Fullerton, Cypress Colleges Get Presidents


Two new presidents were named Tuesday night to lead Fullerton and Cypress community colleges.

Vera Martinez, administrative dean of educational programs at Santa Monica College, will become president of Fullerton College, and Christine Johnson, dean of students at Kings River Community College in Reedley, Calif. will take the helm of Cypress College.

“I am so elated,” said Johnson, 49. “I have been preparing for this job for 25 years and I’m ready to make it work.”


Officials of the North Orange County Community College District had searched nationwide for candidates since mid-summer, when Jane Armstrong was appointed interim president of 19,000-student Fullerton College and Elma Clamp became acting president of Cypress.

Cypress College, with about 13,000 students, has been without a permanent president since Kirk Avery resigned in 1992.

Fullerton College has been without a president since June, when Philip W. Borst, president for 17 years, retired.

Martinez, 55, said she is excited about Fullerton College’s active student body. “I like that kind of energy,” she said. “If people have that kind of energy and interest it can be used in a way that’s very constructive and progressive. It’s a plus.”

Martinez, who grew up in San Bernardino and Riverside, has master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from UC Riverside. She also is one of the founding members of the California Community College Latina Leadership Network.

Johnson, a native of Tyler, Tex., has a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in higher education, both from USC.


Johnson developed a program for recruiting and retaining African American males in college that was adopted by the state community college system.