With 23 years of experience and counting, Carlos Osvaldo Cortez has had the opportunity to educate and work with thousands of students across varying walks of life. Carlos has a passion for working with underserved, ethnically diverse student populations from primarily low-income communities and strives to help the world understand that diversity in education is extremely important while also helping provide these students with the tools and resources they need in order to succeed in life. Carlos currently serves as the Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, located in San Diego, California. SDCCE, where Carlos has served as president, is one of four divisions of the San Diego Community College District and is also the eleventh largest institution out of 116 in the California Community College system. Carlos also holds adjunct faculty positions in varying prestigious universities across the country such as New York University and John Hopkins University.
During his time as an educator, Carlos Osvaldo Cortez has been involved in various academic research projects, many of which focus on his particular interest in the role of educators and administrators of color in the historical development of American social welfare and education policy. Some of Carlos’ most recent academic research allowed him to look into topics such as black female educator-activists in social welfare reform in Los Angeles during the golden age of the black power movement as well as the past, present, and future of Adult Noncredit Education in California, to name a few. Much of his research has led Carlos to be recognized by various groups, such as the Association of California Community College Administrators who awarded him with the Martes Award for Excellence in Research in 2017 as well as the RP group and Planning Project award in 2018. Carlos Osvaldo Cortez has also received other awards for his work as a leader in education such as the San Diego County Office of Education Lighthouse Award in 2020 and the Teach for Innovation McGrory Award for Innovative Alumni Leadership in 2019, to name a few.
Before beginning his career in education, Carlos Osvaldo Cortez attended college at Georgetown University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology. From there Carlos attended New York University and the University of Southern California, where he earned a master’s degree in Race and Gender Politics and became a doctor of philosophy in Education Policy Administration, respectively. Each of these degrees focused on African American feminist political history. During his time in the field, Carlos Osvaldo Cortez has acted as a member of the Teach for America Corps, served as the principal of New Village Charter School in Los Angeles as well as assistant principal of special education services at Grape Street Elementary School, and acted as vice president of instruction at Berkeley City College before earning his role as the president of SDCE.