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President​'s Bio

Kinnamon, Joel-168-low res.jpg

Joel L. ​Kinnamon, Ed.D.

College of the Desert
43500 Monterey Avenue
Palm Desert, CA 92260
760.773.2500      FAX 760.341.9732


Dr. Joel Kinnamon has been working in community colleges for almost 29 years.  He is a first generation college graduate.  He attended Seminole Junior College in Oklahoma and then transferred to Oklahoma Stat​e University earning a B.S. in Agricultural Economics.  In addition, he received an M.B.A. at Oklahoma City University.

After several years of working in the financial field, he knew he wanted to work in education.  He returned to college and earned a Doct​orate degree in Higher Education Administration from Nova Southeastern University.  He was a professor of Business Management and held various administrative positions, including the Dean of Business, at Oklahoma City College.  Kinnamon also worked as Provost at Tulsa Community College.

In 2002 Kinnamon moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he served as Vice Chancellor and subsequently Chancellor for Ch​abot-Las Positas Community College District.

In July 2012 Dr. Kinnamon assumed the role of Superintendent/President at College of the Desert.  During his time at College of the Desert he has overseen tremendous growth, and witnessed the completion of numerous buildings on the Palm Desert campus, the expansion of the East Valley campus, and the opening of new campuses in Indio, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs.  As a result of the new facilities, increased course offerings and additional instructors, in May 2017, the College celebrated the largest graduating class in its 60-year history for the third straight year.  College of the Desert is currently ranked as the fastest growing community college in the state of California.

In 2017, College of the Desert was named one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  In addition, the College was named as one of ten finalists in two categories for the prestigious Bellwether Award and won the award in January 2018 in the Instructional Programs & Service category for our innovative EDGE Program.