Prior to earning his degrees, Dr. Hernandez is a community college leader, award-winning teacher, and advocate for equity and young people.
SILVER SPRING, MD — Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream (ATD), today announced that Dr. Paul Hernandez, an Aspen Rising President’s fellow, award-winning community college teacher and leader, and advocate for young people, has joined ATD as a senior advisor to the president.
“Dr. Hernandez comes to us directly from community colleges and brings a practice-based lens to his leadership role as a faculty member and administrator,” Dr. Stout said. “He is joining ATD at just the right moment to support our hypothesis that joining equity with teaching and learning is a powerful lever for change.”
“I am excited to join an organization that is so focused on solutions and understands that the way in which we increase student success is by committing resources and professional learning opportunities to the faculty, staff, leadership, and communities that serve students,” Dr. Hernandez said. “The unique combination of research, professional learning, partnerships, and development of new approaches in collaboration with community colleges is leading to new heights of student success.”
Dr. Hernandez most recently served as vice president for academic and student affairs at Mount Wachusett Community College in Massachusetts and as chief diversity officer at Lansing Community College.
Prior to earning his degrees, Dr. Hernandez was engulfed in gang culture and deep poverty, surviving on the streets of Los Angeles. He openly shares his powerful personal story hoping to influence and empower young people traveling a similar path.
His experiences have helped make Dr. Hernandez a nationally recognized leader in college access and success, community outreach, and pedagogy. He is the author of the book The Pedagogy of Real Talk: Engaging, Teaching and Connecting Students At-Promise. The book’s second edition was released this summer.
A former faculty member and non-profit administrator, Dr. Hernandez was awarded the National Education Association Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award, the Michigan Education Association Elizabeth Siddall Human Rights Award, the Equity in Education Award by the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and an Honors Professor of the Year Award for teaching.
Dr. Hernandez will support ATD in advancing a broad array of initiatives from K–12 and community colleges through graduate school. He will scale up his Real Talk Pedagogy in community colleges and K–12 systems and connect this work to ATD’s teaching and learning and K–12 initiatives. He will also support ATD in its work with the Aspen College Excellence program and the Belk Center and other graduate programs.
“ATD’s incredible staff and national network of community colleges is having a positive impact on the lives of students,” Dr. Hernandez said. “My work in teaching and learning, student support, diversity/equity/inclusion, leadership, K–12, and other areas complement the work of ATD. I plan to learn from my colleagues within ATD and contribute to what they have created through my personal and professional experiences.”
Dr. Hernandez earned his doctorate in sociology from Michigan State University, his bachelor’s degree from California State University, and his associate degree from Los Angeles Community College.