Diana Z. Rodriguez to become 15th chancellor of San Bernardino Community College District

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Photo courtesy SBCCD: Diana Rodriguez has served the Inland Empire as President of San Bernardino Valley College since 2016. During her tenure as President, SBVC faculty and staff spearheaded educational strategies to earn the campus the highest level of accreditation.
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The San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) Board of Trustees announced Tuesday the appointment of San Bernardino Valley College President Diana Z. Rodriguez as the district’s 15th Chancellor. Rodriguez will lead the mission of a system that serves 20,000 students through Crafton Hills College, San Bernardino Valley College, a workforce training facility, and KVCR TV/FM. Rodriguez is poised to become the only Latina chancellor of a community college district in Southern California upon assuming office in August. 

Rodriguez has a long and distinguished career spanning more than 30 years working in higher education as a faculty member and administrator. Before leading San Bernardino Valley College, she served as Vice President of Student Services and Interim Vice President of Academic Services at Las Positas College, and Vice President of Student Services at Palo Verde College.

She will assume her new duties as Chancellor of the San Bernardino Community College District on August 1, when campuses return to expanded in-person learning and working. The current interim Chancellor, Jose F. Torres, will return to his position as the Executive Vice Chancellor for the district.

On June 2, the district hosted a virtual meet and greet with Chancellor-designate Rodriguez that was open to the community and streamed on the district’s social media channels. 

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As the chief executive officer, Rodriguez will manage a budget of $200 million and 1,000 faculty and staff members. She is known for increasing student enrollment, advocating for institutional innovation, and supporting professional development.

“Serving as the next chancellor is the honor of a lifetime,” Rodriguez said of her new role. “My passion for this work comes from my own story. As I walk across our district and our campuses, I see myself in our students. I am second-generation Mexican-American, first in my family to go to college, and a very proud community college graduate,” she said. Rodriguez graduated from Palo Verde College, earned three degrees from California State University, San Bernardino in marketing, a master’s degree in business administration, and another master’s degree in education. She is a doctoral candidate in Higher Educational Leadership at Northcentral University. 

Dr. Anne Viricel, chair of the SBCCD Board of Trustees, said the decision to hire Rodriguez will shape the district’s future, which is one of the area’s largest employers and an economic engine for the Inland area.

“We have seen her excellence at San Bernardino Valley College, and she has proven herself the right leader at the right time,” Viricel said. She said Rodriguez, who has led SBVC since 2016, has experience at two-year and four-year institutions, from classified staff to a faculty member to administrative leader.  

The board conducted a national search, asking the top finalists to create a vision for the college district and explain their leadership philosophy. 

Rodriguez worked with K-12 schools and community partners to start student-focused programs such as the GenerationGo! internship program, the Valley360 Resource Center food pantry, the Workforce Readiness Program, and the annual SBVC Day of Service.

In leadership, Rodriguez describes her philosophy as planning the strategy, measuring success, and advocating for the needed resources.

“I’m kind of geeky, so I like this stuff,” she said after talking about the metrics of success, including educational strategies faculty and staff spearheaded to earn SBVC the highest level of accreditation this year from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. 

“I’m continuously mapping our documents and the progress we’re making on each of them,” Rodriguez said. “But let’s think about it this way. What if we dream big. Let’s shout our dreams big about who we want to be and how we want to get there.”

She said the immediate goal is to return from the pandemic in a safe, steady, and sustainable way. She wants to expand campus offerings so that students and faculty continue to have choices about in-person or online learning. The district is approaching a celebration of 100 years since its founding in 1926, and she said she looks forward to involving the community and industry partners in planning the success of the next decade. 

Her accomplishments have also included creating equity-centered initiatives on her campus to ensure that San Bernardino Valley College hires diverse staff and faculty and increases college enrollment among local Black and Latino high school graduates.

Her accomplishments have drawn several awards, including the 2018 Woman of the Year Award for the 47th Assembly District of California.

The SBCCD Board of Trustees thanks the Chancellor Search Committee for their engagement in the process. SBCCD Chancellor Search Committee Members include:

  • Dr. Anne Viricel, SBCCD Trustees, Board Chair
  • Dr. Stephanie Houston, SBCCD Trustees, Board Vice Chair
  • Gloria Harrison, SBCCD Trustees, Board Clerk
  • Rebecca Abeyta, CHC Classified Staff
  • Brandi Bailes, CHC Academic Senate President
  • Eva Bell, CHC Classified Staff
  • Dr. Anthony Blacksher, SBVC College Faculty
  • Hardy Brown II, Community Representative
  • Dr. Christopher Crew, SBCCD Interim Manager, Research and Planning
  • Taylor DeBenedictis, SBVC Associated Students Representative
  • Heather Ford, SBCCD Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chancellor
  • Colleen Gamboa, SBCCD Payroll Manager
  • Ernest Guillen, SBVC Classified Staff, CSEA VP
  • Kashaunda Harris, CHC Faculty
  • Rania Hamdy, SBVC Faculty
  • Kristina Hannon, SBCCD Vice Chancellor of Human Resources & Police Services
  • Dr. Kevin Horan, CHC President
  • Deanna Krehbiel, SBCCD Manager of Economic Development & Corporate Training
  • Marcela Navarro, SBCCD Confidential Staff
  • Alexander Manjarrez, CHC Student Representative
  • Meridyth McLaren, CHC Faculty, CTA President
  • Amanda Moody, SBVC Classified Staff
  • Dr. Tom M. Rivera, Community Representative
  • Dave Stevenson, SBVC Classified Staff, CSEA VP

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