President's Biography

President Cooks

Jamal A. Cooks, Ph.D., was appointed by the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District (CLPCCD) Board of Trustees as Chabot College’s president as of August 1, 2023, becoming Chabot's 10th president.

Dr. Cooks brings over 20 years of teaching, research, and leadership experience to the Chabot College presidency. He has served as vice president of academic services at Chabot since 2022, although he assumed the role on an interim basis in 2021. Prior to community college administration, Dr. Cooks served as a full professor at San Francisco State University, where he was also the associate director for the Educational Leadership doctoral program. Dr. Cooks has taught in the K-12, California State University and community college systems. In 2017, he was the recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English’s Halle Adolescent Literacy Educator Award.

Tim Sbranti, president of the CLPCCD Board of Trustees, described Dr. Cooks as the ideal leader for Chabot. “Jamal Cooks has dedicated his professional life to supporting disadvantaged youth both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Sbranti. “As an educator, researcher, and instructional leader, he is uniquely prepared to understand and respond to the emerging needs of the Chabot College community.”

Originally from East Oakland, Cooks attended Skyline High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy of Industrial Societies from the University of California, Berkeley. He went on to earn a teaching credential in Social Studies from California State University, Hayward. Dr. Cooks obtained a Master of Arts degree in Social Studies Curriculum Development and completed a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture, both from the University of Michigan.

“Following a national search, Dr. Cooks emerged as the top choice to take the helm as the next president of Chabot College,” stated CLPCCD Chancellor Ronald Gerhard. “His extensive leadership experience in academia and equity work—combined with his deep commitment to making education more accessible—will no doubt allow him to guide our college to new heights.”

An avid believer in programs that support student success, Dr. Cooks co-convened Chabot's Black Excellence Collective. This initiative uses data and a broad network of support services to improve the campus experience for the college’s Black students. Dr. Cooks has published his research on the topics of culturally relevant pedagogy, language and literacy in several journals and books.

“It is an honor to be entrusted with the presidency at Chabot College,” stated Dr. Cooks. “My goal is to build on the strong legacy of this institution and deliver the best learning experience possible to our community, anchored in social justice and equity for our students.”

Dr. Cooks and his wife reside in Oakland, where they are raising their two children.