Dr. Joel L. Kinnamon, President Emeritus of College of the Desert, video announced today that he will seek a seat this November 8th on the Desert Community College District (DCCD) Board of Trustees for Area 4, which includes eastern Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and a large portion of La Quinta.  DCCD is the publicly-elected governing body for College of the Desert.   

“Over the last year, College of the Desert has lost its focus, creating an environment of suspicion, confusion, and mistrust,” stated Dr. Kinnamon.  “COD’s Board of Trustees is in a crisis. Newspaper headlines from the past year or more have pointed to a majority of the governing board violating the public’s trust through deception, lack of transparency, and breaking its word on committed projects that would create greater access to education and equity for our students.  Before my retirement in 2021, I’m proud to have led College of the Desert to national awards in excellence as the fastest growing community college in the state of California, and believe I can get C.O.D. back on track.”   

Dr. Kinnamon has released a seven-point plan to get C.O.D. back on track on his website, www.Joel4COD.com:

1.     Build what was promised to the voters including the full, long-awaited, West Valley Campus in Palm Springs, Roadrunner Motors in Cathedral City, and the expansion of the East Valley Campus in Indio along with additional classrooms in Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Mecca/Thermal.

2.     Public accountability by ending the perception of the majority of the Board of Trustee’s deceit, delays, and disinformation costing taxpayers millions of dollars in added construction charges due to inflation. 

3.     Get C.O.D. back to a positive future filled with pride and promise.  The Board of Trustees must work together with the greater community to solve students’ needs for the entire Coachella Valley, not just one portion of the valley.

4.     Focus on student success by eliminating all barriers for any student to enroll in college courses and to learn in an environment centered on innovation and success.

5.     Create a University Center through COD to allow Coachella Valley students to earn a bachelor’s or graduate level degree without leaving the valley.  The University Center would allow students to earn advanced degrees through strategic partnerships with area colleges and universities, such as CSU San Bernardino, UC Riverside, and UCLA.  It can be accomplished similar to a proposed program with Cal Poly Pomona for a bachelor’s degree in modernism architecture. 

6.     Uphold public transparency by keeping politics out of the boardroom.  Dr. Kinnamon is not a politician.  Dr. Kinnamon is an educator.  His more than 30 years in higher education experience, the last nine years at College of the Desert, means he can hit the ground running and give back to the community once more. 

7.     Champion bold and innovative programs that will offer Coachella Valley students with advanced skills to become entrepreneurs, modernism architects, hospitality leaders, innovators, filmmakers, and scientists and engineers for energy sustainability.  We must be the transformative leaders of innovative programs and not build redundant educational facilities seen twenty years ago.

“Joel Kinnamon is one of the best community college leaders in the nation.  Under his leadership College of the Desert (COD) became one of the nation’s flagship community colleges,” stated Terry O’Banion, President Emeritus of the League for Innovation in the Community College and Area 4 resident.  “I know this because I have consulted in over 800 community colleges, written 18 books and over 200 articles on the community college system, and have been a professor of community college leadership at the University of Illinois, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Texas-Austin.”

Dr. Kinnamon stated, “Our students, residents, and visitors depend on College of the Desert to provide a skilled workforce to power our local economy and enhance the quality of life of not only our students, but also, those who enjoy calling the Coachella Valley home.  It is my honor to announce my candidacy and commitment to get C.O.D. back on track.”

About Dr. Kinnamon:

Dr. Joel Kinnamon, College of the Desert President Emeritus and California Indian Nations College Trustee and Chairman of the Board, has served in higher education for more than 30 years and retired as Superintendent/President of College of the Desert on March 31, 2021.  He is a first-generation college graduate.  He attended Seminole Junior College in Oklahoma before transferring to Oklahoma State University earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Agricultural Economics.  He received a Master’s in Business Administration (M.B.A.) at Oklahoma City University and a Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Education from Nova Southeastern University.  Dr. Joel Kinnamon lives in Rancho Mirage with his husband, Chris Parman.  They have been together for 24 years and were the first gay couple to be married on the Assembly Floor of the State Capitol in 2008. 

Video Announcement: https://www.Joel4COD.com