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June 26, 2023 – (Phoenix, Arizona) – After three years of marshaling support and focus for Arizona Community College Coordinating Council (AC4), the council and its first Executive Director, Dr. Chris Bustamante, have parted ways, effective at the end of this contract year, June 30.

Under Bustamante’s leadership, AC4 saw significant gains in government relations, advocacy, and public awareness.

Arizona’s 19 community colleges representing 10 districts – which each maintain autonomy as political subdivisions – joined forces more than a decade ago as AC4 to advocate, communicate, coordinate, and collaborate in order to strengthen communities across Arizona through education and workforce development.

Dr. Bustamante came to AC4 in 2020 with a wealth of experience in lobbying at the state and national level, and as a former college president himself – he led Rio Salado College for eight years.

His tenure with AC4 will be remembered primarily for advancements in recognition at the state level for the work of community colleges, including multiple meetings for assembled college leaders with both Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and, during his term, former Governor Doug Ducey.

Bustamante was pivotal to creating a first-ever strategic plan for AC4 nearly 2 years ago to align 10 distinct districts, which frequently operate with a wide range of different challenges, opportunities, and priorities. He oversaw the development the Reskilling and Recovery Report, as part of the National Governor’s Association, which positions community colleges as leaders in reskilling and upskilling an incumbent workforce hit hard by the COVID pandemic. The work included establishing deep partnerships with industry leaders across the state to develop and deliver just-in-time training to support students, employers and drive the regional economy.

Other significant work included the annual Community College Day at the Arizona Capitol; expanding the Arizona Community College Administrators Conference to include broader networking and professional development opportunities for college employees; and forging deeper connections with elected trustees around the state as part of Arizona Community College Trustees (ACCT), which ushered in a new era of coordinated leadership for college presidents and their board members.

AC4 Chair Dr. Lisa Rhine, President of Yavapai College, thanked Dr. Bustamante for his years of service.

“Under Chris’ leadership, {AC4 has experienced one of its most productive eras, with great progress in our shared goals. We are grateful that he brought his experience, wisdom, and patience to this important work. From the first day, Chris shared our vision – to serve the citizens of Arizona with academic and workforce training agility that only a community college can provide, to improve the regional economy for everyone. We know access to higher education is his life’s work, and we wish him well in his next endeavor,}” said Dr. Rhine.

About Arizona Community Colleges – The state’s leaders in education and workforce training serves nearly 300,000 students annual across 19 colleges and 10 districts. Connected through shared goals of access and service, Arizona’s community colleges assure open admissions and affordable tuition as a
common mission. They provide the primary gateway to higher learning and a variety of education opportunities serving today’s diverse student body. Fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Arizona’s community colleges prepare students to be job-ready more quickly and train or retrain workers to fit employer needs. Arizona’s community colleges are the most traditional entry point for underserved student and bring economic vitality to communities that embrace their mission and services. More at or, during the interim, please contact Dr. Stacy Klippenstein, presiding Chair of AC4, at [email protected], or Dr. David Borofsky, interim executive director, at [email protected]