New Program Proves to Be What Is Needed for Those Ascending to the CEO Position

By Rosalinda Boyette
Communications Coordinator, Community College League of California

Monday, July 18, 2022

In December 2021, twenty-eight California Community College (CCC) administrators, interested in exploring the possibility of transitioning into a CEO position at a community college, completed our nine-month Aspiring CEO Program. The Community College League of California (League) would like to congratulate the 2021 program cohort and those that have ascended to a new role at a college.

To date, eight participants from the 2021 inaugural cohort have either secured a CEO position or are currently serving in an acting or interim CEO Position.  

“The program, now in its second year, has proven to be what was needed for those pursuing a CEO position. We are pleased to see graduates have accepted CEO positions and others are in the application process. That is the purpose of this program—to help fill the CEO pipeline at our colleges and improve their tenure rate,” said Carmen Sandoval, Director of Education Services & Leadership Development.

The League and the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) collaborated to develop an opportunity for emerging leaders to work with and learn from experienced and successful CCC CEOs and practitioners to expand and broaden their executive leadership capacity. The Aspiring CEO Program is designed to identify and prepare future CCC CEOs through the process of self-assessment and skill development. Over the course of nine months there are eight-modules and regular cohort check-ins. Participants learn a range of topics including:

  • Readiness for the CEO Position through Personal Inventory and Skills Assessments
  • How to Research Potential CEO Positions
  • Interviewing and Public Forums

What are program participants saying?

The following CEOs completed the program in 2021, and recently began their tenure as a CEO:

“The 2021 Aspiring CEO Program was especially impactful for me. I was lucky to be accepted into the program during a time of uncertainty. The program allowed me to grow as a professional, gain confidence as a leader and build strong networks.” – Dr. Char Perlas, Superintendent/President, College of the Siskiyous

“By participating in the Aspiring CEO program, I learned the steps it takes to apply, compete, and get a CEO position. I connected with seasoned and retired CEOs who advised me in preparing for my interview and negotiating my contract. I highly recommend this program to any aspiring CEOs. You will not be disappointed.” Dr. Lennor Johnson, Superintendent/President, Imperial Valley College

“Participating in the Aspiring CEO Program provided a strong foundation for me as I made application for President searches. The training, exercises, and networking offered through this program not only got me started, but also provided continual support as I journeyed through application to interviews and to the final offer. I'm grateful to CCLC and the seasoned veteran CCC Administrators who have offered their time and expertise to mentor me to the next stage of my career.” Dr. Jennifer Zellet, Superintendent/President, Antelope Valley College

We need your help

If you are a CEO, please take some time to encourage administrators from your campus leadership to apply for the program. 2023 Cohort Registration will open September 2022. Feel free to share this blog post with someone you know who would be ideal for the Aspiring CEO Program.

For questions regarding the program or the 2023 cohort, contact Program Director Carmen Sandoval at

To Learn more about the program, click here.

Rosalinda Boyette is the Communications Coordinator for the Community College League of California.