I am delighted to announce that Ashanti Hands, Ed.D., an equity-focused leader with a deep commitment to diversity, access, and student success, has accepted an offer to become the next president of San Diego Mesa College.

Since 2016, Ashanti has served as vice president of Student Services at Mesa College. She joined the college in 2008 where she has held positions as dean of Student Affairs, acting dean of Student Development and Matriculation, and acting vice president of Student Services.

As a member of Mesa College’s executive management team, Ashanti has provided leadership for the college-wide initiative to become the leading college of equity and excellence. The college is recognized for its adoption of data-informed decision-making to ensure equitable outcomes. Prior to joining Mesa College, Ashanti served as dean of Student Affairs at the University of California, San Diego.

Ashanti earned a doctorate of education in educational leadership from San Diego State University. She also has a master of arts in education with an emphasis in multi-cultural counseling from SDSU, and a bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of California, San Diego.

Ashanti is married to her Inglewood High School classmate, Ronnie Hands, and resides in Chula Vista, Calif. She is the proud mother of two young adult children.

The Board of Trustees and I strongly believe Ashanti is the type of student-focused leader needed to continue the outstanding work taking place at Mesa College. We have been especially impressed with the important role she has played in the college’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, which are national models.

I would like to express my personal thanks to Miramar College President Wes Lundburg for leading a successful search and to everyone who participated in the campus forums and provided feedback.

Ashanti’s contract is scheduled to be ratified at the June 9 SDCCD Board of Trustees meeting. She begins her new role on July 1. Please join me in congratulating her on her appointment as president.


 Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D.

San Diego Community College District
3375 Camino del Rio South
San Diego, CA 92108
Tel.  (619) 388-6957
Fax  (619) 388-6541



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