Dr. Helen Benjamin

Dr. Helen Benjamin

The Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Helen Benjamin to serve as interim superintendent/president.

The board interviewed Dr. Benjamin in closed session at its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The board held a special meeting on Saturday, March 2, to deliberate and unanimously agreed on her selection. Dr. Benjamin’s appointment is contingent upon finalizing the details of a contract.  

Dr. Benjamin has had a distinguished 44 year career and is an experienced community college leader.

She was hired by the Contra Costa Community College District in 1991, and over the next 27 years until her retirement in 2016 held a number of positions with the district.

Dr. Benjamin served as chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District during the last 11 years of her tenure with the district.

“I am honored to be selected by the board to serve in an interim capacity as superintendent/president of SBCC. I am inspired by the vision and mission of the college, and look forward to working with the board, employees and the community in fulfilling both,” said Dr. Benjamin. 

Dr. Benjamin maintains an active role in a variety of professional and community organizations, many committed to increasing opportunities for students of color and increasing access to education for economically disadvantaged individuals.

She has worked tirelessly for the improvement of community and junior colleges, and served as president of the California Community Colleges CEOs, as president of the board of the Community College League of California, and as chair of the California Promise Leadership Team.

She holds the distinction of being the first community college representative appointed by Congress to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

Dr. Benjamin served with distinction as convener of the Presidents’ Round Table of Community College African American CEOs and on the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Benjamin holds bachelor of science degrees in English and Spanish from Bishop College in Texas, where she graduated magna cum laude, and she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in English from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.

The board will bring a contract with Dr. Benjamin for action at a subsequent public meeting, including information about her start date.

The search for a permanent superintendent/president will entail an extensive public process, and will involve significant input from all college stakeholder groups.

“Santa Barbara City College is fortunate that Dr. Benjamin is available and interested in helping lead the Santa Barbara Community College District as we pursue the search for a permanent Superintendent/President,” said board President Robert Miller. “Dr. Benjamin has a remarkable record of accomplishment in leading the Contra Costa Community College District for 11 years and is uniquely qualified to lead the Santa Barbara Community College District.”

Luz Reyes-Martin is executive director of public affairs and communications for Santa Barbara City College.