2018 Fellows

2018 Wheelhouse Fellows


Wheelhouse welcomed these community college leaders as members of the second cohort of the Institute on Leadership.


Frank Chong, Superintendent/President, Santa Rosa Junior College

Dr. Frank Chong has been Superintendent/President of Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) since January, 2012. Prior to joining Santa Rosa Junior College, Dr. Chong served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C. helping to shape President Barack Obama’s community college agenda. From 2006 to 2009, he was President of Laney College in Oakland, and served as President of Mission College in Santa Clara from 2003 to 2006. Dr. Chong was Dean of Student Affairs at San Francisco City College from 1993 to 2003. He served as Special Assistant to Willie Brown, Speaker of the California Assembly, from 1987 to 1991. Chong has a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California, Berkeley in social welfare and Asian American Studies, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. He also completed the Educational Management program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and earned his doctorate (Ed.D) in educational administration leadership and technology from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York. 

Keith Curry, President/CEO, Compton College

Dr. Keith Curry is the President/CEO of the Compton College and Compton Community College District. Dr. Curry is an active member of the Foundation for Compton Community College District, the Association of California Community College Administrators, the California Community College Athletic Association, the Statewide Association of Community Colleges (SWACC), and the President’s Roundtable. Dr. Curry has presented at numerous conferences, workshops, and symposia. His areas of expertise include preparing students for higher education; bridging the digital divide; establishing partnerships among postsecondary institutions, and ensuring access for all students. He is an adjunct faculty member at California State University Fullerton College of Education. Keith Curry earned his Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of California at Irvine.

Tammeil Gilkerson, President, Laney College

Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson is currently the president of Laney College in Oakland, California. Prior to her current role, she served as vice president of academic and student affairs at Contra Costa College and as the first Diversity, Inclusion and Innovation Officer for the Contra Costa Community College District. Tammeil has also served as the vice president of academic affairs at San José City College and Dean of Counseling and Matriculation at Evergreen Valley College.  Tammeil began her community college career as a faculty member in psychology-counseling at Chabot College, serving as the coordinator for the TRIO Student Support Services program. In addition to her work in community colleges, she served as the Academy and Education Policy Director at The Greenlining Institute and in positions at UC Berkeley in the Office of Student Life and the Early Academic Outreach Program. Dr. Gilkerson holds a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy and pupil personnel services, and a doctorate in educational leadership. 

Michael Gutierrez, President, Sacramento City College

Michael Gutierrez has served in a variety of roles in the Texas system of higher education since 1992. Michael currently serves as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success at Eastfield College in the Dallas Community College District. His responsibilities have included working as a Program Coordinator for the Texas Council on Vocational Education, a Research Specialist for the Texas Council on Workforce and Economic Competitiveness, a Grants Manager for the Dallas Community College District, Director of the South Irving Center, Assistant to the President for College and Resource Development at Palo Alto College in the San Antonio Community College District, Dean of Education Center at Mountain View College, faculty member in Government at Richland College, and Executive Dean at Mountain View College. Michael earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and Latin American Studies from Princeton University, a Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, and is completing a Doctorate from Cumberland University in Higher Education.

John Hernandez, President, Santiago Canyon College 

Dr. John C. Hernandez started his appointment as the fifth president of Santiago Canyon College in July 2017. Prior to the appointment, he served for one year as interim president of SCC. Dr. Hernandez started his tenure at SCC in 2005 as the vice president for student services, where he was an advocate for increasing opportunities for students and partnering with others to provide a seamless delivery of support services. Prior to his tenure at Santiago Canyon College, John served in the following administrative roles: Associate Vice President & Dean of Students at Cal Poly Pomona; Associate Dean for Student Development at Santa Ana College; and Assistant Dean for Students Affairs at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Hernandez holds an associate degree in arts from Fullerton College; a B.A. in sociology from Cal State Fullerton; an M.S. in counseling with an emphasis in student development in higher education from Cal State Long Beach; and a Ph.D. in college student personnel administration from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Kindred Murillo, Superintendent/President, Southwestern College

Dr. Kindred Murillo serves as the Superintendent/President of Southwestern College, where she is leading a systemic culture change focused on student completion, inclusion, and race relations. Serving for five years as the Superintendent/President of Lake Tahoe Community College, Kindred worked with the campus and the local community to financially stabilize the college. Before Tahoe, she served as the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services for Contra Costa Community College District. Kindred also served as the Vice President of Administrative Services at Pasadena Area Community College District. She was promoted to Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services when Copper Mountain Community College became a separate district and underwent its first accreditation. Kindred was hired as an adjunct faculty at Desert Community College District in 1996, served as a full-time faculty member, and moved into college administration in 2000. Kindred is a product of the community college system, graduating from Barstow College with a liberal arts degree. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Redlands University and earned a Master of Science in Organization Development and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine University. 

Daniel Peck, President, Mission College

Daniel Peck started his position as president of Mission College in 2014. His professional career started in the nonprofit and educational sectors, including United Way. In 2005, Daniel’s career took him to Mission College, in Santa Clara, California to begin his responsibilities as the research analyst. Daniel remained with Mission College until 2009, when he accepted an administrative position overseeing Institutional Research at Foothill College. Daniel was at Foothill for a brief period, returning to Mission to head the newly created Office of Research, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness. In 2012, Daniel assumed the interim position of Vice President of Instruction, where he oversaw preparations for the 2014 accreditation site visit, the hiring of nearly a dozen new full-time faculty, and the ongoing development of curriculum and degrees. Later, Daniel moved into his current position of Mission College President with the goal of providing stability while continuing forward momentum. Daniel pursued his education at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where he graduated with a double major Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and English. Daniel remained at Indiana to begin his career in education, serving as an instructor for Sociology and Statistics, and working many years in the Center for Survey Research while taking an MA in Sociology along the way.

Diana Rodriquez, President, San Bernardino College

Diana Z. Rodriguez is the 14th president of San Bernardino Valley College. She is a native of Southern California and has over 25 years of higher education experience, with 11 years in senior leadership positions. Diana served as Vice President of Student Services and Vice President of Academic Services throughout her professional journey. She has spent much of her career as a tenured faculty member and counselor. She has led major grant funding initiatives and the implementation of campus-wide student diversity initiatives, which has generated much positive attention for the colleges and districts of which she has been a part. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Palo Verde College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Master’s Degree in Education from CSU, San Bernardino.

Luis Sanchez, President, Moorpark College

Luis Pablo Sanchez, JD, became president of Moorpark College on February 23, 2015. Prior to that, he was the Vice President of Academic Affairs for Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California from 2011 to 2015. From 1991 to 2006, he was a full-time professor of law and taxation at Sierra College, in Rocklin, California, where he was twice recognized as Outstanding Instructor by the student body, and then was dean of Business, Technology, and Public Safety from 2006 to 2011. Before that, Mr. Sanchez maintained a private commercial law practice and taught law part-time at California State University, Sacramento. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ventura County United Way, as well as the Board of Managers for the Conejo Valley YMCA. Luis received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento in 1976, his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of the Pacific (McGeorge School of Law) in 1983, and his Master’s degree in Business and Tax law from McGeorge Law School in 1990.

JoAnna Schilling, President, Cypress College

Dr. JoAnna Schilling, is delighted to serves as the President of Cypress College. She previously held administrative roles at Cerritos College as Vice President of Academic Affairs/Assistant Superintendent, and at Rio Hondo College as Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Dean of Arts and Cultural Programs, Continuing and Contract Education. Schilling served as the co-chair on the statewide CCCCO Curriculum Inventory project (COCI) and was elected to the California Chief Instructional Officers (CIO) Executive Board representing the Orange County/Los Angeles County region from 2013-2017. Prior to her experience in higher education, she was a literary associate and educator for the professional conservatory at South Coast Repertory Theatre. She is a published author. Dr. Schilling has a doctorate in education from Oregon State University, an MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BA in English from Smith College.

Stephen Schoonmaker, Superintendent/President, College of the Siskiyous

Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker was selected as the 12th Superintendent/President of College of the Siskiyous in 2017. He spent his early career serving public four-year universities and colleges in progressively responsible positions in Student Services. In 1992, he moved from higher education to serve for six years as the Human Rights and Social Services Analyst for the city of Salem, Oregon. His returned to higher education in 1998, starting his community college career in New Mexico; he quickly moved from Student Services to Academic Affairs at the largest community college in Oregon and rose to the level of Vice President in Oregon. In 2011 Dr. Schoonmaker was selected to serve as President of College of the Ouachitas. In 2016, he formed Cross County Leadership Solutions LLC as a consulting firm specializing in leadership coaching, strategic planning, systems thinking, and change management. Stephen Schoonmaker earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of Vermont, his Master’s degree in College Student Personnel Services from Western Illinois University, and completed his Doctoral degree in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Community College Leadership in 2004 from New Mexico State University.

Keith Snow-Flamer, Superintendent/President, College of the Redwoods

Dr. Keith Snow-Flamer was named President/Superintendent of College of the Redwoods effective April 11, 2017. Over the course of his higher education career he has served in positions as Vice President, Executive Dean, Dean, and Director. He has gained experience working at Colleges and Universities, including College of the Redwoods, McHenry County College and Eastern Washington University. His breadth of experience has provided him with expertise in enrollment management, instruction, student development and support services areas. As an educational leader, he believes that it is critical to embrace diversity and remain sensitive to the needs of all students. He supports the success of those who may be differently abled or who experience social, cultural and economic orientations and backgrounds different from those experienced by faculty and staff with whom these students interact. He firmly believes that diversity is strength—and that multiculturalism is something to be celebrated, promoted, and cherished. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Washington University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Washington, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

Robin Steinback, President, Moreno Valley College

Dr. Robin Steinback is the fourth president of Moreno Valley College. Her professional career includes Vice Chancellor of Educational Services in Riverside Community College District, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Moreno Valley College, Cuyamaca College and Solano Community College, dean of instruction and tenured faculty at her alma mater, Mt. San Jacinto College.  Dr. Steinback has a reputation for creating cross-institutional, collaborative, and innovative teams that seek to transform their institutions, communities and regional ecosystems. She is ever mindful that what we do individually and collectively through our educational programs and support services matter in the lives of our students, employees, and the communities we serve. She is a product of the community college system, having graduated from Mt. San Jacinto College. She attended UC Riverside, earning an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in Sociology. She received her Ph.D. from UCR in Sociology.

Brenda Thames, President, West Hills College

Brenda Thames began her position at West Hills College Coalinga in February, 2017. Prior to her current position, she served in a broad spectrum of positions at Modesto Junior College, American River College and at the Los Rios Community College District Office. Thames was a 2016-2017 Fellow with the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. In 2014, she completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management. Thames earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Sociology and Social Welfare from University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from USC. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Education with a concentration in Community College Leadership at Oregon State University.

Chris Vitelli, Superintendent/President, Merced College

Chris Vitelli is currently the Superintendent/President at Merced College. He has more than 12 years experience in management and administration, including senior administration-level experience serving in various capacities, including Chief Student Services Officer (CSSO), Chief Instructional Officer (CIO), and Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO). Vitelli has also served as Dean of Instruction and interim Vice President of Student Services at Columbia College in Sonora, California.  Other professional experiences include Director of Student Services for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida and Director of Business, Industry, and Community Services at Merced College. Vitelli has led efforts to make “students first” while at Merced College. As a first-generation college graduate, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida, a Master of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University, and he is currently working toward a doctorate degree at Arizona State University.

Matthew Wetstein, Superintendent/President, Cabrillo College

Dr. Matt Wetstein was recently selected to serve as Superintendent/President of Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA.  Prior to his appointment at Cabrillo, he served as the Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Instruction and Planning at San Joaquin Delta College (Delta College) in Stockton, CA, from 2012-2017.  His earlier administrative service included service as an instructional division Dean and as Dean of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness at Delta College. He started his academic career as a political science professor. He has been a statewide leader in the planning and research field, having served on the Board and as President of the Research and Planning Group of California Community Colleges.  Dr. Wetstein was a member of the pioneering class of Aspen Institute Presidential Fellows for Community College Excellence, a group of 40 community college leaders selected for training in leadership and transformational change at U.S. community colleges. He is the author or co-author of a number of articles and books. Dr. Wetstein earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of St. Francis (Joliet, IL) and a Master’s and Doctoral degree in political science from Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL).

Michael White, President, Woodland Community College

Michael White is president of Woodland Community College. Previously, Dr. White served four years as Reedley College’s vice president of student services. He also served Reedley as interim president in 2012 and  2013, and as a faculty member, department chair, and coach from 1990 to 2009. Across his over 30-year career, Michael has instructional experience at the high school, community college, and university levels and has developed expertise in Hispanic Serving Institutions. He is a graduate of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Institute.  Dr. White received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California State University, Fresno, and earned a Master of Science degree in Physical Education with distinction from the University of New Mexico.  He earned a Ryan secondary teaching credential and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Henry Yong, Chancellor, Yosemite Community College District

Henry Yong is Chancellor at Yosemite Community College District. Mr. Yong has served over 30 years in academia, ranging from high school vocational training, adult education, to community colleges. Prior to this, he served as the President of Evergreen Valley College in San Jose for six years. Before that, he served as the Vice President of Instruction at Taft College for six years. He also served as the Dean of Academic Programs at Victor Valley for five years, and three years as the Associate Dean of Occupational Education at West Hills College. Prior to the community college, Mr. Yong served as an administrator for the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) for seven years. Mr. Yong received M.A. and Ed.S. Degrees in Educational Administration and Leadership from Loma Linda University. He is working on his Ed.D. at La Sierra University with a focus on barriers to academic success for first semester economically disadvantaged students.

Wheelhouse is grateful to the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (California Community College Chancellor’s Office), the James Irvine Foundation, the College Futures Foundation, and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund for supporting the participation of these distinguished Fellows in the 2018 Institute on Leadership.

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