Douglas Houston, Ed.D.

Douglas B. Houston most recently served as the Interim Chancellor of the State Center Community College District; his third CEO role in Community Colleges.

He is Chancellor Emeritus of the Yuba Community College District in Northern California with colleges in Yuba and Yolo Counties and campuses in Colusa, Lake, and Sutter Counties. He has served in this role for ten years.

His 45-year career has been in various leadership roles: as an administrator to several community colleges, as commander of various military units, as a Boy Scout leader, and in various leadership roles in his church and community. He has taught full and part-time at the university and community college level, including as a Physics Professor at West Point. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Physics from the University of Florida and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Pepperdine University.

He has served as the Co-Chair of the California Community College Veterans Caucus and as the President for the Board of the Association of California Community College Administrators. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research at U.C. Davis, and has previously served as an Advisory Board Member for the CSU Sacramento Educational Doctorate program. He was also a long-serving member of the California Community Colleges’ Economic Development Policy Advisory Council. Dr. Houston Co-Chaired the development of the California Community College CEO Strategic Leadership Program, providing comprehensive professional development growth and support programs for the state’s community college leaders, including the annual “CEO Leadership Academy” and the recently launched “Aspiring CEO Program.”

Higher Education is his second career; he retired from the U.S. Army Reserves having served in various Reserve and National Guard assignments after a decade on active duty as a Regular Army Officer. With California Community Colleges, he has served in various administrative positions at Barstow College, at Butte College in Oroville, and then as the President of Lassen College in Susanville, California where he successfully led the College’s accreditation and fiscal recovery.

Doug’s home is on a small ranchette south of Paradise, California, where he lives with his wife Kathryn, and a dozen, or so, animals including horses, dogs, cats, chickens, and several birds … Kathy is a veterinarian! Doug and Kathryn have two children. He enjoys the outdoors and working with his hands, but most of all he enjoys the fellowship of family, friends, and his church brethren. The Houston family has twice defended their home and those of neighbors from two major wildfires: the Humboldt Fire in 2008 and the Camp Fire in 2018 that destroyed nearly the entire town of Paradise.

Spotlight Questions

1. Who was your earliest professional influence?

Given my first career was in the Army, I can drop names with the best of 'em - Colin Powell (worked for him once), Wesley Clark (worked for him several times including during the 1st Gulf War) and Scott Wallace (probably a less familiar name, also a now-retired 4-star) to name a few. But truly my earliest professional influence were my parents and their close associates (all veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam) with whom I grew up in the Army. I learned from them to serve, to put others above myself and to put purpose above all.

2. What are you most proud of personally and professionally?

Personally, I am most proud of our two children, both of whom are in vocations serving others. After his Army service, our son is now working in counterterrorism and our daughter is a school mental health counselor. Professionally, I am proud to have served in two noble vocations - the Army, as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer, and higher education, as both faculty and an administrator.

3. What is your favorite pastime or hobby?

Only one? Retirement has been great for woodworking, hiking, fishing, rebuilding an antique tractor, a kitchen remodel ... not so great for riding though; my horse is on a disability retirement.

4. If not Higher Ed, what?

I would most likely have stayed with military in some capacity after I left active duty; I had been offered a DOD position but started as a CC administrator while waiting out a federal hiring freeze. I also considered the ministry while in that transition but administration was a better fit.

5. What was the best piece of advice you have received?

As a CEO - treat your organization with care; you are only borrowing it. It is yours only for a time so respect its history and make its future your legacy.

6. What is your favorite drink?

I'm partial to single malts - but only in medicinal quantities (a wee dram).

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

Definitely Thai. I spent Junior High School in Bangkok and developed a taste for it ... well more like an addiction.

8. What is your favorite movie?

Lord of the Rings. I was initially skeptical that Peter Jackson would do justice to my favorite work of fiction, but he treated it with the respect it's due and didn't sacrifice Tolkien's inherent Christian themes.

9. Fun fact?

I am milling boards from some of the oaks, redwoods and walnut, that didn't survive the Camp Fire. These will be furniture for our church and for various crafts. Current projects include charcuterie (serving) boards.

Douglas Houston, Ed.D.