Martha J. Kanter is chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, one of the most prominent community college districts in the nation, serving more than 44,000 students with a total budget of approximately $400 million. She came to California in 1977 after serving as an alternative high school teacher at Lexington High School, the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns and later at The Searing School in New York City. In California, she established the first program for students with learning disabilities at San Jose City College. She then served as a director, dean and subsequently as vice chancellor for policy and research for the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office in Sacramento. She then returned to San Jose City College as vice president of instruction and student services. In 1993 she was named president of De Anza College, where she served until becoming chancellor in 2003.
Kanter holds a doctorate in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco, a master's degree in education with a concentration in clinical psychology and public practice from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Brandeis University. Her doctoral research examined "The Relationship of Demographic, Institutional, and Assessment Factors Affecting Access to Higher Education for Underrepresented Students in the California Community Colleges."
Kanter is active in a wide variety of national, state and local organizations. She serves on the executive board of the nationally renowned League for Innovation in the Community College and is the vice president of the CEO Board of the Community College League of California (CCLC). She is past president of the Community College Leadership Development Initiatives (CCLDI) Foundation at the University of San Diego. She is a trustee of Cogswell College and the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. She also holds appointments to the boards of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, Inc., Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), North Valley Workforce Investment Board (NOVA), Mexican Heritage Corporation, Vision New America, Stanford Business School’s Alumni Consulting Team (ACT), and EdSource, a statewide policy and research organization serving K-12 and community colleges. In addition, she is a CEO member of Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG). Kanter serves as a member of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation Board of Directors and its executive committee and the Foothill-De Anza Audit and Finance Committee.
In addition, Kanter is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum-Silicon Valley and belongs to the Rotary Club of Palo Alto, formerly serving for 10 years as a member of the Rotary Club of Cupertino. She also volunteers as an education adviser to the Mayfair Improvement Initiative and SpringBoard Forward. Over the years, she has been president of several statewide associations: the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA); the Learning Assessment Retention Consortium (LARC); and the California Association of Postsecondary Educators of the Disabled (CAPED).
In 1996 she was named Woman of the Year by the 24th Assembly District and Woman of Achievement by the San Jose Mercury News and the Women's Fund, and in 1999 was named Woman of the Year for Santa Clara County by the American Association of University Women. In July 2002, Kanter was the recipient of the Heinlen Award for Promoting Cultural Diversity in the region from the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project, a San Jose-based non-profit educational organization. In October 2003, she received the Excellence in Education award from the National Organization for Women, California Chapter. In August 2006 Dr. Kanter was honored for diversity and community leadership by the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women. In February 2007 the American Leadership Forum-Silicon Valley honored Dr. Kanter with the John W. Gardner Leadership Award.
The Foothill-De Anza Community College District consistently ranks among the top five transfer institutions to California's public and private universities. In 1994, Kanter opened the first Advanced Technology Center in the state’s community colleges, a 66,000-square-foot interdisciplinary center for information technology, engineering, arts and science. As a result of the overwhelming voter approval in November 1999 and June 2006 of the district’s Measure E and Measure C construction bonds of $738 million, Kanter and her team are working to renovate and construct modern classrooms, science, arts and student centers at both Foothill and De Anza colleges. Kanter is focused on advancing Foothill-De Anza's legacy of excellence and opportunity as the district exercises its leadership responsibility to educate California’s expanding and increasingly diverse student population.
List of Publications
Messages to Faculty and Staff
Speeches and Presentations
Organizational Chart of the Office of the Chancellor