Dr. Mario Borunda currently serves as dean of the School of Educational Leadership & Change (ELC) at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. He earned his doctorate degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1992, his master’s from Boston University, and his undergraduate degree from Whittier College.
Before joining Fielding Graduate University, Dr. Borunda held dean positions at the School of Education (SOE) at Lesley University, and at the Graduate School at Wheelock College, both in Massachusetts. At Lesley, he shaped the direction of an institution with 11 degree programs in Massachusetts, and five programs in over 100 sites across 22 states, with a nation-wide enrollment of 3,000. He tripled enrollment in the PhD program, oversaw a budget of over 32 million dollars, and helped Lesley obtain a gift of 10 million dollars to its School of Education—the largest in the university’s history.
Before his appointment to Wheelock College, Dr. Borunda served as special assistant to the president of Harvard University, where he was a policy analyst and wrote reports on faculty employment rates of women and minorities in higher education.
Dr. Borunda served as vice president and director at Isaacson Miller, Boston’s largest diversified retained executive search firm, which managed the search and selection of some of the most important educational positions in the country, including the dean of Columbia Teachers College and the president of the National Board of Teaching Standards.
Throughout his career, Dr. Borunda established and maintained strong connections to educational partners, state agencies, schools, and school districts. He was appointed by Governor Patrick to serve on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. Dr. Borunda has served on several boards, including the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Board of the Reading Recovery Council of North America, and the Board of MathPower, a nonprofit organization inspired by the work of civil rights activist Robert Moses.
Dr. Borunda served as vice president and director at Isaacson Miller, Boston’s largest diversified retained executive search firm, which managed, the search and selection of some of the most important educational positions in the country, including the dean of Columbia’s Teachers College and the president of the National Board of Teaching Standards.
Dr. Borunda obtained his doctorate in administration, planning, and social policy at Harvard Graduate School of Education, completing his thesis entitled “The Emerging Hispanic College.” At Harvard he was chair of the editorial board for the Harvard Educational Review, founder of the Center for Urban and Minority Education, and chair of the Minority Advisory Committee. At Boston University, he obtained his master’s in human development and education. After obtaining his bachelor of arts in biology at Whittier College in Southern California, Dr. Borunda earned his teaching credential at the University of California, Irvine. Before pursuing his advanced degrees, he served as an elementary and middle school teacher in underserved schools in southeast Los Angeles and Orange County.
Dr. Borunda has led a life committed to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, and brings extensive leadership and management experience from all segments of education. He was a first-generation college student, growing up in inner-city Los Angeles and speaking only Spanish until kindergarten. Dr. Borunda states that he has always been “keenly aware of the strengths, advantages, and disadvantages of living in a diverse and multicultural community.”
Dr. Borunda has a passion for working with a team toward fulfilling its mission, and he works hard “to foster a team-learning atmosphere that can leverage everyone’s strength and talents in building a well-run university that appears effortless in serving the students and its university partners. “