2023 District 6 Pacesetter

2023 District 6 Pacesetter

Dr. Elliot Stern
Saddleback College
Mission Viejo, CA

Dr. Elliot Stern is a transformational, inspiring leader and a caring and effective communicator – and he writes his own material. 

Under Dr. Stern’s leadership, the college has reinvigorated its focus on helping students succeed, both academically and as human beings. He believes the college is part of a mission and community that is bigger than an individual; and faculty, staff and administrators are inspired by his vision. He refers to college interactions as Saddleback’s “special sauce,” which is what connects members of the college community in its values. 

He has implemented various initiatives to back this priority, including: 

  • Enrollment and success coaches, who work with prospective students to remove barriers to the enrollment process. The coaches are all bilingual and offer critical support for marketing campaigns, reaching out to the leads cultivated through digital marketing efforts. 
  • Caring Campus, an initiative that provides five easy behaviors to systematize Saddleback’s special sauce in every interaction. 
  • Part-Time Promise Program, which had previously been offered to full-time students only. The program provides low-income students with enrollment fees, parking permits and book vouchers.
  • A mascot change, which had been in the discussion phase for a decade. The former mascot was seen as a racist depiction of a Gaucho and was a source of embarrassment for many, with students, faculty, staff, and community members voicing concern over the years.

“Elliot is appreciative and considerate,” writes Jennie McCue, Saddleback’s executive director of marketing and communications, in Dr. Stern’s nomination. “He is a trusted adviser when you need one, and he trusts the team to do their jobs. He respects us and values our expertise.” 

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