Dr. Elliot Stern started at Saddleback College as president in January 2019. He grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and started his college education at Oakland Community College. He attended Wayne State University as a philosophy major before earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Medicine and D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) from Michigan State University. After internship, he went on to earn a Juris Doctor degree from University of Michigan School of Law. He practiced as a medical litigator for seven years before leaving his practice (and Detroit) to do something less adversarial with his life.
He and his (now) husband moved to Seattle, where Stern initially did freelance scientific writing and medico-legal consulting but then found an opportunity to teach an evening biology class at Shoreline Community College. He fell in love with teaching and the community college mission on his first night. He landed a tenure-track position as a biology instructor at Everett Community College, and spent nearly a decade teaching at Everett. There he started one of the first Community College Faculty Senates in Washington State, led negotiations for the faculty union, and co-created the college’s honors program. He was appointed as Interim Dean of Health Sciences at Everett Community College in 2012 and then served as Dean of STEM at Edmonds Community College until 2015.
Stern held the position of Vice President of Instruction at Lake Washington Institute of Technology starting in 2015. There, he supported development of 18 new degrees, including applied baccalaureates; expanded International and Running Start (Concurrent Enrollment) programs; helped implement Guided Pathways and other student success initiatives, including Four Connections and Supplemental Instruction; and expanded Open Educational Resources. He also egged on development and use of data dashboards to inform program review, decision-making and vetting of initiatives and projects. Stern sat on the Board of Directors for Washington MESA, an organization dedicated to helping students from underrepresented populations enter and succeed in STEM career educational pathways. He has worked to narrow and close equity gaps at LWTech.
Dr. Stern has been extremely engaged in his externally-facing role as well, including legislative advocacy, K-12 relationship-building, fundraising and partnering with trade associations and industry leaders to develop innovative cooperative learning models and support the economic well-being of the college’s catchment area. He has also partnered with sister Institutes of Technology in British Columbia and Oregon and with other community colleges in Western Washington to expand opportunities for students through consortia, like LWTech’s NSF-funded NW App Connect program--to promote Applied Baccalaureates in Software Development to tech companies desperate for developers but familiar only with Computer Science degrees.
Dr. John C. Hernandez was appointed President of Irvine Valley College (IVC) in July 2020. Reporting to the SOCCCD Chancellor, his responsibilities include providing leadership in the development of a sustainable master plan; developing and monitoring the college budget and ensuring resources are allocated efficiently; supporting learning, teaching, and student success; ensuring optimum services are offered in all areas of student life; providing leadership in the development of a comprehensive enrollment management plan; and working with district and college administrators and leaders of the Academic and Classified Senates to establish and achieve institutional goals.
Dr. Hernandez previously served as President of Santiago Canyon College (SCC) from July 2017 to 2020. The year prior to his appointment, he served in the role on an interim basis. In both roles, he provided leadership in institutional planning, allocation of fiscal resources, human resources, facilities, and the delivery of educational programs and services to advance student learning and success.
Over the years, Dr. Hernandez has served in various leadership roles within the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), a national professional association for student affairs educators. In 2015, he completed a three-year term on the Governing Board, representing senior student affairs officers and chairing the Senior Student Affairs Officer Advisory Board. Additionally, he has served on the faculty of ACPA’s Institute for Aspiring Senior Student Affairs Officers and the Donna M. Bourassa Mid-Level Management Institute.
Dr. Hernandez earned his PhD in college student personnel administration from the University of Maryland in College Park; a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in student development in higher education from Cal State Long Beach; a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Cal State Fullerton; and an Associate in Arts degree at Fullerton College.
As a first-generation immigrant and a product of the California community college system, Dr. Hernandez knows the impact of a college education firsthand. His educational journey was positively shaped as an EOP&S student at Fullerton College, and he is a living testament of how lives are transformed through education.
28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Ann-Marie Gabel is the Vice Chancellor of Business Services at South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD), where she oversees all district business departments including fiscal services, accounting, payroll, facilities planning and purchasing, and warehouse and mailroom services. She provides leadership for all partnership negotiations related to the Advanced Technology and Education Park, and chairs the district’s committees responsible for developing procedures for the allocation of general fund resources and reviewing board policies and administrative regulations.
Previously, Ms. Gabel was the executive vice president of finance, facilities, and technology services at Long Beach City College (LBCC), where she started in 2007 as the vice president of administrative services. During her tenure at LBCC she also held the positions of interim vice president of student support services and acting superintendent-president. Previously, she worked in the fiscal departments at Rancho Santiago Community College District and North Orange County Community College District. Ms. Gabel, a certified public accountant, started her career as an auditor with Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman, LLP (currently known as Clifton Larsen Allen), where she worked with several community colleges and K-12 districts.
Ms. Gabel is active in several state organizations in support of community colleges. In 2018, she was appointed by Governor Brown to the Student Centered Funding Formula (SCFF) Oversight Committee. She is the president of the Statewide Association of Community Colleges (SWACC), a joint powers authority which is responsible for property and liability insurance. Ms. Gabel is the past president for the Association of Chief Business Officials (ACBO), and is the chair of that organization’s Facilities Advisory Committee. She is also co-chair of the state chancellor’s Advisory Workgroup on Fiscal Affairs.
Ms. Gabel earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Fullerton, and a master’s degree in educational management from the University of La Verne.
28000 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Dr. Cindy Vyskocil is the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD), where she serves as the district’s chief human resources officer chief and negotiator while also overseeing all aspects of labor relations and employment services. With over 30 years of service in the public sector, including 23 years in community college administration, Dr. Vyskocil is well-known for her experienced human resources leadership at both multi-college and single-college districts.
Before joining SOCCCD, Dr. Vyskocil was the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at Coast Community College District, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Long Beach Community College District, and Director of Equity and Diversity at North Orange County Community College District, respectively. She began her career serving in the Orange County Superior Court system as the Manager of Traffic and Minor Offenses before transitioning into higher education administration.
Dr. Vyskocil served as the president of the Association of Chief Human Resource Officers (ACHRO) from 2018-2019. She also served two years as the Chair of the Equal Employment Diversity and Equity Consortium for the southern region and was a recipient of the California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability Administrator of the Year Award. She currently serves as the Chair of the Human Resources Committee for the Statewide Association of Community Colleges (SWACC).
Dr. Vyskocil holds a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of California, Irvine; a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Fullerton; and two Bachelor’s degrees – one in Justice Studies and one in Telecommunications – from Arizona State University.
28000 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Dr. Chris McDonald is the Vice Chancellor of Educational & Technology Services for the South Orange County Community College District, where he oversees all educational programs and services offered in the District. In this capacity, Dr. McDonald provides leadership and coordination in enrollment management and distance education programs; technology services for academic and administrative functions; grant development; research functions related to compliance reporting and student outcomes; coordinating program relationships with colleges, universities, local high schools, and regional occupational programs; coordinating workforce preparation programs in cooperation with regional businesses/industry; and chairing committees and task forces that address areas including academic calendar, accreditation, district planning, online education, sabbaticals, and the student information system.
Previously, Dr. McDonald served as the Vice President for Instruction (VPI) at Irvine Valley College. His experience in education includes serving as an Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness (AVP) and Dean of Mathematics, Science and Engineering at Saddleback College. In addition, Dr. McDonald served as Department Chair for Mathematics and Computer Science, and an Executive Board Member of both the Academic Senate and Faculty Association at Mt. San Antonio College. Dr. McDonald has been a lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona and served as a high school mathematics teacher. Prior to entering the education arena, Dr. McDonald was a programmer and information technology supervisor.
Dr. McDonald earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern California.