LGBTQ | ELAC Dean Paul De La Cerda Selected for Top Leadership Fellows Program

The National Community College Hispanic Council has announced that longtime Santa Clarita resident Paul De La Cerda, a Dean at East Los Angeles College, will participate in the prestigious NCCHC Leadership Development Program as a 2019 Fellow.

Dean of Resource, Economic Development and Innovation and Foundation Executive Director for the Office of the President at ELAC, De La Cerda is one of 24 members of the 2019 Fellows Class selected from community college candidates from around the country.

The prestigious program is hosted by the USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences and is designed to develop a pool of highly qualified Latin(as)os whose career interest focuses on assuming increasingly responsible administrative positions, with the ultimate goal of becoming a community college president. The NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program was selected as a finalist in the 2019 “Examples of Excelencia” national showcase.

“Preparing strong leaders for the future is the primary purpose of the National Community College Hispanic Council’s Leadership Fellows Program,” said NCCHC President Robert Vela. “A demographic shift is occurring in the United States and we are preparing new leaders who can model the way for the growing Hispanic population our community colleges serve. Through this program, Fellows gain the necessary knowledge and skills they need to lead higher education into the future and positively impact the economic and civic success of their respective communities.”

“We at East Los Angeles College are honored that Paul has the opportunity to participate in such important leadership programming,” said East Los Angeles College President Marvin Martinez. “It bodes well for our institution and our community that he will return to our campus and district with new and important information and strategies to help our students succeed.”

Components of the Leadership Fellows Program include two residential training seminars. The first begins in June as Fellows are in residence at USD. Each Fellow prepares an individualized professional development plan and engages in a mentoring relationship with a Hispanic community college leader, as well as attending the NCCHC Leadership Symposium in the fall, and carrying out online activities in between sessions.

NCCHC is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, a national organization that has provided leadership to the community college movement for the past half-century.

The Council, which was established 30 years ago, works to promote the educational interests and success of the Hispanic community and emphasizes access, equity and excellence for students and staff in community colleges.

One of the first ventures was to offer a leadership development program, with support from the Ford Foundation. Of the original 72 Fellows, more than 15 are now community college presidents.

During the past two years, more than 60 former Leadership Fellows have moved to positions of increased responsibility as executive level administrators, including chancellors, vice-chancellors, and presidents. Since the program’s inception, more than 250 community college administrators have participated as Leadership Fellows.

As Dean of Resource, Economic Development, & Innovation and Executive Director of the ELAC Foundation at the Office of the President for East Los Angeles College in the Los Angeles Community College District, De La Cerda is the founder of the LA Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which launched a first of its kind business incubator program serving women, minorities, veterans, formerly incarcerated and LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

De La Cerda oversees several multi-million federal- and state-funded grant programs and endowments. His administrative portfolio includes 16 years of experience in academic affairs, workforce and economic development, CTE and STEM programs, K-16 partnerships, and marketing, as well as management oversight of personnel, consultants, operations, and fiscal infrastructure. He has a strong record of initiating and managing economic development, employment, and job service grants and employee training programs including over $50 million in funding from both corporate partners and federal sources.

Previously, he worked as a grant administrator for the city of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, where he procured and administered more than $100 million in workforce, economic development, public safety and community-based grants.

De La Cerda is an experienced adjunct professor, consultant and public speaker with specialties in marketing, business development, entrepreneurship, communications, and public administration including working with various federal, state and county/city of Los Angeles departments.

He was elected to public office in 2005 where he served for 13 years as the first Latino elected school board member for the Saugus Union School District, where he assisted with the launch of the district’s first public STEM + Entrepreneurship elementary school academy and, as board president, led the passage of a $148 million school bond.

De La Cerda has an extensive business and technical background with a Civil & Environmental Engineering Degree and Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma State University and an Executive Management Degree from University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership at the USC Rossier School of Education.

De La Cerda and his wife Andrea and four children are still residents of Santa Clarita. The couple’s twin daughters are freshmen at College of the Canyons, one son is a freshman at Valencia High School and another son will be promoted from West Creek Academy in June and enroll at Rio Norte Junior High School in the fall.

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