Top education leader is leaving San Jose community college district
San Jose – Evergreen Community College District Chancellor Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland.

    The chancellor of San Jose-Evergreen Community College District is leaving his post for a new job in Southern California.

    Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland announced his resignation in a district-wide email Monday evening. He said he is taking a position as chancellor of the North Orange County Community College District.

    “I am proud of the many accomplishments in our district, and have each and every one of you to thank,” Breland said in the email. “Even through a global pandemic, you persevered and remained committed to the educational journeys of our students no matter what challenges they were experiencing.”

    Breland, who has worked at SJECCD for the past nine years, will spend the remainder of the fall semester working with the district board to figure out details of his transition. Breland will officially leave his post in early January 2022. He noted in his email that his family is excited to be returning home to Southern California.

    Breland was not immediately available for comment.

    It’s unclear how long Breland has been contemplating this move. An article posted in a Fullerton, California publication last week noted that he was a finalist for the position.

    Breland also serves as a higher education columnist for San José Spotlight.

    Maria Fuentes, president of the SJECCD Board of Trustees, told San José Spotlight she’s happy for Breland and his family. She is grateful for Breland’s work for the district, noting he hired much of the district’s leadership team, including two presidents, the vice chancellor and the head of human resources.

    “That’s a major accomplishment,” Fuentes said. “It takes a lot of thought and care to bring in new people.”

    Fuentes said she doesn’t have details on who will replace Breland in an interim or permanent capacity. She said the board will prioritize hiring an interim chancellor and will initiate the process to recruit a permanent replacement.

    The SJECCD board appointed Breland as chancellor in November 2018 after he served in an interim position for several months. He had previously worked as president of San Jose City College since 2013, and before that held educational and administrative positions in K-12 and higher education.

    During his tenure SJECCD explored plans to create an early college high school program to the East Side Union High School District. The district also faced a lawsuit from a prominent San Jose developer after negotiations over a deal to develop 27 vacant acres of college land stalled.

    In recent weeks Breland has been vocal about the pandemic’s impact on college students, the role of community colleges in a post-COVID-19 world and how to build a strong workforce in Santa Clara County.

    The San Jose-Evergreen Community College District includes San Jose City College, Evergreen Valley College, Milpitas College Extension and Community College Center for Economic Mobility.

    Contact Eli Wolfe at [email protected] or @EliWolfe4 on Twitter.

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