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Carlos Osvaldo Cortez


Educational Leadership

About Carlos


Located in San Diego, California, Carlos Osvaldo Cortez, Ph.D. currently serves as the president of San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE), a division of the San Diego Community College District and the seventh-largest community college system in the United States of America. In his role as president, Carlos currently serves over 40,000 college students annually across seven campuses and more than 200 off-site locations. On top of this, Carlos also has adjunct faculty positions at several prestigious institutions such as New York University, the University of California, Berkeley, and John Hopkins University. For his education, Carlos attended Georgetown University where he received a bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology. He then went on to earn his master’s degree in Race and Gender Politics from New York University as well as a doctor of philosophy in Education Policy and Administration from the University of Southern California. All of these degrees have a focus on African American feminist political history.


Carlos Osvaldo Cortez has been teaching students of various backgrounds for the past 23 years while holding an administrative position for 16 years and acting as CEO of SDCE for 11 years. Before Carlos took over the role of leading SDCE, he was the vice president of instruction at Berkley City College and before that, he acted as director of Education Extension at the University of California at Los Angeles. At the start of his career in education, Carlos was a member of the Teach for America Corps. Over his many years of working in education, Carlos has worked in public, private, and charter school sectors all over the country including San Diego, New York City, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Houston, and Washington DC. Some of the positions Carlos has held include principle of New Village Charter School in Los Angeles and assistant principal of special education services at Grape Street Elementary School. Carlos was praised for his dedication to both his teachers and students while serving in these positions as well as for the development of innovative programs and services, great fiscal management, and his brilliant fundraising. 


While Carlos Osvaldo Cortez’s career has allowed him to work with students from varying degrees of background, he’s always had a passion for working with underserved, ethnically diverse student populations from low-income communities. Carlos has a commitment to social justice that has fueled his passion for urban education reform. He currently serves on several non-profit boards across both California and the entire United States, such as the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s Workforce Development Board, the Trevor Project, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, the Jackie Robinson YMCA, and Goodwill, Inc. San Diego. 


Carlos Osvaldo Cortez has also received several awards for his hard work such as the Martes Award for Excellence in Research, the Excellence in Continuing Education Award, the Teach for Innovation McGrory Award for Innovative Alumni Leadership and the San Diego Country Office of Education Lighthouse Award, to name a few.

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