José Nuñez Receives Leadership Achievement Award from California College Facility Coalition

At its annual conference in November, the California College Facility Coalition (CCFC) presented its Paul Holmes Facilities Leadership Achievement Award to Jose Nuñez, Vice Chancellor of Facilities Planning, Maintenance & Operations. The award is given each year to a state community college facilities leader who demonstrates a commitment and dedication to the organization’s mission and vision of enhancing facilities for the students of California’s community colleges.

In the awards presentation, Nuñez was recognized by his peers for his accomplishments at the District as well as his impact across the state. They cited his mentorship of many successful community college facilities professionals, his support of talent within his own organization, and for creating networks for sharing and problem-solving across districts. According to CCFC, Nuñez was the first to utilize the design-build project delivery method in Northern California and has been a leader in sustainability and the COVID-19 response. 

The District’s Facilities Planning, Maintenance and Operations team operates under a “Facilities Excellence” philosophy, and colleagues across the District are familiar with his “Team Work  =  One Team!” mantra.

Nuñez served 22 years with the U.S. Army, retiring as a major.  During his military career, Major Nuñez served in numerous infantry and foreign assignments around the world.

Daman Grewal Becomes District Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

After a comprehensive search process and final approval from the Board of Trustees, Daman Grewal was named District Chief Technology Officer (CTO).  The Chancellor announced the appointment to District employees on November 2.

Grewal oversees the District’s Information Technology Services (ITS) office, which includes 30 staff working at the three colleges and the District Office. He and his team are responsible for providing students and employees with business technology, learning management systems, databases, communications systems, websites, phone, computers, and many other essential tools for supporting the District’s educational mission. 

“Daman is a well-experienced professional with exceptional knowledge, skills and abilities to lead teams, build consensus, and provide sound guidance and advice and to facilitate processes that engage stakeholders from across the District,” Chancellor Claire said in his announcement. “I am confident that he will continue to serve the District well in his role as our Chief Technology Officer.”

Prior to joining the District as a contract employee with Strata Information Group in 2019, Grewal held many senior IT roles in higher education, including as Chief Information Technology Officer at City College of San Francisco, Chief Information Officer at the Cal State Maritime Academy, Director of Technical Services at Ohlone Community College District, and an IT Services Manager at Stanford University.  He received a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Delhi University (India) and an MBA from the University of Lincoln (England).

Cañada College and Skyline College Vice Presidents Earn Top State Award

The Carter Doran Leadership Award is given annually to honor leaders in community college instruction

California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers (CCCCIO) has bestowed its top award on two vice presidents from the San Mateo County Community College District. Dr. Tammy Robinson, Vice President of Instruction at Cañada College in Redwood City, and Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Vice President of Instruction at Skyline College in San Bruno, were honored with the statewide Carter Dolan Chief Instructional Officer Leadership Award at CCCCIO’s virtual conference last week.  The award recognizes an active instructional administrator who exemplifies leadership by showing qualities that Carter Doran embodied in his role as teacher/dean at Mt. San Antonio and Vice President of Instruction at Santa Ana and College of the Canyons.

“Dr. Robinson and Dr. Taylor-Mendoza have exemplified courageous leadership and embody the spirit of the Carter Doran Leadership award,” said CCCCIO President Dr. Jennifer Vega La Serna. “They have led with heart, demonstrated creativity, shown sustained commitment to addressing instructional challenges, and together have made a profound impact on their colleges and the entire California Community College System.”

Also honored with the award was Dr. Stacy Thompson, Vice President of Academic Services at Chabot College in Hayward. The three vice presidents worked together in 2020 to lead an examination of equity gaps and structural racism in the California community college system.

 “Dr. Robinson and Dr. Taylor-Mendoza are truly exceptional leaders, with vision and strength that have not only facilitated transformation at Cañada College and Skyline College but have also sparked action across the state community college system,” said San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Michael Claire. “I am so proud of them and their  colleagues statewide for their swift action on behalf of our students.”

Dr. Robinson was cited for rallying her statewide chief instructional officer colleagues to action after the murder of George Floyd earlier this year. She helped to organize state instructional leaders’ Call to Action town halls, and she has been a strong voice for institutional change. She has spoken at a number of statewide events on campus climate, equity and workforce development.

Dr. Tammy Robinson, Vice President of Instruction, Cañada College

Dr. Robinson, along with Dr. Thompson, created, planned, facilitated and presented at the inaugural African American Leadership Institute. She is past president of the Western Regional Council on Black American Affairs and currently serves as the organization’s Vice President of Development.


Dr. Taylor-Mendoza serves as the chief instructional officers’ representative to the State Chancellor’s Office Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) implementation workgroup. She is also the chair of the newly created CCCCIO DEI Steering Committee, bringing together seven chief instructional officers to serve as strategy leads.

Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Vice President of Instruction, Skyline College

Dr. Taylor-Mendoza is also a co-author of the book “Minding the Obligation Gap in Community Colleges: Theory and Practice in Achieving Educational Equity.” The book has been shared nationally and locally and has become a resource for colleges in addressing the equity gaps that have become even more evident during the current pandemic.

Free Drive-Up Wi-Fi Now Available for SMCCCD Students

The San Mateo County Community College District now offers free Wi-Fi access for students at all three campuses. The new “Drive-Up Wi-Fi” service allows students to park in a specially designated parking lot on the campus of their choice, where they can access Wi-Fi to attend online classes or do schoolwork.

The program was made possible by an all-District team of staff and administrators who have been working to design a system that provides convenient student Wi-Fi access while maintaining District health and safety requirements during the pandemic.

Reservations are required. Students can pick the campus most convenient to them, fill out the Eventbrite reservation form, print or download their Eventbrite ticket, and follow the instructions. Restrooms are available. Students have in/out privileges for the Drive-Up Wi-Fi lot between 6am – 8pm.

Drive-Up Wi-Fi Website/Reservations

Student Drive-Up Wi-Fi Hours
Cañada College:
Monday – Friday, 6 am – 8 pm

College of San Mateo:
Monday – Saturday (except Fridays), 6 am – 8 pm

Skyline College:
Monday – Friday (except Wednesdays), 6 am – 8 pm

Student Drive-Up Wi-Fi Rules

  • Review COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if you are sick 
  • Make a reservation on Eventbrite and bring your ticket to campus
  • Check in at the Public Safety Access Point
  • Drive to the Wi-Fi lot and park in any space with a GREEN cone
  • Only members of the same household in each vehicle
  • All vehicle occupants must remain in the vehicle except to use restrooms
  • Read and follow all rules on your Eventbrite ticket
  • Abide by the Student Code of Ethics

For more information, please see the District Drive-Up Wi-Fi website.  

San Mateo County Community College District Courses Remain Mainly Online for Spring 2021 Term

The three colleges of the San Mateo County Community College District – Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College – will continue to hold courses in online and distance education modalities, as well as provide most student services remotely, through the end of the Spring 2021 semester. The San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees formally ratified the decision in their meeting on Sept. 23.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt higher education along with every other sector,” said SMCCCD Chancellor Mike Claire. “This decision allows our employees to plan ahead for a successful spring semester, and it lets students know what to expect. Staying online is the best way to keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe.”

The Board’s decision was based on the recommendation of the Chancellor and supported by a recommendation from the District Academic Senate. Faculty, staff and students have expressed a need to have as much time as possible to plan for the spring term.

Most employees will also continue to work remotely through May 2021.

In-person instruction will continue for certain essential infrastructure sectors–healthcare, emergency services, and transportation fields, as well as critical STEM labs in key transfer areas, and to meet licensing requirements for career education programs–in order to train first responders and healthcare workers to address urgent community needs and to provide direct pathways to employment. Due to criteria set by the State that include requirements for social distancing, classroom/lab sanitization procedures, and other health precautions, the number of people at SMCCCD campuses will be kept at a minimum.

During summer 2020, Colleges provided a massive professional development program to train instructors in online education. Approximately 600 college faculty participated, as well as dual enrollment faculty, faculty instructors, and other support staff. The training program was supported by more than $1.4 million in Federal CARES Act funding as well as District funds.

The District has launched a number of programs to help students cope with the ongoing crisis. Drive-Up WiFi service is available six days a week to help students attend online classes and complete their schoolwork. In a partnership with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, the District now offers free food distribution on Wednesdays at Skyline College, and Fridays at College of San Mateo. The District is distributing more than $4.2 million in federal CARES Act funding to students to assist with financial challenges. The three Colleges have been distributing loaner Chromebooks, WiFi hotspots and other supplies to students. Healthcare services are available via telemedicine free of charge to students.

SMCCCD International Education Program Honored with Prestigious National Award from U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the San Mateo County Community College District’s International Education program – San Mateo Colleges of Silicon Valley – has been awarded the U.S. government’s highest honor for export success.  Secretary Ross conferred on the program The President’s “E” Award, which was first established by President Kennedy in 1961, for contributions to American export growth.  The SMCCCD program is the only educational institution among the 28 companies and businesses nationwide honored with this year’s prestigious award.

“It is an honor to receive The President’s “E” Award and be recognized for the tremendous work our team has done to grow and support our international educational program,” said SMCCCD Chancellor Michael Claire.  “We believe that engaging international students to come and study at our colleges enriches the culture, education and diversity of our campuses and our community. This award is further validation of that belief.”

From 2015 to 2019, the SMCCCD’s International Education Program served more than 6,500 students from 135 countries.  In recent months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international program has pivoted its offerings to increase access for international students from the convenience of their home country.  Through enhanced online classes, programs and support services, international students are able to enroll at the colleges of the SMCCCD – Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College – through the District’s Global Online Learning (GOL) initiative. 

“We are thrilled that our Global Online Learning program has been recognized for its reach from Silicon Valley to parts across the globe, while emphasizing local connections and support for students,” said Dr. Jing Luan, Provost for International Education and leader of the District’s San Mateo Colleges of Silicon Valley.  “As we diversify our delivery methods and bring our classrooms to students’ homes across the world, we expect greater opportunities for learning and success for all students.”

For more information on the international education program, visit smccd.edu/international.

San Mateo County Launches Partnership to Support Equity in Middle School Math Education

The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) and the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) announced today the development of a new series of courses designed to promote greater equity in mathematics education. The courses, offered in partnership with Education Trust-West, will provide educators with an integrated approach to mathematics that centers on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students in grades 6-8, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards.

Equity gaps for historically disadvantaged student groups are well documented. In the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) administration, 17 percent of Black/African American and 24.2 percent of Hispanic/Latino 8th graders met the Math standard, compared to 73.9 percent of Asian students and 51.6 percent of White students. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a national test of student performance, California’s students are 4 percent points below the national average, with Black, Hispanic, Low Income, Students with Disabilities, and English Learners performing in the lowest performance band (NAEP basic).

Responding to this glaring need to improve math outcomes for all students, SMCOE, SMCCCD, and Education Trust-West gathered instructional designers, math experts, teachers, and teacher-trainers to design and deliver the online series of classes. The program is based on Education Trust-West’s toolkit, A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, which addresses gaps in student outcomes with activities for uncovering bias and strategies for infusing antiracist pedagogy.

The training will address methods for deepening content understanding and relevance; creating environments and practices that support students’ social, emotional, and academic development; and strengthening the interconnectedness of English language learning and the development of mathematical thinking.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Community College District and Education Trust-West on this critical initiative,” explained San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. “It is only by working together, especially across systems, that we can accelerate success for all students.”

The series launches today on October 27, 2020, and includes a set of short courses held once a week over five weeks. In this first offering, SMCOE and SMCCCD, through its Community, Continuing & Corporate Education (CCCE) division, anticipate training up to 200 middle school teachers. The California Partnership for Math and Science Education will organize special groups to provide follow-up support and give teachers the opportunity to speak with each other about their work implementing the toolkit.

With this training series, SMCOE and SMCCCD build on their experience designing and delivering training for teachers on distance learning throughout the summer and early fall. That training, which is still in demand, has equipped 20 percent of San Mateo County educators with the skills not only to teach online, but also design lessons, conduct assessments, keep students engaged, and communicate effectively.

For more information on this partnership, please visit the Micro-Course website.

District Launches Workforce Development and Job Training Website

The San Mateo County Community College District’s new workforce development and training portal, smccd.edu/workforce, offers critical job training and small business resources on one convenient website. Designed to help address the workforce crisis caused by COVID-19 in the Bay Area, the website launched this week. 

“Our community college team of dedicated workforce, entrepreneurship and training professionals stands ready to help San Mateo County thrive during these challenging times,” said Michael Claire, chancellor of the community college district. “We are ready to respond to the needs of the community, including job-seekers and businesses, and we are here for you.”

Help for Job Seekers
At smccd.edu/workforce, job seekers can find easy access to training programs for a number of careers that promise strong growth and stability in the Bay Area. Programs include UX design, human resources, child development, cyber-security, optician, facilities maintenance, cloud computing, project management, digital marketing and sales operations. Job seekers can choose  full and short-term academic and workforce programs, and can access career opportunities and coaching to prepare, apply and interview for positions.

Help for Small Businesses
Small businesses and entrepreneurs are especially hard-hit in this pandemic, so smccd.edu/workforce offers tools to help small businesses and entrepreneurs adapt and stay afloat during these critical times. The Small Business Recovery & Assistance Program offers virtual services including business management guidance, technical and targeted business assistance, networking, one-on-one consulting, job shadow opportunities, coaching and workshops. 

Help with Corporate Training
The smccd.edu/workforce website also connects companies to training programs for existing employees. Local employers can take advantage of numerous expert-led online workshop series including Working & Connecting Remotely, Leading & Managing Remotely, Business Writing, Work From Home Technology, Cross-Cultural Competency, and Diversity & Inclusion. Other services include executive coaching and workshops as well as customized training for leaders and teams in any type of organization.  

The Workforce Development and Training Web Portal was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on San Mateo County community members, entrepreneur and businesses. SMCCCD formed a task force of partners included workforce, training and entrepreneurial leaders from Cañada College, College of San Mateo, Skyline College, the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center (BAEC), and Community, Continuing & Corporate Education (CCCE). The task force has initiated a county-wide marketing campaign to build local awareness.

Learn more at smccd.edu/workforce.

San Mateo County Opens Public COVID-19 Testing Site at College of San Mateo

San Mateo County has launched a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at the College of San Mateo campus. Located in upper Hillsdale Lot 1 at CSM, the site is open to the public and replaces the previous testing location at the San Mateo County Event Center.

Testing hours:
Sundays–Thursdays, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Through January 31, 2022

Testing location:
Upper Hillsdale Lot 1 at College of San Mateo
1700 West Hillsdale Drive, San Mateo CA 94402

The test is free but an appointment is required.

The tests are conducted with a nasal swab and results provided within 24–72 hours. The site has the capacity to test 1,000 people per day. Testing services are provided by OptumServe, the federal health business of Optum and UnitedHealth Group.


Special Hours for SMCCCD Employees and Students
Special time blocks have been reserved exclusively for San Mateo County Community College District students, staff, and faculty on Sundays–Thursdays from 10–11 am and 3–4 pm.

Additional Details:

  • You must remain in your vehicle at all times.
  • Portable restrooms will be available for your use.
  • The test is no-cost to you but your insurance will be billed if available (please have your insurance information ready).

Make an appointment online:

  1. Visit the Logistics Health COVID-19 Testing website
  2. Select “California” from the dropdown menu
  3. Select “Get Started”
  4. Follow registration steps to create an account
  5. Log in to your account
  6. Choose a testing location
  7. Schedule an appointment
    Note: Appointments for children under 13 cannot be made online and must be made by calling the LHI Call Center.

Make an appointment by phone
Call the LHI Call Center at (888) 634-1123 to make an appointment by phone.

Getting Your COVID-19 Test

  1. Attend your scheduled testing appointment
  2. On-location staff will check you in
  3. Staff will conduct nasal swab test and send sample to the lab
  4. Notification will be provided when your results are ready and available on LHI.Care within 24-72 hours.

For information on all testing locations in San Mateo County, see www.smcgov.org/testing.

For information on the San Mateo County Community College District response to COVID-19, see covid-19.smccd.edu.