Welcome to Southwestern College. We honor your journey that has led you to enroll at the college with a vision towards accomplishing your educational, career and personal goals. As a Southwestern College graduate, I know very well the multiple priorities students manage in working to complete their higher education.
Throughout my career I have worked strategically with excellent faculty, staff and administrators to ensure colleges maximize access and design programs focused on supporting all students through to completion and success. Maintaining an intentional focus in building supports and services with equity and race consciousness at the forefront will enable us to realize our vision as a leader in equitable education that transforms the lives of students and communities.
Our goal at Southwestern College is to deliver a safe, world class learning experience, one that will transform the lives of all students who enroll at the college. We celebrate the value and unique experiences you bring to the college.
I realize this is a very uncertain time for many prospective students in considering whether to enroll in college, when one must consider work, family, and other life responsibilities. Southwestern College courses are now available in-person, online, hybrid (combination of online and in-person meetings), and during the weekend days of Saturday and Sunday. We have flexible course offerings, and you do not have to pick one responsibility over the other. Please do not let uncertainty prevent you from pursuing the vision you have set for yourself in completing your college, career, and personal goals. In addition, the college has a comprehensive set of supports and services- from financial aid/scholarships, academic tutoring, counseling, mental health support, cultural connectedness to faculty, staff, and administrators, and much more to assist you in achieving success in completing your coursework. We have excellent faculty, classified professionals, and administrators who are committed to assist you with the resources you need in your college enrollment.
In closing, know that a college degree, certificate, and/or credential is as important as ever. According to an April 2022 study by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, 84% of the jobs in San Diego County require a college level skills. Read report here: San Diego Inclusive Economy Report
Welcome to the Southwestern College Jaguar family and I am honored to serve as your Superintendent/President.
Dr. Mark Sanchez’ experience includes over twenty years in community college leadership, teaching and instruction and workforce development. His passion for social justice is demonstrated throughout his career. In his career in California community college leadership, he has been successful in the development and implementation of comprehensive race conscious-equity focused instruction, student services and online programs designed to increase student access and success, student outreach, and student personal development.
At the previous colleges in which he served, Dr. Sanchez worked collectively with his Student Life and Leadership team to bring students from diverse backgrounds together to engage in cross-cultural learning and engagement. Prior to beginning his Presidency at Southwestern College, Dr. Sanchez was the Assistant Superintendent/Vice-President of Student Success and Support Programs at Cuesta College, also served as the Dean of Student Affairs, Counseling at Hartnell College; Dean of Student Services, Counseling at Fresno City College; and Director of Student Support Programs at San Jose Evergreen Valley College. He also teaches university graduate courses online (asynchronous) in the Master of Education Program at Brandman University.
Prior to beginning his profession in postsecondary leadership, Dr. Sanchez worked in developing educational and career programs at the Fresno County Workforce Development Board and career training programs funded by the San Diego Workforce Partnership. Dr. Sanchez is a collaborative leader who works effectively with constituent groups on campus, businesses and community-based partners.
He is a strong supporter of whole person development and services that assist college students with the skills they need to complete their educational, career and personal goals. Among these services is access to counseling, financial aid, academic supports, and mental health/wellness coaching for students. Throughout his career, Dr. Sanchez has worked with excellent teams of college faculty, staff, students and administrators to expand the overall availability of equity focused programs on college campuses. Additionally, he has experience in fiscal management with both short-term and long-term fiscal planning. Dr. Sanchez is a native of San Diego, CA and began his college career as a student at Southwestern College.
Upon graduating from Southwestern College with an Associate’s Degree in General Studies, Dr. Sanchez went on to complete his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. Master of Arts in Education Administration with Distinction and Doctorate in Educational Leadership both from California State University, Fresno. Dr. Sanchez knows San Diego and the South Bay well and is proud of his roots growing up in the region.
Executive Leadership Team
Mark Sanchez, Ed.D.
- Acting Assistant Superintendent/Vice President, Academic Affairs
- Interim Assistant Superintendent/Vice President, Business & Financial Affairs
Bill Abasolo, J.D.
- Assistant Superintendent/Vice President, Human Resources
Angela Alvarez Riggs, MAHRM
- Assistant Superintendent/Vice President, Student Affairs
Rachel Fischer, M.Ed.
- Chief of Staff
Zaneta Salde Encarnacion, MPA
- Executive Director of Equity and Engagement
Janelle Williams Melendrez, M.S.