San Diego Community College District Chancellor Cortez Resigns

May 1, 2023 | San Diego Community College District

San Diego Community College District Chancellor Carlos Cortez, who has led the district since July 2021, has resigned in order to care for his parents, who are experiencing health issues. Cortez had announced on March 30 that he was taking extended emergency family leave to spend more time with his parents, who live in Florida.

Dr. Carlos Cortez wears a gray suit and a bright teal tie
Dr. Carlos O. Cortez (SDCCD Photo)

“I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made together over the past two years on behalf of our students and community we serve,” said Cortez. “My time at the district, both as President of the College of Continuing Education and as District Chancellor, have been the highlight of my career thus far.”

SDCCD Board of Trustees President Maria Nieto Senour said the Board supports Chancellor Cortez in this decision and thanks him for his leadership.

“Dr. Cortez made significant contributions during his time as chancellor for which we are sincerely grateful,” said Senour. “This included overseeing the safe reopening of our 10 campuses following the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuilding enrollment, and putting the district on sound financial footing by replenishing our reserves and securing important new revenue streams through grants and philanthropy.”

The district’s Vice Chancellor of People, Culture, and Technology Services, Greg Smith will serve as acting chancellor while the district conducts a national search for a permanent chancellor. Smith is an experienced and capable administrator who has worked closely with each of the college presidents, the Board of Trustees, and governance leaders on many strategic initiatives, earning considerable respect during his time with the district.

“Greg Smith is an excellent choice to ensure that the district continues to make significant progress towards its goal of creating equitable outcomes for its students while providing well-trained graduates needed by local employers,” said Nieto Senour.

Chancellor Cortez assumed leadership of the district, which includes San Diego City, Mesa, Miramar, and Continuing Education colleges in July 2021 as the district was beginning to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. He had previously served six years as president of the district’s College of Continuing Education.

The SDCCD chancellor is responsible for all operations in a district that is the largest provider of workforce training and education in the region with a $992-million annual budget. The chancellor oversees San Diego City, Mesa, Miramar, and Continuing Education colleges; assures that the district is administered in accordance with policies adopted by the Board of Trustees and state and federal regulations; and maintains a close working relationship with the community, K-12 and local higher-education systems, as well as local, state, and federal officials.

As one of the largest of California’s 73 community college districts, the San Diego Community College District serves approximately 100,000 students annually through three two-year colleges and the San Diego College of Continuing Education. San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, offer associate degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and entry-level jobs. Mesa College also offers a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management. The San Diego College of Continuing Education offers noncredit adult education at seven campuses throughout San Diego.

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