Dr. Maria V. Boccalandro
Contact: Cherie Yurco;
For immediate release — May 13, 2022
(DALLAS) — Dallas College administrators Dr. Maria V. Boccalandro, Larisa Ortiz and Roberto Reyes have been named fellows for the prestigious National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) Leadership Development Program, created for candidates interested in assuming leadership positions in community colleges.
Dr. Boccalandro is dean of special academic programs at Dallas College. “I think this is a very good platform for me to grow, expand and support,” she said of the program. “I’m stepping on the shoulders of many Latinas who have come before me, and I want to be the shoulders for new Latina and Latino leaders.”
“In Venezuela, where I was born, there are no community colleges, so you either go to a four-year school or you don’t go to college,” she said. “When I arrived in the United States, I saw the accessibility of community colleges in receiving students where they are and working with them to fulfill their dreams through higher education. This is something I am passionate about.”
Dr. Boccalandro has more than 30 years of experience teaching associate, bachelor and postgraduate courses in community colleges and universities, in both the U.S. and Latin America. She studied at the Universidad Simón Bolívar and holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, master’s degrees in urban transportation and sustainable urban planning, and a doctorate in political science.
Ortiz, dean of multicultural affairs at Dallas College, has been working as a higher education professional since 2005, holding roles in advancement, outreach, and multicultural and international affairs. She said she chooses to work at a community college because of its commitment to providing access to higher education and improving lives.
“Education was key to the many professional opportunities that I have been presented with throughout my life, and if my story as a recent immigrant can motivate others to pursue their dreams, then I want to be in a place where I can support others in achieving their professional and academic endeavors,” she said.
“I am fortunate to be surrounded by mentors and supervisors who are modeling how critical professional leadership development is to both enhancing my career and better equipping me to serve our Dallas College students and community,” said Ortiz. “This program’s facilitators are high-ranking Hispanic/Latinx higher ed leaders who are paving the way for new generations of Latino professionals to become proficient and prepared to tackle future challenges in the field.”
Ortiz earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tecnológico de Monterrey.
Roberto Reyes, associate dean of success coaching at Dallas College, is a first-generation college graduate and alumnus of Dallas College. He has over 20 years of experience serving underrepresented communities in Dallas and now leads integration of success coaching strategies for DACA/Dreamer, ESOL, international, military-connected and athlete students.
“As a product of this community, whose educational foundation was formed within a three-mile radius of the local ISD, it is truly an honor to represent our college community as a fellow. I feel a sense of responsibility to ensure that I am helping the institution prepare individuals who will lead us for years to come,” said Reyes.
Reyes earned his master’s in educational leadership and bachelor’s degree in business management from University of Texas at Arlington.
Established 36 years ago, the NCCHC’s mission is to prepare and support Hispanic leaders in American community colleges to the benefit of students. Close to 300 fellows from 24 states have completed the program since it launched in 2003. Currently, 18 of the 61 Latino community college presidents in the country are NCCHC fellows.
“A demographic shift is occurring in the United States, and we are preparing new leaders who can model the way for the growing Hispanic population our community colleges serve,” said NCCHC President Robert Vela. “Through this program, fellows gain the necessary knowledge and skills they need to lead higher education into the future and positively impact the economic and civic success of their respective communities.”
The year-long training program will include two culturally tailored residential learning seminars, year-long intentional mentorship, professional career plan preparation and a detailed assessment of leadership skills. The leadership program launches in June 2022.
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