MiraCosta College names new president

North Coast Current

Sunita “Sunny” Cooke will be the next superintendent/president of the MiraCosta Community College District, the district announced Oct. 1.

The college district’s Board of Trustees made the appointment at its Oct. 1 meeting, according to the district’s announcement.

“We are extremely excited about someone of Dr. Cooke’s ability and track record becoming MiraCosta’s superintendent/president,” board President David Broad said in the announcement. “She has proven in her previous posts that she is a visionary and effective leader with the ability to work in an academic environment.”

cooke-sunita-2014Cooke is currently the president of Grossmont College in El Cajon, which is a campus in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. She has served in that position since 2007.

The Board of Trustees is set to ratify Cooke’s contract Oct. 22. Cooke is scheduled to assume the MiraCosta post in January, taking over from Interim Superintendent/President Dick Robertson, who will return to his role as the college’s vice president of Student Services.

MiraCosta had been searching for a new president since the departure of Francisco Rodriguez, who left to become chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District earlier this year. He had been at MiraCosta since 2009.

MiraCosta College has campuses in Oceanside and Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

“I could not be happier about joining the fine faculty, staff and administrators of MiraCosta College as we continue to build on the 80-year tradition of excellence in service to students and our community,” Cooke said in the college’s announcement.

Cooke was born in Lucknow, India, and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1968, according to MiraCosta. She holds a doctorate in biology from Georgetown University, and completed postdoctoral training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. There, Cooke studied the molecular aspects of cell adhesion and metastasis. She was also a founding faculty member of Lone Star-Montgomery College in north Houston.

Cooke spent 12 years with the Lonestar system, serving as a biology professor; biotechnology institute director; dean of sciences, health and wellness; and associate vice chancellor for workforce development, MiraCosta stated. She also teaches in San Diego State University’s community college leadership doctoral program during the summer months.