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The independent student news site of San Diego Mesa College.

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The Mesa Press

The Mesa Press

Smith named permanent SDCCD Chancellor

Acting Chancellor had been in role since March 2023
Acting+Chancellor+Gregory+Smith+will+become+the+7th+chancellor+in+the+50-year+history+of+the+San+Diego+Community+College+District.+%0A
SDCCD Newsroom
Acting Chancellor Gregory Smith will become the 7th chancellor in the 50-year history of the San Diego Community College District.

The San Diego Community College District named Acting Chancellor Gregory Smith as the permanent district chancellor during the Board of Trustees meeting on December 14.

Smith, who had been serving as the SDCCD’s acting chancellor since Dr. Carlos O. Cortez’s resignation in May, will become the district’s seventh chancellor pending the official approval of his employment contract at the January 25, 2024, Board of Trustees meeting.

“I am deeply grateful to the selection committee, district community, and Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve California’s premier community college district,” said Smith. “Our mission, vision, and values drive my commitment to service. I look forward to expanding access, belonging, and success for our diverse student communities in this new role.”

Board of Trustees member Maria Nieto Señour made the announcement during the meeting, and many in the audience stood and applauded for nearly 20 seconds as Smith sat silently and smiled.

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Prior to becoming acting chancellor, Smith served as the SDCCD’s vice chancellor of People, Culture, and Technology Services (formerly Human Resources) since 2020. Before joining the SDCCD, Smith worked with the U.S. Dept. of Labor beginning in 2004 and in 2016 joined the California Community College system professionally at Shasta College in Northern California, where he served as director of Human Resources, associate vice president of Human Resources and interim vice president of Administrative Services.

Smith is a first-generation college student and a community college graduate. He began his college education at Cerro Coso Community College in Kern County before transferring to Arizona State University, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and English literature. He also has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

“Chancellor-Designate Smith’s qualifications and experience will ensure the district continues its progress toward growing student enrollment, maintaining the district’s fiscal health and ensuring it is meeting local workforce needs while helping our region close equity gaps,” Board president Bernie Rhinerson said. “Since arriving at the district, he has demonstrated remarkable leadership including playing a key role in helping us ensure continuity of operations during and after the COVID pandemic. He has a compelling vision for bringing our district and colleges together around our commitment to student success.”

Smith was one of three finalists in the running for the position. The others were Dr. Daisy Gonzales, deputy chancellor for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, and Dr. Brian King, Chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District in Sacramento. King’s selection as a finalist was controversial when it was discovered that two of his district’s four colleges had issued votes of “no confidence” within the past semester.

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