Martha Garcia to begin new job in Walnut with full support

WALNUT — Martha Garcia, the beleaguered superintendent/president of College of the Desert, received unanimous support from the Mt. San Antonio Board of Trustees on Wednesday, April 12 to become the institution’s next leader.

She was awarded a three-year contract worth $342,500 annually, a significant pay cut from what she is now making at COD.

Garcia was selected as COD’s eighth superintendent/president in July 2021. She succeeded Joel Kinnamon, who retired in March 2021. She lasted less than two years. The COD Board voted to hire her in a split 3-2 decision: Trustees Ruben Perez, Bea Gonzalez and Aurora Wilson voted in favor of her appointment while Fred Jandt and Bonnie Stefan voted against it.

When Garcia takes office in Walnut on July 1, she will serve as the chief executive officer for the largest single-district college in the state. She will replace Bill Scroggins, who is retiring in June after leading Mt. SAC for 12 years.

She will also be the school’s first female president in 50 years and its first president of color.

To date, Garcia has been mum about her last day at COD.

Garcia was in Walnut on Wednesday evening for the vote. She told trustees that it was with “tremendous appreciation” and “tremendous gratitude” that she accepted the offer.

She also said she is thankful to God, adding that she believes she is “coming here with a very special purpose that we will realize as we work together.”

Garcia thanked Trustees for “entrusting me with such an amazing privilege.”

Mt. SAC, as it is lovingly called, is located in the City of Walnut about 25 miles from      downtown Los Angeles. Its local college district boundaries encompass about 20 communities in east Los Angeles County.

Mt. SAC served more than 35,000 students during the fall 2022 term, whereas COD served 11,000, according to data from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. According to its website, Mt. SAC serves thousands more people through community programs, workforce development programs and other non-credit courses.


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  • Martha Garcia: Mount San Antonio College