Dr. Sunita Cooke, President/Superintendent
MiraCosta College District
Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke demonstrates education as a pathway to achievement that can reduce economic, racial, and gender barriers.
At age five, Sunny Cooke immigrated to Dallas, Texas from Lucknow, India with her family with only $40 to their name. Her parents decided to give up their life in India and make the giant move in order to provide their children with opportunities they wouldn’t have with the caste system in India. The sacrifice certainly paid off. Dr. Cooke took advantage of – her educational opportunities in the U.S., and ultimately earned her doctorate in biology from Georgetown University. Dr. Cooke has more than 25 years of experience in teaching and administrative roles, including working as a biology professor; director of a biotechnology institute; dean of sciences, health, and wellness; and associate vice chancellor for workforce development.
In 2007, she became the president of Grossmont College. In addition to being the first woman president of the college, she was one of only six Asian Americans – in the leadership role in higher education at the time. She now serves as the president of MiraCosta Community College District, and continues to dedicate her work toward the promotion of community colleges and workforce development. Since 2012, she has represented San Diego community colleges on the Workforce Investment Board, and is the liaison with the State Chancellor’s Office, working with economic and workforce development efforts regionally and statewide. Dr. Cooke is also active in the greater San Diego community by serving on the boards of Biocom, the Carlsbad and Oceanside Chambers of Commerce, and the San Diego Economic Development Corporation.