Isaac Zúñiga

2024-25 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow
Dr. Isaac Zúñiga, also affectionately known as Dr. Z, is an esteemed community college leader holding the position of Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Success at Richland Community College in Decatur, Illinois. With a remarkable career spanning more than 25 years across several community colleges, he is dedicated to improving student success and closing the achievement gap for marginalized and low-income students.

Dr. Zúñiga's leadership approach is deeply rooted in servant leadership principles, highlighting collaboration, mutual support, and proactive problem-solving to establish meaningful connections. His journey in community colleges began during his junior year at South Mountain Community College when he was accepted into the nationally renowned Maricopa Achieving a College Education (ACE) program. This experience sparked his passion for community colleges and strengthened his belief in the transformative power of education.

Beyond his professional roles, Dr. Zúñiga, actively participates in community service and advocacy, serving as an elected school board member and Board Chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Decatur. His commitment to innovation and excellence has earned him prestigious fellowships and board appointments, including positions with the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) and the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI) Innovate Board.

Dr Zúñiga, is a proud first-generation college graduate, having earned an Associate of Arts degree from South Mountain Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Arizona State University, a Master in Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, and a Doctoral Degree in Community College Leadership from National Louis University in Chicago.