Current Kern Community College District Chancellor Named to Top Post
SACRAMENTO, CA – Dr. Sonya Christian, currently Chancellor at Kern Community College District, has been named as the Chancellor-select for the California Community Colleges. She arrives at the position with more than three decades of experience at all levels of community college leadership and is the first permanently appointed woman to the post.
Christian brings direct perspective as a community college campus and district leader to the role. She began her career in education at Kern Community College District in 1991, first as a mathematics professor and later as division chair, then Dean of Science, Engineering, Allied Health and Mathematics at Bakersfield College. In 2003, Christian joined Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., as Associate Vice President for Instruction, then Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs and Chief Academic Officer.
She returned to Kern CCD in 2013 after being selected as the 10th President at Bakersfield College. As faculty and then President, Christian has always been deeply committed to equity, which she has demonstrated through her work in the areas of Guided Pathways and Early College.
“I have known and worked with Sonya Christian since our time in Oregon, when we both served community college students there,” said Community College League of California President and CEO Larry Galizio, Ph.D. “She is steadfast in her qualities and values that have made her a successful leader in higher education. Dr. Christian is strategic, committed to student success and equity, hard-working and focused on advancing the essential comprehensive mission of community colleges. I look forward to working with her."
Christian's long-standing service to community colleges and their students includes campus and district roles, and community and higher education advocacy and advisory positions. She is the Immediate Past Chair of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), which she chaired from 2020-2022. She currently serves on the boards for the Campaign for College Opportunity, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, the Equity in Policy Implementation Advisory Board, and is the Co-Chair of the California Community College Women's Caucus. Christian has previously served on the Learning Lab Advisory Council (2020-2022) and Bakersfield Homeless Shelter Board and was appointed by the Governor to the Student-Centered Funding Formula Oversight Committee (2018-2022). She was vice chair of the California Community College Women's Caucus (2020-2022).
The Community College League of California partners closely with the California Community College Chancellor to support diverse needs and perspectives across the state.
“As community colleges remain focused on closing student achievement gaps and equity, having a strong leader like Dr. Sonya Christian guiding the Chancellor’s office is an exciting opportunity to make more progress,” said Jose L. Fierro, DVM, Ph.D., President/Superintendent of Cerritos College and President of the Chief Executive Officers of California Community Colleges (CEOCCC) Board. “As an experienced educator and former college CEO, we look forward to advancing Dr. Christian’s vision and working with her to increase student success and expand college access to every student across the state.”
“On behalf of California's locally elected community college trustees, we are thrilled with the selection of Dr. Sonya Christian as our next Chancellor,” said Marisa Perez, Cerritos College Board of Trustees member and the President of the California Community College Trustees (CCCT) Board. “Dr. Christian is known for her leadership in implementing California’s Guided Pathways and advancing student success with equity through dual enrollment. Trustees value this kind of leadership that is focused on improving student outcomes. We look forward to building a strong partnership to advance local college goals and the objectives of our entire system."
The Community College League of California (League) is an independent, nonprofit public benefit corporation with a voluntary membership of the 73 community college districts in California. As the professional membership association of the California Community College districts, the League empowers California Community Colleges to transform the lives of our diverse students and strengthen communities statewide through advocacy, leadership development, district services, coalition building, and policy advancement. The vision of the League is California Community Colleges as the global model for community-based public higher education with an unparalleled commitment to access, equity, and achievement.