(Photo Credit: Violeta Vaqueiro)
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors announced their unanimous decision to select Eloy Ortiz Oakley as the next Chancellor of the state's community college system.
Oakley, currently the superintendent-president of the Long Beach Community College District, will become the first Latino to serve as chancellor of the largest community college system in the country.
“There is no more important (and under-appreciated) institution of economic mobility in California than the Community College System,” said Lenny Mendonca, co-chair of the CA Fwd Leadership Council. “Eloy Oakley has the ideal experience and innovative leadership to ensure it delivers that promise for the next generation of California students who need it the most.”
The Long Beach education leader has been praised for innovating public community college education in the region, through programs like Long Beach College Promise, which allowed high school students attend college courses early.
Also under Oakley, Long Beach City College (LBCC) pioneered a new formula that applies greater weight to students’ high school course-taking, which quadrupled the proportion of entering students allowed to take college-level math courses.
“An inspired and inspiring choice,” said Pete Weber, co-chair of the CA Fwd Leadership Council. “Under the very capable leadership of Eloy Oakley, the California Community College System will play a major role in the critical task of rebuilding California’s middle class.”
Oakley and California's community college system will be in a strong position to help build up the state's workforce, with 113 colleges spread across the state's regions. In 2014, LBCC received a grant of $15 million — its largest ever — for programs that connect their training academics to high-demand industries. The funding was designated for build stronger programs that train students for careers in advanced manufacturing and engineering technology.
“As a member of CA Fwd's Leadership Council and as the former co-chair of the California Economic Summit Steering Committee, Eloy Oakley has demonstrated dogged yet diplomatic leadership in orienting community colleges to the needs of students and their future employers,” said CA Fwd President and CEO Jim Mayer. “He is the steward we need to implement a workforce strategy that will restore upward mobility for young Californians.”
Getting his start in the community college system, Oakley attended Golden West College in Huntington Beach and then transferred to earn degrees at University of California, Irvine.
“Eloy Oakley knows California’s community colleges inside and out and has served at every level in the system – from teaching in the classroom to running a campus as superintendent,” said Governor Jerry Brown in a statement from the Colleges. “California’s 113 community colleges – and the 2.1 million students they serve – are in good hands.”
Oakley will begin serving as Chancellor on December 19 of this year and replaces Chancellor Brice W. Harris, who announced his retirement after holding the post for almost four years.