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Sunita Cooke

Sunita Cooke, Ph.D.

Superintendent/President, MiraCosta Community College District

Dr. Sunita (“Sunny”) Cooke began her tenure as the superintendent/president of MiraCosta Community College District on January 2, 2015. A recognized community college leader, Dr. Cooke came to MiraCosta from Grossmont College, located in El Cajon, California, where she served as president from 2007 to 2014.

Science and medicine have been a lifelong influence on Cooke, who was born in Lucknow, India, and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 5 years old. Her mother is a retired nurse, her older brother a chemical engineer and her older sister a physician. Though Cooke originally began her first year in college as a pre-law major, she discovered it was counter to her true disposition as a scientist, and a year later, she turned her study to biology, chemistry and physics.

After being awarded a doctorate in biology at Georgetown University, she completed a postdoctoral training program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, in the molecular aspects of cell adhesion and metastasis. She then became a founding faculty member of Lone Star-Montgomery College in north Houston. She has taught full- and part-time for more than 13 years and continues to teach each summer in the community college leadership doctoral program at San Diego State University.

Dr. Cooke is a collaborative and innovative leader with a strong dedication to the promotion of community colleges and workforce development. Since 2012, she represented all of the San Diego and Imperial Counties community colleges on the Workforce Investment Board and is now the liaison with the State Chancellor's Office regarding economic and workforce development efforts at the regional and state level. She is also champions the region’s "Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy" campaign, a community college and industry collaboration that aims to close the skills gap.

Dr. Cooke is an active member of the greater San Diego community. During her tenure at Grossmont College, she served on several community boards, including the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Board, East County Chamber of Commerce, YMCA Board of East County, San Diego Community College District Citizens Oversight Committee and San Diego Workforce Investment Board. She is looking forward to becoming more involved in North San Diego County.

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The Opportunity
For community colleges to become essential catalysts to California’s economic recovery and jobs creation at the local, regional and state levels.

The Strategy
Doing What MATTERS for jobs and the economy is a four-pronged framework to respond to the call of our nation, state, and regions to close the skills gap. The four prongs are:

  • Give Priority for Jobs and the Economy
  • Make Room for Jobs and the Economy
  • Promote Student Success
  • Innovate for Jobs and the Economy
California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office