Sonya Christian Named Chancellor of California Community Colleges

California’s 116-community college system will be helmed by a new leader this June. Sonya Christian, who currently heads the Kern Community College District, was named to the post Friday following a months-long national recruitment effort.

Christian will be the system’s 11th chancellor and the first female and first person of South Asian descent to occupy the permanent role. She will serve a four-year term at an annual base salary of $411,252.

Christian earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kerala in Kerala, India. She got a master’s degree in applied mathematics from USC and a doctorate from UCLA.

She began her career as a Bakersfield College math professor in 1991. She went on to become division chair, an administrator at Lane Community College in Oregon, and then president of Bakersfield College. 

Christian has served as community college chancellor in Kern County since July 2021 and is credited with helping enrollment numbers rebound after the pandemic. That stood out to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. The system saw a devastating decline of nearly 300,000 students between fall 2019 and fall 2022.

“It is a uniquely challenging time for public education,” said Christian, acknowledging the challenges ahead. “I believe our greatest challenges enable us to do our greatest work.”

Read more about CCC’s next chancellor at the Los Angeles Times.  

Image Credit: California Community Colleges



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