The Office of President JoAnna Schilling


Dr. JoAnna Schilling has served as Cypress College’s president since July 2017. Dr. Schilling brings a wealth of experience as an educational leader with strengths in industry-partnership development, enrollment management, accreditation, and advocacy for equity in education. Colleagues describe her as a transformational leader who is collaborative, empowering, inclusive, visionary, and personable.
Prior to assuming her role at Cypress College, Dr. Schilling served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Cerritos College, as well as serving in multiple roles at Rio Hondo College as the Dean of Arts and Cultural Programs, Continuing and Contract Education, and as Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs. She is a strong advocate for the faculty role in governance, and served as co-chair of the statewide Chancellor’s Office Curriculum Inventory (COCI) committee.

Dr. Schilling currently serves on two statewide committees in support of student success. The Affordability Food & Housing Taskforce focuses on advocating for student basic needs, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion CEO Taskforce advocates for essential equitable change in our institutions. Dr. Schilling co-chaired the #RealCollegeCalifornia Basic Needs Summit in 2020 and in 2018, was the keynote speaker at the West Orange County Women’s Conference. In her previous vice president positions, Dr. Schilling served on the statewide Chief Instructional Officers (CIO) Executive Board representing the Orange County/Los Angeles County region, the CTE Strategic Planning committee for the LA/OC regional consortium, and as the CIO rep on the 3CSN advisory committee.

Under Dr. Schilling’s leadership, Cypress College has twice been named as the Best Community College in California in 2018 and again in 2020. Additional honors include being awarded a 2.8 million Title V grant for our Guided Pathways work, one of three community colleges in California to receive the designation of National Center of Excellence for Cyber Security, one of 15 colleges in the state to receive a grant from the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC) for development of our classified professionals, and was acknowledged by NASA as one of only eleven colleges in the nation to be an exemplary minority-based institution for our work supporting and developing underrepresented students in the STEM fields. Cypress received the largest philanthropic donation in its history in 2018 when an anonymous donor gave 1 million dollars in support of our Aviation program.

Dr. Schilling is a strong supporter of the arts, serving on the boards of the Rio Hondo Symphony Association, the East Whittier Arts Foundation, as well as serving as a juror for the Newport Beach Film Festival and on the California Arts Council. She is the author of three Dog Lover Companion books published by Perseus Books. Schilling and her husband are members of the Society of Fellows at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, CA, and are strong supporters of the arts in the communities she works and lives.

Schilling’s academic credentials include a Doctorate in Education from Oregon State University, a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Smith College.



Contact Dr. Schilling

Kristi Valdez
Executive Assistant to the President
Cypress College Complex, Office 328
E: kvaldez@cypresscollege.edu
T: (714) 484-7308

Louella Nelson
Administrative Assistant
E: lnelson@cypresscollege.edu
T: (714) 484-7308