​Chancellor Finalists

Letter from the Board of Trustees

Date: November 2, 2015
To: San José-Evergreen Community College District
From: Ms. Wendy Ho, Chair, Board of Trustees
Subject: Announcement of Chancellor Finalists

The San José-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees is pleased to announce we have selected three Chancellor finalists. We recruited an exceptionally rich pool of candidates from throughout the state, region and nation. Your contribution to the many accomplishments at the SJECCD was instrumental in attracting such high quality candidates.  (Click here for more details)


Dr. Deborah Budd
Click here for Bio

​Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery
Click here for Bio 

Dr. Luis G. Pedraja
Click here for Bio

The District - Opportunity, Equity, Social Justice

Committed to Opportunity, Equity and Social Justice for all and through the hard work of our faculty, staff and students​, the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) ​enjoys a solid, positive reputation as a leading education provider, economic developer, workforce trainer, and business partner. While we are proud of ​our reputation, what is most important to us is our​ commitment to our students' success. Our Mission, Vision and Student Success Policy specifically outline​ our commitment and belief in the education of the whole student​, both inside and outside of the classroom.​

Headquartered in vibrant downtown San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley, SJECCD encompasses more than 300 square miles, including a large portion of the city of San Jose and all of the city of Milpitas. The District is comprised of two colleges: Evergreen Valley College, established in 1975; San Jose City College, the oldest community college in Santa Clara County, established in 1921; and the Workforce Institute, established in 1988 to provide non-credit skills-based training.

With rapidly changing workforce demands, SJECCD has a responsibility to prepare the students we serve to be successful in the region's high wage, high growth jobs. This means being a partner in each student’s success. As SJECCD’s leader, it is incumbent upon the Chancellor to work closely with our local industry, not only providing short term skills upgrades for the region's incumbent workers, but also developing a pipeline that ensures a sustainable workforce for the future. The Chancellor should be prepared to ask questions related to how we structure partnerships and curriculum to help lead the county in creating programs to build and strengthen our middle class.  We expect our leader to support and continue the good work that has been done, yet have a vision that will further our impact in the region. 

Who We Are
As a District of educators, we believe educating the whole student to be the true definition of success. Student Success is everyone's responsibility which includes classified staff, faculty and administrators. To help our students excel in all areas of their lives, we encourage holistic self-discovery and through this process, our students learn to collaborate, participate in responsible decision-making, and evaluate their options through an ethical lens. We believe they must have the education and skills required to help them become better individuals, workers and/or citizens. We infuse this belief – aligned with our vision - into all that we do so that when our students leave us, they are not only productive members of society, they are also champions for opportunity, equity and social justice.

Our Students
Many of our students are non-traditional students who come to us from all walks of life.  Some are the first in their families to attend college, are single parents struggling to balance work, parenting and education, are from outside our state or country seeking better futures for themselves and their families, or are 4.0 high school graduates.  Regardless of their circumstances, they have chosen our colleges to help them on their educational journey. We take this responsibility seriously.
Many of our students come from the San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) and East Side Union High School District (ESUHD).  At SJUSD 45% of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunch and 25% are English Language Learners. In 2014, more than 2,000 SJUSD high school seniors graduated, of which 46% were eligible for a UC/CSU academic career (sjusd.org).  At ESUHD 50.4% of the student qualify for free or reduced price meals and 21.4% are English Language Learners.  In 2014, more than 5,000 ESUHD high school seniors graduated; 42.2% of 2014 graduates were eligible for UC/CSU.

43.9% of our students receive some form of financial aid totaling $37,073,705.
(for larger view click image)

Our Community
As the oldest community college district in the heart of Silicon Valley, we watch innovation and growth explode around us every day.  It's exciting and it reinforces the fact that our curriculum and classroom rigor must always keep pace with industry.  Yet, while surrounded by high-tech companies and the perceived wealth they bring to our area, we focus our mission on those who must face each day with strength and tenacity in order to survive the challenges connected to poverty and the realities of life for the socio-economically challenged.  In fact, almost 50% of our student body receives some type of financial aid. 

Equity, in terms of educational achievement, is critical in our district.  So – in addition to providing educational opportunities to the under-represented and socioeconomically challenged, we also provide lifelong learning opportunities that ensure the urban middle class stay competitive in this innovation society.

The new Chancellor must be able to look beyond the region's vibrancy and see what lies beneath, to understand neighborhoods like Little Saigon, Seven Trees and Sherman Oaks. They must demonstrate sensitivity to the multitude of cultures in our region and ensure educational opportunities are available to the region's underemployed or unemployed. 

In a recent survey of Silicon Valley residents, making ends meet remains a challenge for many people. Over the past decade, research has shown that about 1 in 4 local households struggle to make ends meet. Relatively flat wages and rising costs of living, could actually reduce the statistics to 1 in 3 households. (Source: Working Partnerships USA). The survey went on to reveal that 1 in 10 residents went without one or more basic needs in the prior year. One in 3 residents reported difficulty with the cost of housing.

Our responsibility to our community is more important than ever. We must prepare our students for success- whether it is to transfer to a university, increased employability options in the workplace, or other areas that foster lifelong learning. 

Relationships with Constituency Groups
Our district has developed over time a robust, intricate and well-practiced approach to governance to secure participation in the decision-making processes.

The foundation is set by the Board of Trustees through its recognition of our constituency groups by approving BP 2510.5 and BP 2510.5 to include academic senate, student body government, faculty union (AFT 6157), classified union (CSEA) and Managers, Supervisor and Confidential Committee (MSCC).

The distinguishing features of the relationship among the Board, district/college leadership and the constituency groups are defined as inclusion, openness, collaboration, transparency, frankness and deep commitment to the institution.

This complex relationship is challenging yet fortifies and distinguishes the nature of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District in a singular way.

Our Commitment
While our stewardship obligation is to our taxpayers, we also have a strong commitment to the communities we serve.  The new Chancellor will serve as the district's leading educator, economic developer and workforce trainer.  (S)he will be an active partner in the region’s innovation, growth and development.  Our mission challenges us every day to be the leading educational institution in the South Bay Area and to not only meet the diverse educational and workforce needs of our community in a cultural competent manner, but to also to empower our students to become agents of socioeconomic change.  Our next Chancellor will partner with some of the best and brightest minds in business and industry as we work together to keep Silicon Valley moving forward. 

Innovative Governance
Our Board of Trustees recently adopted a new, innovative governance model that provides clarity for their work and differentiation between the role and function of the Board and that of the Chancellor. The Board of Trustees holds firm on three matters:

  1. They are responsible for the stewardship of resources and responsiveness to their constituents.
  2. They are committed to speaking with one voice.
  3. The Chancellor and staff are entirely responsible for putting in place the strategies that will achieve the Board's goals.

Our Board intends to maintain this governance model under new district leadership, providing accountability at all levels of governance. 

The Way Forward
The San Jose-Evergreen Community College District has made significant progress, led by our current Chancellor, our faculty, staff, students, and Board of Trustees.

The next Chancellor will be the person who recognizes the accomplishments of our District team, and who is strong enough in character and experience to take the work completed thus far and build upon it, charting a future that leads us to continued greatness.

The new Chancellor will not need to recreate what has already been done or change direction in order to feed a need for recognition. The next Chancellor will celebrate our history, our hard work, our region's many cultures, and join us in optimizing our impact to the community and our commitment to students.

Our region depends on the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District to provide high quality education to our community. When our students succeed, we all succeed.

Our new leader will be expected to forge a path for current and future plans that, combined with visionary leadership, transcend the norms of community college education and service. Our new Chancellor will accomplish this by becoming an integral member of our community, both personally and professionally.​

​​​​​​Chancellor Profile
The San Jose-Evergreen Community College District recognizes the significant scholarship of national community college leaders and organizations who study and develop models for excellence in leadership.  The Board embraces the findings by recognizing the Chancellor for SJECCD needs an individual who can move the institutional metrics on student success:

- By being persistent through long-term planning that ensures access and success.

- By being a strong communicator with a clear and articulate voice to advocate for the changes necessary internally and externally to accelerate improvement in student learning and achievement outcomes.

- By being confident and courageous to take informed risks to lead and allocate the District's institutional finances, technology, research, and resource development in a focused deliberate manner to measurably improve student access, success and post-graduation achievement.

- By being a genuine collaborator with our constituency groups and community partners to produce an alliance with the guiding principle that student success is vital to our region and works together in a creative and innovative manner to advance college readiness, access and success.

- By being a visionary with a powerful sense of what our District should represent and the directions it is going in the near and long term to foster the changes needed to advance the agenda for student success.

Our next Chancellor will lead us in this success, but will also instinctively know when to play a more supportive role, allowing the colleges to take the lead. Our new leader will demonstrate the following characteristics as (s)he embarks on this new role:

  • Believe in Opportunity, Equity and Social Justice
  • Listen
  • Embrace and foster diversity
  • Be a servant leader
  • Be respectful
  • Communicate openly
  • Believe in transparency at all levels
  • Empower and inspire faculty and staff
  • Action-oriented
  • Possess integrity and a strong character
  • Build upon what's already been created
  • Have community college teaching experience
  • Commit to serve our students
  • Support college leadership
  • Visit the colleges and be available
  • Hold himself or herself accountable
  • Coach and mentor other district leaders
  • Understand politics, but not be political
  • Become part of our community

Expected Professional Qualifications and personal qualities and characteristics
The successful candidate will demonstrate and possess most, if not all, of the following professional qualifications and personal qualities and characteristics.

Demonstrated knowledge and ability to implement and strengthen the Board of Trustees Ends Policies and Strategic Priorities. Partner with Board of Trustees in policy governance.

Demonstrate the ability to champion the values of opportunity, equity and social justice in serving our students and community, and advancing the organization.

Professional Qualifications


Master's Degree from an accredited institution, earned doctorate preferred.

 Evidence of Expertise

  • A combination of academic and acquired credentials that demonstrate expertise in leadership areas such as "team" leadership, servant leadership, transparency, cultural competency, noted capabilities to persuade and influence local and state policy and law makers

  • A combination of professional experience and development to demonstrate expertise in administrative areas such management of a complex organization with competing needs and conflicting priorities, fiscal management, technology leadership management, mastery of  the accreditation process that ensures institutional effectiveness and continuous improvement, institutionalizing excellence, data-driven decision making and significant familiarity with the California Community College Governance Model


  • An exceptional record of advancing the student success agenda by way of measurable outcomes, practicing participatory governance and collaborative decision making, understanding and prioritizing the needs of the colleges in budget decisions, building public-private partnerships, maintaining the platform for community involvement and engagement and continuing to advance the institution's strategic goals


  • Internal - significant and successful administrative experience in a community college, California Community College preferred, in teaching and learning, classroom experience preferred, in working in culturally diverse and complex organizations, with labor relations, with faculty academic and professional matters and policy governance

  • External – in building strong community connections where groups are diverse in profile and priorities, with the socio-economic challenges of underserved populations and demonstrating "making a difference" in the lives of students, and local experience that provides sufficient familiarity of the region, and policy governance

Personal Qualities and Characteristics


  • A strategic and creative thinker with a proven record to align and advance student success and educating the whole student, bringing the college into the communities served and keeping focused on  local partners i.e., community groups, business community, local government, K-12 partnerships, post-secondary relationships

Values as Evidenced through Demonstrated Action

  • Strong core values that reflect students are first, opportunity, equity and social justice are institutionalized  within the framework of the organization, integrity, the singular role of college president leadership, priority of college and the support role of a centralized office, the role and function of constituency groups, the expertise and contributions to the lives of our students by our faculty, staff and administrators and willingness to embrace a diversity of opinions

Exhibited Traits and Interpersonal Qualities

An engaged and compassionate leader with a strong sense of purpose

  • who can be a relationship builder, an activator, and an active listener

  • who is approachable, accessible, fair, empathetic, ethical, compassionate, patient, consistent and steadfast, inspirational, motivational, synergistic, principled, honorable and humble

Demonstrated Commitment as evidenced through Action

  • A genuine commitment to the advocacy for the needs of a very diverse student population and community, including immigrant populations and the socio economically disadvantaged, strategic planning that targets institutional effectiveness and efficiencies, to hiring practices that ensure the diversity of faculty and staff mirror the student population, and cultivating institutional civility


  • Demonstrated sensitivity, knowledge, and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, gender, cultural, disability, and ethnic backgrounds of the students we serve and sensitivity to and knowledge and understanding of groups historically underrepresented, and groups who may have experienced discrimination.

  • Bilingual abilities, desirable

Application Process

The position has been extended from August 31, 2015 to open until filled. This is a confidential search process.

Click here ​to apply and upload your documents.

Candidates will need to have the following information or materials available to complete the application:

  1. A letter of application (not to exceed 5 pages) that succinctly addresses - (1) Chancellor Profile and
    (2) the Expected Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities and Characteristics.
  2. A current resume
  3. A list of references that is to include at least one trustee, one supervisor, one direct administrative report, one faculty member, one staff member, one student and one community/external agency representatives.    

​Application Deadline

The position has been extended from
August 31, 2015 
to open until filled.


For additional information, nominations or confidential inquires, please contact:

Dr. Narcisa Polonio
Executive Vice President for Educational, Research and Board Leadership Services,
narcisa_polonio@acct.org or
(202) 276-1983 (cell) 



SJECCD Supporting Page