Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling Announces June 2023 Retirement Plans

For Immediate Release

November 21, 2022

Contact: Marc Posner

(714) 484-7006

JoAnna Schilling, Cypress College’s 12th president, announced earlier in the month that she will retire at the end of the academic year. Dr. Schilling was selected as president in April 2017 and will have served in the role for 6 years at the time of her retirement.

“I am truly proud of what we have accomplished together, and now is the time to consider who can best take Cypress to the next level,” Dr. Schilling said. “It has been an honor to be the president of Cypress College and a privilege to serve the employees who work here and students who come to us seeking better lives through education.”

Since her arrival, Cypress College has twice been named the top community college in California (in 2018 and 2020), recognized as a U.S. top 150 community college by the Aspen Institute in 2022, and was named as an Equity Champion in 2021 and 2022. President Schilling created the Presidential Scholars of Distinction, an annual scholarship recognizing a graduate in each of the college’s nine academic pathways. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship and is honored during the commencement ceremony.

During her tenure, Cypress College received a $2.8 million Title V grant, created a model Dual Enrollment program that is being embraced across our District feeder schools; launched The Charger Experience, providing free tuition to first-time, full-time students; seen a historic rise of over 43% in degree attainment and almost 75% rise in certificate completion; was named one of only 11 NASA minority-serving community colleges in the country; and received the first million-dollar donation in campus history.

In 2020, the campus opened two transformational buildings — the Veterans Resource Center and the Science, Engineering, and Math Building — as part of the Measure J bond, and navigated the challenges of implementing remote instruction and services throughout the COVID pandemic.

During her time at Cypress College, Dr. Schilling has served on statewide committees focused on equity and meeting students’ basic needs, including the Racial Equity and Inclusion Taskforce, and the Affordability, Food & Housing Taskforce as well as representing Orange County community colleges on the state CEO Board. The college sponsored California’s #RealCollegeCA Basic Needs Summit featuring keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien, and hosted Governor Gavin Newsom to the campus for the ceremonial signing of AB 1595.

Dr. Schilling earned a Ph.D. in education from Oregon State University, an MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BA in English from Smith College. Prior to coming to Cypress College, she served in administrative roles at Rio Hondo and Cerritos colleges and was a literary associate and educator in the professional conservatory at South Coast Repertory Theatre. She is the author of three “Dog Lover Companion” books for Avalon Travel Publishing/Perseus Books.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College provides a pathway for each of our students, offering 56 university-transfer majors, 174 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 98 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Eligible first-time students qualify for free tuition through Cypress College’s Charger Experience promise program. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 116-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Cypress College’s instruction and services are offered primarily in a remote format. Students can access support services online at


%d bloggers like this: