Michelle Simotas

senior director

Michelle leads CLP’s work in Competency-Based Education (CBE), Guided Pathways Implementation, and Design Thinking. Having served 16 years in California Community Colleges as classified staff, adjunct and full-time faculty, guided pathways coordinator, department chair, and dean, Michelle brings a breadth of experience to the organization that advances CLP’s strategic approach to supporting equity-grounded innovation and change.

As full-time faculty at City College of San Francisco (CCSF), Michelle was part of the first cohort of English faculty to participate in the California Acceleration Project (CAP) training, serving as a leader in the English sequence redesign at CCSF. As the Guided Pathways Coordinator there, Michelle led the development of meta majors and student success teams. In her role as English Department Chair and English faculty, Michelle designed and led a yearlong sequence of anti-racist dialogues and trainings with the English faculty, served on the Academic Senate Executive Council, and founded the Creative Writing Department’s Community Reading Series, Lit Night.

At Cerritos College as Dean of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Michelle developed a yearlong Decolonizing the Academy Training where faculty develop skills for disrupting racism, have conversations about race and racism, and apply humanizing and decolonizing theoretical frameworks to their pedagogy and practice. In this role, Michelle also led the development of a student-centered scheduling redesign process, spearheaded the development of Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) pathways and the Cal LAW pathway initiative, and served as the administrator supporting distance education.

Michelle brings this experience to colleges to support leaders working toward equity-focused change through co-designing and leading professional development, conducting qualitative research studies, and through providing project management, conflict management, and leadership coaching. Michelle also supports colleges by leading CLP’s publications with the goal of seeding equity-grounded innovation in California Community Colleges.

Michelle holds an MS.Ed in Education, Online Teaching and Learning from Cal State East Bay; an MFA in Writing and Literature from Mills College; and is currently completing an Ed.D in International and Multicultural Education with an emphasis in Racial Justice and a minor in Organization and Leadership at University of San Francisco.