Leah L. Bornstein, Ph.D.
- Last Updated: 01 December 2014
Dr. Leah L. Bornstein has dedicated more than 25 years to higher education in a variety of leadership and management roles. Throughout her career she has advocated for student success, quality instruction, increased access to education, and strong enrollment and completion rates.
Appointed in 2007, Dr. Bornstein serves as President of Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, AZ. Established in 1991, the College’s boundaries span 18,000 square miles of northern Arizona with 2 campuses in Flagstaff, an instructional site in Page and outreach centers in Williams, Grand Canyon, Fredonia, and Tuba City. CCC reaches some of the most remote stretches of Arizona with a variety of distance services. The College, with more than 500 full-time and part-time employees, offers more than 70 degrees and certificates and serves nearly 10,000 students each year.
Dr. Bornstein has led the College through unprecedented economic challenges. Her leadership led to a 20% increase in enrollment, a budget restructure that improved long-term financial stability recovering from an almost 50% budget reduction, CCC’s continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and a nationally recognized Sustainable Financial Plan (SFP) – a model for community colleges facing significant funding reductions.
Dr. Bornstein pioneered several programs that have earned the College national recognition via creating a 3-year strategic and tactical plan implementing more than 300 initiatives with a 90+ % completion rate, Sustainable Financial Plan, and creating an award-winning national and state community college/university partnership model - CCC2NAU – which eliminates transfer and assists students with a seamless transition into Northern Arizona University (NAU). She also initiated several additional collaborations with NAU, including the library merger and a reverse transfer program.
In recognition of the leadership, commitment and contributions to NAU and Coconino County, Dr. Bornstein was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in May 2012.
Dr. Bornstein’s work has captured the attention of national boards and commissions where she holds officer and leadership positions with Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE), Associate of Community College Trustees (ACCT), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Council of Education (ACE), and formally the Office of Women in Higher Education (OWHE).
In addition, under Bornstein’s leadership, CCC was ranked one of the fastest growing community colleges in the county by Community College Week in 2012; #33rd in the nation for achievement, learning, equitability, and cost-to-value by TheBestSchools.org in 2013; #29th in the nation in associate degree production for Native American learners by Community College Week in 2012; and #25th in nation for best chance of transfer to a university by CNNMoney in 2013.
Prior to joining CCC as President, Dr. Bornstein served as CEO for Colorado Mountain College - Summit County Campus. She led the campus and community through site determination, land acquisition, design and development of a new 35,000-square-foot campus acting as the gateway into Breckenridge, an internationally known ski resort community. She also served as Chief Academic Officer at Lamar Community College in Colorado. Dr. Bornstein was Vice President of Instruction at the Higher Colleges of Technology-Center for Education Research and Training in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and, the Vice President for Academic Affairs at University College, University of Denver, Colorado.
In each of these positions, Dr. Bornstein has been responsible for: working in collaboration with boards of trustees, foundation boards, and community advisory boards; engaging the state and federal political process; strategic planning; financial management and budgeting; and student success. Dr. Bornstein’s innovative oversight of facilities, academic and technical programs, student support services, economic development and workforce training, distance education, adult education and literacy, accreditation and instructional quality has been a strength at each institution.
Dr. Bornstein is a prominent speaker and published author within the higher education community in the areas of budget strategies, leadership, negotiation, women in higher education, community college/university partnerships, and quality instruction. She is known for her passion, keen insight, refreshing candor, strong community outreach and innovative campus leadership.
A native New Englander, Dr. Bornstein’s lifelong commitment to higher education began with her Associate and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Bradford College in Bradford, MA; Master of Education from the University of Vermont; and doctorate degree from the University of Denver.
An avid world traveler and outdoors woman, Dr. Bornstein has lived in or visited over 40 countries. Some of her more remote adventures include: kayaking Antarctica and the Arctic Circle, trekking the Himalayas, China, Egypt, Africa, and Europe, and rafting the Zambezi and the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. She and her husband, Joe Findley, enjoy exploring the globe, its people, and its nature and wildlife through photography.