“Today the Board of Governors continues the tradition of selecting great chancellors to lead the California Community Colleges,’’ said Board President Geoffrey L. Baum. “Eloy Ortiz Oakley is an innovative and tested leader who understands how to operate successfully in a large, complex system of public higher education. In Oakley we see a change agent – someone whose relentless focus on student success will help more students obtain certificates and degrees or transfer to four-year institutions on time. As a member of the UC Board of Regents and with his close ties with California State University, he is well positioned to foster greater collaboration that will benefit all students.”
Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. said, “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. California’s 113 community colleges – and the 2.1 million students they serve – are in good hands.”
Oakley was named superintendent-president of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) in 2007. During his tenure, Oakley helped form the nationally recognized Long Beach College Promise, which engages high school administrators and teachers to work with college faculty and staff to create structured pathways for students to follow as they progress from one educational institution to the next. Long Beach College Promise students are guaranteed a tuition-free year at Long Beach City College and preferred admission status to California State University, Long Beach after completing transfer requirements. The Long Beach College Promise has inspired similar programs across the country. America’s College Promise, an initiative introduced by President Barack Obama in 2015, was modeled in part on the Long Beach College Promise.
“The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges has made a spectacular choice,’’ said Ted Mitchell, under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. “Eloy Oakley is a proven leader of national stature. He has been a valued partner in the President’s effort to provide free community college to qualified students. I look forward to working with him in his new role.”
"As a California native and a product of a California community college, I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to lead the largest and most diverse system of higher education in the nation,” Oakley said. “I wish to thank the Board of Governors, Governor Brown and the people of California for expressing their faith in me. I recognize that I would not have this opportunity but for the amazing faculty and staff that make up our community college system. As chancellor I look forward to working with our 113 colleges, public education advocates, civil rights organizations, education policy experts and business and civic leaders to better serve our students and to create value for our great state."
While at LBCCD, Oakley also helped establish Promise Pathways, a program that uses high school performance grades and transcripts to ensure students are placed in appropriate class levels. Promise Pathways also uses improved advising and enrollment practices to help students select the right classes to maximize their success.
To jumpstart the region’s economy, Oakley partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch the 10,000 Small Businesses Program to help small businesses grow and create jobs. This successful endeavor has taught more than 600 local business owners how to expand operations, increase profits and create more jobs in the region.
“No one is as uniquely qualified and prepared to deal with contemporary issues facing our community colleges today as Eloy Oakley,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). “As a member of the AACC board of directors, I have seen first-hand his passion for the mission of the community colleges as well as a great understanding of the politics and policies that govern our institutions. I look forward to working with Eloy in this new role.”
Oakley, who will become the first Latino to lead the California Community Colleges, is himself a community college success story. After serving four years in the U.S. Army, he enrolled at Golden West College. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine where he received his degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Design and Master of Business Administration.
Oakley joined LBCCD in 2002, serving as the assistant superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services. Previously, he served as the vice president of college services at Oxnard College; the assistant vice president of the Property & Casualty Division of Keenan & Associates and the manager of risk services at the Coast Community College District. Oakley also served as an adjunct faculty member for the Environmental Technology Certificate Program at Golden West College.
In 2014, Gov. Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Eloy on UC’s Board of Regents where he has distinguished himself by always asking the right questions and his unwavering commitment to expanding access to higher education in California,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano. “As chancellor of the California Community Colleges, I know he’ll continue to do so. I look forward to working with him, especially on further improving the pathway to UC for California transfer students.”
“Eloy is an outstanding leader and partner in California public higher education,” said Timothy P. White, chancellor of California State University. He has dedicated himself to building pathways for students from K-12 to a college degree, university degree and beyond. Eloy challenges and empowers all of us to think deeply about higher education’s role in our society and act accordingly. He understands the needs of California’s communities and is dedicated to our shared success.”
Oakley serves on the boards and committees of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the California Forward Leadership Council, the College Futures Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and the Long Beach Rotary Club. He also sits on the advisory board for the California State University, Long Beach Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership.
Oakley will begin his duties on Dec. 19, 2016 and replaces Chancellor Brice W. Harris, who retired in April after leading the community college system for nearly four years. Erik E. Skinner will continue to serve as interim chancellor until Oakley takes office.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 113 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/,https://www.facebook.com/CACommColleges, or https://twitter.com/CalCommColleges.
For questions regarding this announcement, please contact Paul Feist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or download the full release at CCCCO.EDU.