Interim President Marilyn Flores in her office in fall 2020. Photo by Julian Reynoso / el Don
SAC’s new interim president, Dr. Marilyn Martinez Flores aspires to be the voice of teachers and students, and she’s rolling her sleeves up to get the job done.
Dr. Flores’s first job in education was being “Community Liaison” where she informed Spanish-speaking families about what is going on in their children’s school.
“The job permitted me to understand the gaps of information that existed between the community we served and the school, some of which I grew up with and understood, and some of which we face even today. What was different was that my role now entailed educating the administration and staff what the community needs were and become their voice through advocacy. I was able to keep families informed on information they were not aware of to ensure their children would be able to continue to access quality education.”
“Dr. Flores is an excellent administrator to lead Santa Ana College during this time of transition,” said Chancellor Marvin Martinez. “She knows our students, our district and our communities and is ready to step into this leadership role and help lead Santa Ana College as we move through this unprecedented time.” (from sac newsletter)
Dr. Flores was born in Chula Vista, CA, and grew up in San Pedro. She both taught and was an administrator in Riverside, CA. “Both San Pedro and Riverside are rich in diversity,” she says. “I would say San Pedro and the specific area I grew up in, is most similar to Santa Ana.”
“Santa Ana College is reflective of its community… it’s a blessing to work with a community that I’m used to,” says Flores on how it feels to be interim president at SAC.
“What sets me apart from other leaders is that I roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty,” Flores’s leadership philosophy is that you have to show everyone else that you are willing to do the same thing that you expect from them. “I’m the type of person that will not necessarily stand back and watch others set up an event without assisting to say set up a pop-up tent, handout materials to [the] community and engage in conversations, etc,” said Dr. Flores in an email.
In 2003 Flores was published in the American Education Resource Journal, where her research was titled The Substantive and Symbolic Consequence of a District’s Standards-Based Curriculum. Her research showed that with state standards being applied, it limited the teachers’ ability to be creative in the way that they teach. “[Instructors] can’t make a change to do what everyone is doing, change has to be meaningful,” says Flores, “good teaching can be applied to all [grade] levels.”
“I’ve always believed in philanthropy and the notion of paying it forward and contribute to our ecosystem in a positive manner. I choose to be a part of education as it is in my opinion central to our ecosystem. Providing our community with multiple educational opportunities ultimately impacts our economy, quality of life, healthcare, politics, etc.”
With SAC’s high count of DACA recipients, and the recent ruling by the Supreme Court against President Trump, Flores assures students that this College’s community is for everyone, “I firmly believe that no one should be denied education,” says Flores
“Educators have a tremendous role and my goal is to ensure access to education for all,” says Dr. Flores.
Dr. Flores plans to apply for the permanent position of Santa Ana President.