After a nationwide search, Cuesta College’s Board of Trustees have selected Dr. Jill Stearns as Cuesta College’s seventh superintendent/president. Dr. Stearns’ contract is set to officially be approved at the April 11 Board of Trustees meeting.

“Dr. Stearns is the right leader at the right time in Cuesta College’s history,” said Cuesta College Board of Trustees President Dr. Barbara George.

“She is an experienced president of community colleges, and recommended as a transformational and strategic leader. Dr. Stearns is driven by a student-centered focus, and her breadth and depth of experience is a good fit for Cuesta College. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Stearns as the next superintendent/president of Cuesta College.”

Dr. Stearns has served as president of Modesto Junior College since July of 2012. Previously, she served as the vice president of educational services, the interim associate dean of student learning outcomes, and director of financial aid at West Hills College. Dr. Stearns also spent three years in the classroom as a teacher at Avenal High School.

“I am thrilled to join the amazing team at Cuesta College,” said Dr. Stearns, who earned a Doctorate Degree in Education/Community College Leadership from Walden University, a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology at National University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Cal Poly. “Cuesta College shares my commitment to inclusivity, integrity, respect, participatory governance, and student success. The excellent instructional programs and commitment to student success make Cuesta a great place for students to begin their educational journey. In addition, it is a privilege to be selected to follow in the footsteps of current Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees and serving the students of Cuesta College and the communities of San Luis Obispo County.”

Under Dr. Stearns’ leadership, Modesto Junior College transformed from an accreditation sanction of probation to a fully restored accreditation status. Modesto Junior College is also one of 15 California community colleges selected to pilot a baccalaureate degree program, and the college was selected to apply for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Dr. Stearns was recognized as a National University Distinguished Alumni in 2017 and received the 2002/03 West Hills Community College Employee of the Year Award.

In addition to strong leadership skills, Dr. Stearns brings an awareness of San Luis Obispo County to the job. “Having lived in four areas of SLO County previously - San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and Atascadero – I know the characteristics that make the area unique. I have a strong desire to return and serve the area. I am committed to improving the quality of life and the economic well-being of the diverse residents and communities in Cuesta College’s service area.”

Dr. Stearns will assume the role of superintendent/president on July 1, 2018.

Current Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork announced his retirement in August of 2017. Employed at Cuesta College for more than 50 years, Dr. Stork is the college’s longest serving employee. He has led the college since 2010, and will officially retire on June 30, 2018. For more information about Dr. Stork, please see this press release announcing his retirement.

For questions, please call the Cuesta College Human Resources Department at (805) 546-3129.