Over the last five years, the California Community Colleges has led significant work to close equity gaps, reduce the cost of attendance and improve transfer and time-to-go degree for students. This success was not achieved alone. In fact, success requires everyone within the system to work together. The Vision for Success encourages system leaders to head statewide partnerships across systems, institutions that impact the lives of our students and across our very own system. Without a doubt, this pandemic has disproportionately impacted California community college students. In order to recover from this pandemic with equity, the Chancellor’s Student Engagement, Enrollment and Success CEO Roundtable will work together to identify regional enrollment trends and opportunities, identify promising best practices and partner to deploy regional supports.
As the CEO Roundtable works together to meet these goals, understanding how regional models to re-engage and support the success of our students are being integrated into the fabric of institutions, and what barriers exist for adopting student-centered innovation statewide, will be critical to the future of California.
Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD
Daisy Gonzales, PhD, is the deputy chancellor of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of public higher education in the United States. Her primary duties involve implementing the Vision for Success, a bold systemwide plan that seeks to reduce time to completion, increase degree and credential attainment, boost transfer to the University of California and California State University campuses, and provide Californians with the necessary job skills to find good-paying careers.
Dr. Gonzales is a proud graduate of Los Angeles Valley College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Mills College; and a master's degree and PhD in sociology from UC Santa Barbara.
Superintendent/President Pedro Avila, DM
Pedro Avila, DM, is president of the Gavilan Joint Community College District. He has worked in the community college system for 20 years and has led several successful initiatives to increase college-going rates for underrepresented student populations. Dr. Avila’s work is grounded in his experiences as an immigrant, English-language learner, and ﬁrst-generation college student.
Dr. Avila earned degrees in Latino studies and business from Fresno State University; a master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University; and a doctoral degree in community college policy from the University of Maryland. He also earned a certiﬁcate in institutional performance assessment from Harvard’s Higher Education Institute.
Chancellor Sonya Christian, PhD
Sonya Christian, PhD, is chancellor of of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of public higher education in the United States. In her prior role as chancellor of the Kern Community College District, she leading Kern CCD to prepare the workforce of tomorrow for careers in emerging energy and climate technologies, with an insistent focus on equity by building community resilience and empowerment. Under her leadership the California Resources Corp. pledged $2M to the Kern CCD to establish the CRC Carbon Management Institute, and the state funded $50M to establish a clean energy center of excellence at Kern CCD.
Dr. Christian earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Kerala in Kerala, India; a master’s degree in applied mathematics from University of Southern California; and a doctoral degree from University of California, Los Angeles.
President/CEO Keith Curry, EdD
Keith Curry, EdD, is the president of the Compton College and CEO of the Compton Community College District. He is responsible for overseeing all departments and functions of Compton College and the District and serves as secretary for the CCCD Board of Trustees. He brings an abundance of energy and innovative ideas to Compton College, along with a wealth of experience as a postsecondary education administrator
Dr. Curry earned his doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of California, Irvine, and a bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Curry is an adjunct faculty member for the College of Educational at California State University, Fullerton.
Superintendent/President Jose Fierro, PhD
Jose Fierro, DVM, PhD, is the president/superintendent of Cerritos College. His commitment to increasing educational access, success, and completion is reflected in the innovative ways that Cerritos College connects with the community and students. He initiated efforts to develop the Cerritos Complete Promise program, which provides easy access to college for high school seniors. The program increases the velocity of completion through wraparound student services and a merit-based scholarship component.
Dr. Fierro earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Applied Sciences in Bogotá, Colombia; a master’s degree in leadership and management of educational programs from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; and a doctoral degree in higher education leadership from Northcentral University in Prescott, Arizona.
Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo, EdD
Kindred Murillo, EdD, is currently the interim superintendent/president of Santa Barbara City College, after serving more than 24 years in the California Community College system. Beginning as an adjunct faculty member, she moved into a full-time faculty, and later she served 11 years as a chief business officer for three districts (Contra Costa, Pasadena Area, Copper Mountain) and 13 years as superintendent/president for two districts (Lake Tahoe, Southwestern).
Dr. Murillo is a proud graduate of Barstow Community College where she earned an associate degree in liberal arts. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Redlands, a master's degree in organizational development and a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University.
Chancellor Lynn Neault, EdD
Lynn Ceresino Neault, EdD, is the chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. She has extensive experience and knowledge in community college administration and is well-versed in statewide issues affecting community colleges. Dr. Neault previously worked for 25 years as vice chancellor of Student Services at the San Diego Community College District.
Dr. Neault earned a bachelor’s degree in political science; a master's degree in public administration; and a doctoral degree in education, all from San Diego State University.
Chancellor Diana Rodriguez
Diana Z. Rodriguez is the chancellor of the San Bernardino Community College District. The system includes two colleges, a workforce training facility and KVCR public radio and television station. As the chief executive officer, Chancellor Rodriguez leads the district’s educational enterprise that generates economic growth for the Inland Empire by adding more than $621 million annually to the regional economy.
Chancellor Rodriguez is a proud graduate of Palo Verde College; she earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, a master’s degree in business administration, and another master’s degree in education from California State University, San Bernardino; and is a doctoral candidate in Higher Educational Leadership at Northcentral University.
Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers, PhD
Kevin Glen Walthers, PhD, is the superintendent/president of Allan Hancock College. The college features a multitude of programs for students including a Veteran Success Center, a STEM Academic Success Center, a DREAM Center and an innovative promise program. The Hancock Promise is a private/public initiative program designed to build a college going culture within the community by offering programs to K-12 students leading to a “first year free at AHC.”
Dr. Walthers, a first-generation college student, attended Eastfield Community College in Mesquite, Texas; earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin; a master’s degree in educational administration from East Texas State University (Commerce), and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy from the University of Utah.
Superintendent/President Joe Wyse, EdD
Joe Wyse, EdD, is the superintendent/president of the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District. Under his leadership, Shasta College has landing more than $60 million in awards and grants, including $10.5 million in grants to serve as the backbone organization for North State Together, a community collective impact organization working to advance the cradle-to-career success of the citizens of a five-county region in far Northern California.
Dr. Wyse earned a bachelor's degree from Kenyon College; a master's degree from Trinity International University; and a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University.
President & CEO of the League, Dr. Larry Galizio, PhD
Larry Galizio, PhD, is the president & CEO of the Community College League of California. Prior to becoming League CEO, Dr. Galizio served 5 years as president of Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon. Before that, Dr. Galizio was the Director for Strategic Planning in the Chancellor’s Office for the Oregon University System, as well as director of Speech & Debate and Full-Time faculty member at Portland Community College for 16 years. Dr. Galizio is co-author of the textbook: Elements of Parliamentary Debate: A Guide to Public Argument, and of the first comprehensive and contemporary history of California Community Colleges: A College for All Californians: A History of the California Community Colleges.
Dr. Galizio earned his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley; a master’s degree from San Francisco State; and a doctoral degree from the School of Urban & Public Affairs at Portland State University.
Chancellor's Office Staff
Lizette Navarette, EdD, Executive Vice Chancellor of the Institutional Supports and Success Office
Lizette Navarette, EdD, is the executive vice chancellor of the Institutional Supports and Success Office which oversees the College Finance and Facilities Planning Division, Governmental Relations Division and the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI). This new office – through advocacy, professional development, external engagement, and resource allocation – will lead the charge in ensuring colleges and college districts eliminate achievement gaps and enable students from all backgrounds to reach their goals.
Dr. Navarette earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from UC Riverside; a master’s degree in public administration from the University of La Verne; and a doctoral degree in education from UC Davis.
Paul Feist, Vice Chancellor for Communications
Paul Feist is the vice chancellor for communications for the Chancellor’s Office. He oversees marketing, media relations, website design and content, as well as reports and publications. In this role, he develops communications strategies that keep the public, policymakers, community colleges and Chancellor’s Office employees informed of community college news and accomplishments.
Feist earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism.