Julianna Barnes

2020-21 Aspen New Presidents Fellow
Julianna Barnes is the president of Cuyamaca College in San Diego, California, a position she has held since October 2015. With an educational career spanning nearly three decades, Julianna is known for her inclusive leadership and deep commitment to student success and equity. In her tenure as president, she led the creation of a new strategic plan, which emphasizes equity-minded student success and promotes a learning environment that validates students’ social and cultural realities. Developmental education reform has been central to these strategic efforts and has resulted in significant increases in access to and completion of college-level math and English. Under her leadership, Cuyamaca College was recently recognized nationally by Excelencia in Education and was awarded the John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award in the California Community Colleges.

Prior to her presidency, Julianna held various leadership positions, including chief student services officer for 5 years and dean for 11 years in several California community colleges. She also served as an affiliate doctoral faculty member of San Diego State University and serves on the board for the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges. She received her doctor of education in educational leadership with a community college specialization and a master of arts in education/multicultural counseling from San Diego State University, plus a bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of California, San Diego. She holds a black belt in karate and uses the martial art’s tenets of respect, courage, and balance to guide her personal and professional life.