Kern Community College District
Women in Leadership
The Kern Community College District is committed to empowering women through inspirational support and education. In alignment with the District's institutional mission, vision, and core values, we champion for the next generation of female leaders.
Deeply rooted in the history of Bakersfield College, a woman named Grace Van Dyke Bird first came to teach in 1917 and was appointed as College Chief Executive, the position now known as President, in 1921. She was among the first to suggest using the term "community college" instead of junior college, arguing that community was more descriptive of the institution's role.
A woman of vision, she encouraged instruction in job skills as well as quality education for students transferring to four-year colleges which remains a primary goal and focus of the College. As the first woman to lead a public community college in California, Bird was popular and widely respected as an educator and administrator.
Today, under the leadership of Dr. Sonya Christian, the Kern Community College District continues to support women's leadership development throughout the District and the community. Panels, workshops and advocacy ensure student success and provide a platform for community engagement and mentorship. This contributes to a healthier, stronger, and more diverse future for women seeking pivotal leadership roles.