Dr. Helen Benjamin has served as an educator for 44 years in
secondary and higher education. In 2016, she ended her formal
career as the chancellor of the Contra Costa Community
College District (CCCCD) located in the San Francisco Bay
Area. She continues to serve the community college sector as president of
HSV Consulting, Inc. Her goal is to create an educational environment
conducive to learning and responsive to the diversity of students and their
Dr. Benjamin worked in CCCCD for more than 26 years, after being
selected as the dean of language arts and humanistic studies and related
occupations at Los Medanos College in 1990. She held progressively
higher level positions, including vice chancellor, educational programs and
services, interim president at both Los Medanos College and Contra Costa
College, and then as the first African American president for Contra Costa
College. When appointed as chancellor of the district in 2005, she was the
first African American and the first woman to hold the permanent position
since the district’s founding in 1948.
As chancellor, Dr. Benjamin’s successes were numerous, including restoring
financial solvency and credibility to CCCCD in a two-year period.
Her career began in Dallas, Texas, where she served as a high school
English teacher before returning to her alma mater, Bishop College, as an
assistant professor of English and department chair. After six years at
Bishop, she became the division chair of communications and humanities
at Cedar Valley College in the Dallas County Community College District.
Dr. Benjamin has had an active role in many organizations at the state and
national level, including chairing numerous statewide accreditation visiting
teams and serving as president of the California Community Colleges Chief
Executive Officers. She was the first community college representative
appointed by Congress to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial
Assistance. Dr. Benjamin also served with distinction as convener of the
Presidents’ Round Table of Community College African American CEOs
and on the board of directors of the American Association of Community
She has received many awards and accolades, including being named the
2014 Mentor of the Year by the National Council on Black American Affairs
and Woman of Distinction by the East Bay Business Times. She also
received the Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award from the
Association of California Community College Administrators.
AACC Leadership Award
President, HSV Consulting, Inc.
99 thANNUALCONVEN TION
For a list of past award recipients, visit www.aacc.nche.edu/awards.