María L. Villagómez has been selected to serve as the new vice president of academic affairs, and Paloma Arnold has been named as the new vice president of student affairs by the Santa Barbara Community College District board of trustees.
After a competitive screening and interview process for both positions, Dr. Kindred Murillo, Interim superintendent/president, shared the news with SBCC faculty and staff, saying, “As we transition from an executive vice president structure to having two vice presidents — one over academic affairs and the other over student affairs — we are so pleased that María, a recognized leader and innovator with over 28 years of leadership experience, and Paloma, who has worked at SBCC for more than 20 years and led a variety of student services over the years, will work closely together in ways that will best serve our students.”
Ms. Villagómez most recently held the position of senior dean of library, language arts, social sciences and distance education at Napa Valley College. She has also taught Spanish language and literature courses at Napa Valley College for more than 19 years, for which she won the McPherson Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015.
As a faculty member, she served as president, first vice president and grievance officer for the Faculty Association and as secretary and vice president for the Academic Senate.
For nearly six years, Ms. Villagómez has been an academic dean in the California community college system. In 2017, she completed the Association of California Community College Administrators Great Deans Program and the Enrollment Management Academy hosted by Claremont University in collaboration with the Chancellor’s office. Both are prestigious programs specifically designed for California community college administrators.
Last year, she was named Administrative Employee of the Year by her colleagues at Napa Valley. She was also among the first cohort to complete the ALIVE Deans Academy, hosted by the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers, which prepares deans of color for CIO roles.
“I am excited and honored to be joining Santa Barbara City College and look forward to continuing SBCC’s tradition of excellence,” said Ms. Villagómez. “I am passionate about student success and ensuring that administrative decisions equitably serve them, both inside and outside the classroom.”
Ms. Villagómez holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish linguistics and literature and a second master’s degree in curriculum, teaching and learning with an emphasis in educational leadership.
Her doctorate in education in educational leadership is expected to be completed this year.
Ms. Arnold has worked in student services at SBCC for more than 20 years, most recently as the dean of student affairs, providing oversight for various student services departments and programs including EOPS/CARE, CalWORKs, Guardian Scholars, admissions and records, financial aid, academic counseling, University Transfer Center, Transfer Achievement program, articulation, foster and kinship care education, enrollment and retention services, dual enrollment and the Federal Work Study program.
In 2019, she was recognized as the Outstanding Administrator of the Year by the SBCC Advancing Leadership Association.
“I feel extremely honored and pleased to have the opportunity to serve as vice president, student affairs at Santa Barbara City College,” said Ms. Arnold. “For the past 21 years, I have had the privilege of being part of the student services team at SBCC, and I have a deep commitment, loyalty and love for our college and the students we serve.”
Ms. Arnold is a third-generation native of Santa Barbara and an alumna of Santa Barbara High School. In the greater Santa Barbara community, she serves on the board of trustees for the Riviera Ridge School (formerly Marymount School of Santa Barbara), the CalSOAP governing board, Channel Islands YMCA Youth and Family Services board, Cottage Hospital’s Community Health Advisory Committee and previously served on the board of trustees for Santa Barbara High School’s MAD Academy. She holds a master’s degree in psychology from Antioch University, Santa Barbara, and a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA.
Both Ms. Villagómez and Ms. Arnold are scheduled to begin serving in their new roles on July 1.