Eloy Ortiz Oakley is best known throughout California and the nation for implementing innovative programs and policies that help students succeed in college. Oakley strongly believes that California’s emerging economies demand a workforce with quality credentials and that the state’s 113 community colleges play a pivotal role in moving California forward. Under Oakley’s leadership, the Long Beach Community College District has received numerous awards and recognitions for its efforts to improve student completion rates and for directly supporting a strong small business and entrepreneurship eco-system throughout the greater Southern California region.
Oakley was appointed as the Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) in 2007. Since his appointment, he has fostered strong relationships with members of the community, state and national policy leaders, his Board of Trustees and the faculty and staff of the college. He has provided statewide and national leadership on the issue of improving the education outcomes of historically underrepresented students. For his efforts, the James Irvine Foundation recognized him with their 2014 Leadership Award. Also in 2014, Governor Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents. In this role, Oakley is using his experiences to better serve all Californians in higher education.
Partnering with the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), Oakley helped form the nationally recognized Long Beach College Promise (College Promise). Through the College Promise, LBUSD administrators and high school teachers work with college faculty and staff to create clear structured pathways for students to follow as they move from one education institution to another. These pathways prepare LBUSD high school graduates to succeed in college, and College Promise students are guaranteed a tuition-free year at LBCC and preferred admission status to CSULB after completing the transfer requirements. Reports suggest the College Promise measurably reduces demand for college level remediation, increases student persistence rates and creates financial efficiencies so LBCC can educate more students for less money. The College Promise has been replicated by numerous colleges and universities throughout California and is cited as a model education partnership by several education organizations and foundations, including the California Little Hoover Commission, the Washington DC based Business Higher Education Forum, the James Irvine Foundation, and the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics. In 2015, President Obama launched the America’s College Promise initiative that was modeled in part on the Long Beach College Promise.
To jumpstart the regions economy, Oakley partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch the 10,000 Small Businesses Program to help small businesses grow and create jobs. This successful endeavor has taught more than 600 local business owners how to expand operations, increase profits and create more jobs in the region. Under Oakley’s leadership, LBCC increased the economic impact of the Los Angeles Regional Small Business Development Center Network by focusing on metrics that drive business development and job growth. Most recently, he led the launch of Innovation Fund So Cal in partnership with the Kaufmann Foundation. Innovation Fund So Cal provides seed funding to promising start-ups and spurs local job creation.
Oakley’s trailblazing efforts have been acknowledged through his appointments to the California Forward Leadership Council, the California Economic Summit, the Fair Shake Commission, California Community College Commission on the Future and the American Association of Community Colleges 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. He is frequently invited to speak to education, philanthropic and business organizations throughout the nation. In 2014, he was invited to provide testimony on minority serving institutions to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee. In his remarks, Oakley stresses that if America is to remain competitive, it must adopt innovative reforms to ensure its citizens are provided a realistic opportunity to succeed in college, regardless of their socioeconomic, racial or ethnic background.
Oakley himself is a community college success story. After serving four years in the US Army, he enrolled at Golden West College. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine where he received his degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Design and Master of Business Administration.
He joined LBCCD in 2002, serving as the assistant superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services. In this capacity, Oakley undertook supervision of the Measure E Bond construction program for the district and oversaw the finances and operations of the district’s two campuses. Before that, he served as the vice president of college services at Oxnard College; the assistant vice president of the Property & Casualty Division of Keenan & Associates and the manager of risk services at the Coast Community College District. Oakley also served as an adjunct faculty member teaching in and coordinating the Environmental Technology Certificate Program at Golden West College.
Oakley is the proud father of four children and two grandchildren. He serves on the boards and committees of the University of California Board of Regents, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the California Forward Leadership Council, the College Futures Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and the
Long Beach Rotary Club. He sits on the advisory board for the CSULB Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership.
He is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Association of California Community Colleges Administrators (ACCCA), the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum and a founding member of the President’s Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability and Latino President’s for Student Success.