Melissa Moreno, J.D., Named Permanent Chancellor of SMCCCD

Second woman to serve as permanent chancellor in the District’s century-plus history after Dr. Lois Callahan, who retired in 1997.

Following a national search, the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) Board of Trustees announced their unanimous decision to select Melissa Moreno, J.D., as the next permanent Chancellor of SMCCCD, with an anticipated start date of April 25, 2024. 

“Chancellor Moreno is an innovative, dynamic, and collaborative leader who brings a strong vision for the future grounded by a demonstrated record of achievements,” said Board President John Pimentel. “Chancellor Moreno is an effective advocate for free community college for all San Mateo County residents. She’ll work closely with the board to prioritize improving student access, extend recent enrollment gains, and engage proactively with existing community organizations to reach communities who can improve their economic and career prospects through SMCCCD.”

Moreno has served as the District’s Interim Chancellor since April 2023. She has extensive executive-level experience with more than 18 years of progressive leadership roles in the community college system, beginning with the Santa Barbara Community College District. While there, she was the founding director of the national award-winning Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Dean of the Business Division, and Vice President of the School of Extended Learning. 

She joined San Mateo County Community College District in 2020 as President of Skyline College and provided steady leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I am honored to have been selected to lead the San Mateo County Community College District and am grateful to the Board of Trustees for their trust and confidence,” said Moreno. “As a former California community college student, I deeply respect the transformational power that community colleges hold to change lives. I am committed to a vision that centers the needs of our students and ensures educational opportunities for families and their children in our communities that are historically marginalized and least likely to go to college.”

Moreno’s visionary track record will ensure the District continues to grow student enrollment, maintain fiscal health, build student housing, and meet local workforce needs with a focus on closing equity gaps within the region. 

Moreno holds a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctorate from Santa Barbara College of Law. 

Chancellor Moreno’s appointment is pending the final ratification of her employment contract, which will be considered at the Board of Trustees meeting on April 24, 2024.