov. Newsom’s Roadmap for the Future, which sets multi-year goals and resources, to drive equitable improvements in credential attainment and transfer outcomes across all state higher education segments.
Navarette joined the Chancellor’s Office in 2020. As Executive Vice Chancellor, she leads the Office of Institutional Supports and Success. The office is comprised of College Finance and Facilities Planning, Institutional Effectiveness and Government Relations divisions, which are responsible for formulating policies that determine the distribution of local assistance and capital outlay funds for the state’s 73 community college districts, professional development which advances student success, and state and federal matters for the system. From October 2022 to June 2023, Dr. Navarette served as interim deputy chancellor. She also served as the vice chancellor of College Finance and Facilities Planning and was the first woman to hold that position.
Navarette has been instrumental in supporting the California Community Colleges response to the pandemic and has led the strategic implementation of critical statewide policies on student success, college affordability, equity and district fiscal health. These policies include launching essential tools and resources for student centered funding implementation, building a coalition of legislative and college leaders to establish an affordable student housing program and unit for California Community Colleges; and working to secure historic investments in district and agency capacity to implement the Vision for Success. She continues to lead modernization of funding regulations to better enable districts to meet student needs. Navarette’s research interests focus on post-traditional learners, particularly strategies to support the success of adult and working learners.
Before joining the Chancellor’s Office, Navarette served as vice president of the Community College League of California, where she oversaw budget and policy advocacy for California's community college districts. She also served as the associate director of regional relations for the University of California, Riverside, and as the Youth & Education Coordinator for the City of Riverside, where she oversaw several youth programs, education policy and partnerships.
Navarette earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from UC Riverside, where she also served as student body president. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of La Verne and a doctorate in education from UC Davis. Navarette is a proud first-generation graduate.
Vice Chancellor for Government Relations
As Vice Chancellor of Government Relations, David O’Brien oversees a division responsible for formulating and advancing the legislative agenda of the California Community Colleges and represents the Chancellor's Office before the Legislature and executive branch of the state and federal governments.
Prior to joining the Chancellor's Office in April 2020, O’Brien was the director of government affairs for the California Student Aid Commission since October 2016, a role that placed him as the commission’s primary liaison to the state Legislature, the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Finance and other agencies on matters related to financial aid and college affordability. That made him a critical figure in the commission’s efforts to reform and expand California’s financial aid programs. Prior to joining the Student Aid Commission, O’Brien worked for nearly five years as a legislative manager for the California Department of State Hospitals, a legislative analyst for the state Department of Mental Health and as a legislative assistant for the California Environmental Protection Agency. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from California State University, Sacramento.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for State and Federal Relations
Linda has fifteen years of experience working in higher education and advocacy, which includes working for Rio Hondo College, California State University, Fullerton and ACT, Inc. She credits her passion for community college advocacy after starting her professional career at Rio Hondo College, where she served as a Student Services Representative and helped students navigate the complex assessment, enrollment, and financial aid process. This pivotal role influenced her decision to pursue a graduate degree in education policy and a career to dismantle structural barriers to student success.
Prior to joining the Chancellor’s Office, Linda served as Senior Public Affairs Director for the Campaign for College Opportunity, a non-profit advocacy organization focused on increasing the number of college graduates through research, policy advocacy and reform. In her nearly five years at the Campaign, Linda has led cross-sector coalitions and efforts for the successful passage and implementation of community college student success policies, including the Associate Degree for Transfer, Student-Centered Funding Formula, AB 705 (Irwin) and AB 1895 (Calderon). She has testified in front of higher education governing bodies, led meetings with legislative champions, and spearheaded statewide advocacy campaigns in support of student success reforms, making her a strong addition to the Government Relations team.
She completed the California Education Policy Fellowship program and the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Leadership Institute and in 2020, was named one of Orange County LULAC’s Women of the Year.
Linda is a Mexican immigrant from Aguascalientes, Mexico and is one of six children. She holds a Political Science B.A. from California State University, Fullerton, with minors in Spanish & Chicano/a Studies and an M.A. in Leadership, Policy, and Politics from Teachers College, Columbia University.