One of seven children, Gilkerson grew up in Hayward where her parents still live.
“My siblings and I truly reflect the diversity of the Bay Area – African American, Latino, white and Asian – and from a young age this instilled in me a deep respect and appreciation for diversity, but also a direct view of the social and institutional inequities that plague our society and directly impact the lives of our students,” Gilkerson said during her presentation at the Laney President Candidate Forum on Jan. 30.
Gilkerson was the first in her family to attend college – obtaining a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley. She also went on to pursue a master’s degree in counseling, and she is currently completing her doctorate in educational leadership.
Gilkerson began her community college career as a faculty member in psychology-counseling at Chabot College. She went on to be the Dean of Counseling and Matriculation at Evergreen Valley College, overseeing all of the counseling, transfer services and key categorical programs, including Disabled Students Programs and Services, EOPS/CARE & CalWorks, and the foster kinship care program.
Gilkerson also served at San Jose City College as Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs where she championed the college’s accreditation issues. In addition to her work in community colleges, she served as the Academy and Education Policy Director at The Greenlining Institute and in positions at UC Berkeley in the Office of Student Life and the Early Academic Outreach Program.
Gilkerson served as Contra Costa College’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs before joining Laney in April 2017.