SMCCCD Students Rally for Free Community College

On September 22, in a ceremony held at Cañada College, students and leaders from throughout San Mateo County rallied in support of Senate Bill 893.

Written as a pilot program for San Mateo County, SB 893 would allow for the San Mateo County Community College District to operate a program that will pay the tuition and enrollment fees for students from underrepresented and marginalized communities. With the Governor’s signing of the bill, SMCCCD will be able to expand its free community college initiative and Promise Scholars Program from its current total of 2,200 students to nearly 6,000 students.

“After meeting with community college leaders in my district, it became clear to me that State action was needed in order to make college accessible to everyone seeking an education in San Mateo County. This is a big idea, and one that I believe SB 893 will address,” said Josh Becker, State Senator (D-Menlo Park). “San Mateo County Community College District advised me that state law requires colleges to charge almost $1,500 per year in tuition and fees for full time students. If the Governor signs SB 893, we will be able to build a bridge and provide opportunities that will help close the achievement gap here in San Mateo County. It is my hope that this bill will help families use community college as a stepping stone to improving their economic mobility and their future.”

No stranger to the concept of free community college, in 2021, SMCCCD’s Board of Trustees invested $6.75 million into developing their initial Free Community College Initiative, and an additional $6 million has been allocated in the District’s 2022-23 budget to implement SB893. Through that investment, SMCCCD has been able to create a dual enrollment program with local high schools, book vouchers, and assists student with basic needs, including food and transportation.

“As a college district, it is our core mission to ensure that every resident of our community has access to educational opportunities,” said Richard Holober, President, San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees. “On behalf of our college district family, I would like to thank Senator Becker for his partnership and willingness to support students in our community who are working to make their dreams a reality.”

Join Us on Sept. 22 for a Community Celebration to Support Free Community College

You are invited to a community celebration in support of Free Community College in San Mateo County, through Senate Bill 893, which is authored by Sen. Josh Becker and co-authored by Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Marc Berman.

This bill has been passed by both chambers of the California Legislature and awaits the Governor’s signature.

SB 893 will allow the San Mateo County Community College District to use its existing local funds to pay for enrollment fees, books, educational materials and supplies, and basic needs costs such as transportation, food and housing for students most in need.  Current law restricts the use of general fund dollars for such items, and SB 893 will make college more accessible and affordable in San Mateo County.

DATE:               Thursday, September 22, 2022

TIME:                 11:00 a.m.

LOCATION:       Cañada College | 4200 Farm Hill Blvd. | Redwood City, CA | Outdoors at the Amphitheatre (Between Bldgs. 3, 9 and 13)

Parking:         Lots 2, 5 and 6

Please RSVP at this link or by emailing Candice Bell at

Chancellor Search 2022

The Board of Trustees has embarked on a nationwide search for a new Chancellor to lead the San Mateo County Community College District. The Board has identified a screening committee to lead this search and has published a position announcement and timeline available to the community. Please visit this page for future updates.

Public Hearing on Adoption of Budget

The San Mateo County Community College District will hold a public hearing on the proposed Budget for fiscal year 2022-23 on September 8, 2022, at 6:00 pm, at the San Mateo County Community College District, 3401 CSM Drive San Mateo, CA 94402.

The meeting agenda will be posted on the District website on September 2, 2022. A copy of the proposed budget can be accessed electronically at this link and will be available for public examination at the above location from September 2 to September 9, between the hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and posted on the District website.

Contact Peter Fitzsimmons,, 650 358-6778, to request a printed or electronic copy.

Public members or stakeholders may request to comment at the public hearing on the proposed budget or any item therein, by following the Instructions for public comment found in the meeting agenda.

Chancellor Search Virtual Town Hall

San Mateo County Community College District has begun the search for the next Chancellor and welcomes public input.

The community is invited to attend a virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, and provide comments regarding the hiring of the next Chancellor. The District will share information regarding the hiring process and timeline, allow time for questions and answers, and, most importantly, gather input on the ideal characteristics of the next Chancellor.

If community members are unable to attend a virtual town hall, comments can be recorded by completing the anonymous Chancellor Search Feedback Form at this link:

Please see the details for the virtual town hall:
Chancellor Search Virtual Town Hall
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM

Zoom Link:

District Seeking Housing Board Members

The San Mateo County Community College District is seeking community applications for membership on the District’s Educational Housing Corporation Board of Directors.

The District owns and operates 134 housing units at its College of San Mateo, Cañada College and Skyline College campuses, which are available to faculty and staff within the District.  Employees are eligible to live in these units for up to seven years and are strongly encouraged to save the money from their reduced rent to apply toward a down payment to buy housing in the area or for future housing needs.  The District also has a second loan program for homebuyers that will supplement the employees’ down payment savings up to $150,000 and a closing cost grant for $1,000.

The Educational Housing Corporation Board of Directors is charged with overseeing the employee housing program and setting policies and managing operations that further the program’s goals of providing affordable housing options to allow for the recruitment and retention of District employees.  The Board serves in a volunteer capacity and is comprised of District stakeholders and community experts.


The District is seeking individuals who have expertise in residential property management/operations, legal and/or financial experience in housing-related issues, or closely related experiences.


Individuals interested in being appointed to the Educational Housing Corporation Board should submit a letter of interest to the District’s Board of Trustees and include:

  1. Statement of interest in serving on the Housing Board, including relevant experience.
  2. Brief biography/resume of professional work.

For priority consideration, letters of interest should be received by September 2, 2022, via email to

QUESTIONS: Contact Mitchell Bailey via email at or by calling 650-574-6510.


July 18, 2022

In accordance with Government Code Section 3547(d), on July 18, 2022, the San Mateo Community College District presented to the California School Employees Association and its San Mateo CCCD Chapter 33 (CSEA) a proposal containing a new subject of bargaining relating to Article 4 – Organizational Rights bringing it into compliance with recent changes in the law and clarifying release time for bargaining unit members. 

It is the intention of the San Mateo Community College District to meet and bargain in good faith with CSEA over this issue, in addition to other articles that have been sunshined by the parties.

Chancellor Michael Claire Announces Retirement Plan

San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Michael E. Claire has announced that he will retire from his position and from the District in June 2023, at the end of the 2023 academic year.  Claire assumed the role of Chancellor in 2020, after serving for a year as interim chancellor, and the prior 13 years as president of College of San Mateo.

In a letter to the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) employees, Claire explained his plans: “I will have completed a total of 37 years with our District when I retire next year. At a personal level it is the right time for me to step away, spend more time with my family, and pursue other interests in my life.  I also feel that it is the right time for the District.  As chancellor I have focused on steadying the District, maintaining forward progress on important initiatives, and building a new team, all while steering the District through a major pandemic.”

Claire’s history with the SMCCCD began 42 years ago, while a student at Cañada College.  He later went on to be a professor, dean, vice president and college president, all within the SMCCCD, prior to becoming chancellor.

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the amazing journey our colleges allowed me to experience,” notes Claire of his career in the District.  “I leave with the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to a place I have called home for over 40 years, but also with the confidence of knowing that our community college district is stronger than it has ever been.”

Claire will continue in his role through June 2023 and the District’s Board of Trustees will hold initial discussions about the search process for a new chancellor at an upcoming meeting.

Community Invited to Participate in Facilities Masterplan Forums

The San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) is undertaking the development of our Districtwide Facilities Master Plan (FMP). Please join us for a series of virtual community meetings to learn more about this effort at Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College.

The District has completed their review of previously completed physical assessments and analysis, site visits, multiple meetings with College’s stakeholders, departments, students, and thecommunity. They have identified and incorporated educational needs, identified issues that require creative solutions, reviewed the options with our College communities, and identified the viable solutions that will comprise the 2022 FMP.

Register to Join Our Community Forums to Share Your Thoughts on San Mateo County Community College District Campus Facilities

*Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for questions and feedback.

Kim Lopez Named as Next Cañada College President

San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Michael Claire has announced that he is recommending Kim Lopez as the next president of Cañada College.  The District’s Board of Trustees will take formal action on Lopez’s appointment at their May 11, 2022 meeting.  Ms. Lopez has served as interim president of Cañada College since August 1, 2021. 

“I have had the pleasure of working with Kim Lopez for several years and in several capacities,” said Claire.  “I know her to be a leader of integrity and compassion with values that align to put students first and create a college environment that is equitable, diverse, inclusive and anti-racist. I am confident that she will lead Cañada College into a new era of success and commitment to the community.”

Though serving in a new role at Cañada College, Ms. Lopez is not new to the campus.  She originally joined the college as dean of enrollment services and counseling and later became vice president of student services before moving to College of San Mateo (CSM) in 2017.  At CSM, Ms. Lopez served as vice president of student services and later as acting and interim president following the appointment of then-president Michael Claire as interim and permanent chancellor of the San Mateo County Community College District.  Prior to joining the SMCCCD, Ms. Lopez previously served three years as the Assistant Dean of Students at the University of California, San Diego and for two years as the Upward Bound (TRIO) director at the College of Micronesia on the island of Kosrae.  She also worked at the College of the Siskiyous for 13 years as a counselor and student services director.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve Cañada College and our broader community in my new role as president of this great institution,” said Ms. Lopez.  “As a second generation Mexican-American, I know the challenges many of our students face as they work to gain access to a higher education so they can gain economic and social mobility.  I am excited to work with our community to support the students and families who need us and to make Cañada College an indispensable partner of businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and all groups who support students and higher education.”

Ms. Lopez currently serves on the JobTrain Board of Directors, Chamber San Mateo County Education Committee and as an Executive Team member for Redwood City Together.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in educational counseling from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Ms. Lopez will start her permanent role as president on July 1.  Her selection is subject to approval of a written contract, the terms of which will be available for public review prior to the Board’s meeting on May 11, 2022.