The Contra Costa Community College District recently announced the three finalists for the next permanent chancellor. In the coming weeks, they will go before the public in a bid for the position. 

Given an hour each, the finalists — Santanu Bandyopadhyay, Mojdeh Mehdizadeh and Carlos Cortez — will speak with students, college faculty and staff and the community at large in person at the district’s office in Martinez and virtually via Zoom on Nov. 6. Those interested in participating are invited to submit questions and provide input. 

“The governing board appreciates the work of the selection committee to forward three qualified candidates for the permanent chancellor position,” said district Governing Board president Fernando Sandoval. “We look forward to meeting and hearing from the candidates. We also encourage our community to participate in the public forums so we can consider their input before making a final decision.” 

Meet the finalists

A first-generation immigrant, Bandyopadhyay earned his master’s of business administration and doctor of philosophy degrees at Ohio University after a career in teaching and market research in India. 

Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay is one of three finalists for the next permanent Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) Chancellor. The Governing Board is expected to appoint the next permanent Chancellor on December 13, 2023.(4CD via Pagransen)

From 2018 to 2023, he served as the president of Columbia College and Modesto Junior College, both within Yosemite Community College District. According to a release from the Contra Costa district, Bandyopadhyay has “demonstrated success in the areas of innovative use of technology to improve teaching and learning; partnership development with educational institutions, businesses and industries; bond-funded construction projects; labor negotiations; and fundraising.”

Bandyopadhyay will present first from 9-10 a.m. Feedback on Bandyopadhyay may be submitted after the meeting through this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Santanu

With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, including executive leadership roles, Mehdizadeh currently serves as interim chancellor for the Contra Costa district, where she is responsible for assessing, planning, organizing and evaluating the resources, programs, and services to meet the educational needs of the students and the community.

Mojdeh Mehdizadeh is one of three finalists for the next permanent Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) Chancellor. The Governing Board is expected to appoint the next permanent Chancellor on December 13, 2023. (4CD via Pagransen)

Mehdizadeh is active in state, federal, and other organizations aimed at enhancing equitable public educational systems throughout the state. The district’s release described her as a “passionate leader in assuring excellent and affordable post-secondary education for all students, regardless of their social and economic situation.”

Mehdizadeh is set to present from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Feedback on Mehdizadeh may be submitted after the meeting through this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Mojdeh

Cortez recently served as the chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, the seventh-largest community college system in the United States. In this capacity, he oversaw more than 100,000 students annually and was responsible for a $1 billion budget. 

Dr. Carlos Cortez is one of three finalists for the next permanent Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) Chancellor. The Governing Board is expected to appoint the next permanent Chancellor on December 13, 2023.(4CD via Pagransen)

He also previously served as the president of San Diego College of Continuing Education and as faculty at Johns Hopkins University, National University, New York University, and the University of California.

Throughout his career, he became known for his dedication to teachers and students, the development of innovative programs and services, policy advocacy, astute fundraising, and sound fiscal management, the Contra Costa district’s release stated.

Cortez will be the last to present from 1-2 p.m. Feedback on Cortez may be submitted after the meeting through this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/__Carlos.

Links to the recordings will be made available on the district’s website, along with an online survey to provide feedback on the candidates. The feedback will be shared with the governing board for its consideration and the trustees will meet on Nov. 8 to discuss final candidates and consider the appointment of the next chancellor.

A final decision is expected to be announced during the regularly scheduled public meeting on Dec. 13.

For more information, visit www.4cd.edu