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Helen Benjamin is in her sixth year as Chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District (District). She began her career at the District in 1990 when she joined Los Medanos College as Dean of Language Arts and Humanistic Studies and Related Occupations, and has held progressively higher level positions including District Vice Chancellor, Educational Programs and Services, interim President of Los Medanos College and President of Contra Costa College.
Dr. Benjamin has a B.S. degree in English and Spanish from Bishop College in Texas where she graduated magna cum laude and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas. She has never lost sight of her roots as a teacher, having taught high school English in the Dallas Independent School District and looks for opportunities to turn challenges into teachable moments.
Dr. Benjamin is passionate about maintaining an active role in a wide variety of professional and community organizations. At the local level, she is board member of the Contra Costa Council, a countywide public policy advocacy organization; she is also a board member of the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community colleges, a statewide group that articulates positions on issues facing the California community colleges; and serves on the Kennedy-King Scholarship Memorial College Scholarship Fund, a countywide effort to provide District students financial support to continue their educational goals at a four-year graduate institution. At the national level, she is currently the convener of the Presidents’ Round Table, an affiliate organization of the National Council on Black American Affairs, and a member of the Congressional Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.
Headquartered in Martinez, California, the District was the first countywide college district in the state and began serving students in 1949. The District consists of Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Los Medanos College, San Ramon Campus, and the Brentwood Center. With a county population of over one million people, the District serves an annual enrollment of nearly 61,000 students.